Zen out in Zanzibar

There are many ways to safari in Tanzania, most include tents of some description and often limited bathing facilities. And while the incredible animal encounters more than make up for that, it's always nice to end a trip with a little bit of luxury and relaxation. There's no better place to do that in Africa than the sunny beaches of Zanzibar.

Aerial view of Zanzibar

Just off the Tanzanian coastline, a 90-minute boat ride or 30-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar stretches out in a 90-kilometre (55 mile) strip, rimmed by powder white sand and dazzling azure waters. The balmy Indian ocean ocean is inviting year round, which is why more and more resorts, hotels and boutique accommodations are popping up on its shores.

Sail boat on beach in Zanzibar

Companies like Tent With A View offer the best of both worlds; an epic safari experience on the mainland and a relaxing beach escape to wrap up the perfect trip to Tanzania. Don't let the name fool you, these aren't any old canvas tents. They're luxury safari cabins on stilts, decked out with plush bedding, high-quality amenities and a view to boot.

Beach bar in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Once you’re on the island of Zanzibar, you’ll want to do a bit of exploring (at a relaxed pace, of course). Stone Town is the epicentre of the island; a fishing hub-turned-trading centre in recent years. The buildings reflect the various changes in colonial powers over the years, from Portuguese to the British. The entire town is considered an UNESCO World Heritage Site, so be sure to dedicate some time to wandering the maze-like streets.

Local women in Stone Town, Zanzibar

Another way to see the island is to jump on a boat and admire Zanzibar from the sea. Many local tour companies offer half/full-day and overnight boat trips. You’ll be sailing in the warm Indian ocean breeze, swimming in the crystal clear water and maybe even swimming alongside dolphins and other marine life if you’re lucky. Some more luxurious tours include a buffet lunch on a sandbar, or sunset Champagne as you cruise along the coastline.

Sail boats at sunset

If you’re looking for something a little adventurous, why not try kitesurfing? It’s incredibly popular in Zanzibar because of the shallow lagoon waters and favourable wind conditions. Paje is a well known kitesurfing spot, but if it’s your first time, I’d recommend getting a lesson or two at Nungwi or Jambiani beach. If you prefer a slower-paced, water-based activity, rent a stand up paddleboard from one of the busy beaches and glide along with the sun on your back.

Horse riding on beach in Zanzibar

When it comes to dress code, Zanzibar is much more relaxed than the mainland. Though, visitors should remember it is still a majority-Muslim island so covering up in public places is encouraged.

Want to know more about travelling in Tanzania? Read this next:

Tent With A View - The best way to see Tanzania