Summer in Zanzibar: Beaches, Food, and Places to Visit

Summer in Zanzibar: Beaches, Food, and Places to Visit

Located off the coast of Eastern African Tanzania, Zanzibar is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, languages, ethnicities and religions. The island is an attraction point for the fans of the iconic British band Queen as it is the birthplace of its lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury. Due to its eventful and rocky past, the island encompasses Arabic, South Asian, African and even European cultures and offers a truly unique fusion. Let’s explore everything this hidden gem has to offer, including Zanzibar tourist attractions, gorgeous beaches, various paid and free tours and delicious and diverse food. 


The Best Month to Visit Zanzibar

A dazzling island of perpetual summer and amazing weather, it’s recommended to refrain from traveling to Zanzibar and Tanzania as a whole in April and May due to heavy rains. The best time to visit Zanzibar is between July and September which is the high season and could be more expensive and crowded. If you prefer to avoid large crowds, plan your trip for late autumn or early summer. 


Summer in Zanzibar: Zanzibar

Best Beaches in Zanzibar

This small archipelago engulfed in the Indian Ocean is known for its endless sandy beaches. Among the best things to do in Zanzibar are sunbathing, snorkeling, scuba-diving and other beach and sea activities. Couples on their honeymoon are drawn to the Nakupenda island, Zanzibar which translates to “I love you” in Swahili. Located only 20 minutes away from the main island, Nakupenda beach is best visited in the morning. The island literally shrinks as the day progresses due to the tides. Here, you can enjoy quiet and isolated beach experiences away from the busy and touristy streets of the big island.

Summer in Zanzibar: Nakupenda Beach Zanzibar  

Nungwi is located at the northernmost tip of the entire island and tends to be more crowded and action-packed. One of the best beaches in Zanzibar, Nungwi is full of restaurants, water activities, accommodations of all ranges and tourist shops. If you are looking for a thrilling and exciting holiday spot where you can meet people, taste delicious food and try out snorkeling, diving and more, Nungwi might be an excellent place for your vacation. 

Summer in Zanzibar: Nungwi Beach Zanzibar 

Southwest of Nungwi, you can explore the sunset beach in Zanzibar known as Kendwa, a quiet location with white sands and calm turquoise water. The home to numerous sea creatures, including squid, stingrays, urchins, whale sharks and dolphins, Kendwa is the perfect place to indulge in diving. In the evening, have your camera ready to witness and film the most incredible sunset you will see during your vacation in Zanzibar. 

Summer in Zanzibar: Kendwa Beach Zanzibar  

If you prefer quiet Zanzibar beaches that are not saturated by tourists and expensive restaurants, check out the Matemwe, Paje, and Pingwe beaches. Here, you can also immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and glare at seaweed harvesting, fishing and local food vendors. On the hidden and secluded beaches, you can taste local Swahili delicacies and enjoy a calm and rejuvenating holiday. 

Summer in Zanzibar: Matemwe Beach Zanzibar

Local Dishes of Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a sought-after location for any foodie thanks to its truly unique and surprising mixture. The island is lucky to be surrounded by the ocean full of seafood and fish which had fostered a rich local cuisine. European colonialism diversified the palette with beans, potatoes, yams and plantains. Persians also brought their own flavor to the mix like coconut, various spices, citruses and mango. In the 15th century, the Portuguese introduced the locals to pineapple, manioc and maize whereas two hundred years later the Omanis brought Indian spices, including chutney, curry, masala. You can explore local spices at the Zanzibar spice tour. Thanks to the Indian influence, locals now make samosas, biryani and fish cakes. Finally, a strong relationship with China contributed to the widespread Chinese cuisine and sauces. 


Summer in Zanzibar: Local Dishes Zanzibar 

Zanzibar pizza

This popular dish is referred to as pizza but actually consists of a savory crepe garnished with meat, onion, an egg, capsicum, cheese, mayonnaise and chili sauce. Zanzibar pizza is the ultimate fast food on the island and is served bite-sized accompanied by skewers or toothpicks. Stop by the Forodhani Gardens located in Stone Town to enjoy an open-air Zanzibar food market to taste pizza and numerous other local meals. 


Summer in Zanzibar: Zanzibar pizza 

Biryani and pilau

Introduced by the Omanis, these Indian spices allow locals to create flavorful dishes with nutmeg, garlic, ginger, cardamom, pepper and coriander. While biryani is cooked separately from the meat and served as a side dish to it, pilau is prepared together with the meat. Both dishes are rice-based and consist of meat, usually beef, and the aforementioned spices. You can taste these delicious meals at the Luckmaan Restaurant while strolling through Stone Town. If you are interested in learning more about local spices, consider booking a spice tour in Zanzibar. 


Summer in Zanzibar: Biryani and Pilau 


Famous for its diverse seafood, the island will astonish any gourmet with local octopus dishes. Most commonly, octopus is prepared with curry or simply grilled on a skewer and served as street food. If you enjoy fresh seafood, Zanzibar is the place to be with endless options and reasonable prices. You can try different octopus dishes at the Forodhani Gardens in Stone Town. 


Summer in Zanzibar: Octopus Dish 

Persian cuisine

Zanzibar is also a place where you can taste Arab cuisine with a local spin. Falafel, flatbread, kofta and more can be found on the streets of Stone Town. Visit Hurumzi’s Rooftop Teahouse Restaurant in Stone Town to enjoy an Arabic food experience accompanied by breathtaking sunset views.


Summer in Zanzibar: Persian Cuisine  

Urojo soup

This soup will put anyone in a food coma: mashed potatoes, coconut chutney, cassava shavings and bhajias combined in one amazing dish. Bhajias is a popular African meal made of fried vegetables covered in flour batter and spices. Forodhani Gardens offers an array of vendors that serve this dish.


Summer in Zanzibar: Urojo Soup


If you have a sweet tooth or just looking to try a local dessert, mandazi can be found practically everywhere on the streets of Stone Town. Known as Swahili doughnuts, mandazi is made of sweetened dough seasoned with cardamom and deep fried right before consumption. Enjoy a cup of sweet chai and mandazi or another local dessert like vitumbua (coconut cake) and many others. 


Summer in Zanzibar: Mandazi 


A tropical island, Zanzibar is full of exotic fruits that are available on the markets. From common fruit like oranges, plantains, mangos and coconuts to rare durians, guavas, fuu, zambarau, kungu, bungo and much more. If you would like to explore the local fruit selection and try exotic gifts of nature, consider booking a tour at the Village Green Spice Farm in Mitakawan. 


Summer in Zanzibar: Zanzibari Fruits


The vast majority of the island is Muslim which limits the amount of alcohol available. However, you can always opt for a cup of delicious coffee at a local coffee shop. The Persian influence created strong, cardamom-spiced Arabic coffee that is served at every corner. You can also find Italian-style coffee at Zanzibar Coffee House, although it is not as commonplace outside of tourist locations. 

Summer in Zanzibar: Zanzibari Coffee

Best Places to Visit in Zanzibar 

Being a relatively small archipelago, Zanzibar has a lot to offer to its visitors. From the eclectic streets of Stone Town to the magical Jozani Forest, every tourist will find something they will cherish. 

Stone Town

Among the best places to visit in Zanzibar is Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. The area is a unique combination of multiple cultures, languages and ethnicities. You will not be disturbed by cars and other large vehicles since the streets are quite narrow and the locals use bicycles and motorbikes to navigate the town. The area got its name due to the ubiquitous coral stone used in construction that gives the buildings a characteristic reddish hue. 

Summer in Zanzibar: Stone Town

While walking down the streets of Stone Town, stop to explore the Zanzibari doors, Indian and Persian influenced marvelous wooden creations with the finest decorations. Right in the center of Stone Town, Freddie Mercury was born and raised. The musician spent his childhood in one of the local homes and nowadays, Freddie Mercury's house in Zanzibar has been repurposed as a museum devoted to the life of this world-famous vocalist. Learn more about local tourist attractions by booking curated tours in Zanzibar.

Summer in Zanzibar: Freddie Mercury’s House 

Hakuna Matata, an iconic phrase from Lion King originates in the Swahili language and translates to No Worries. The pace in Zanzibar reflects this notion thanks to its laid-back and relaxing way of life. 


Old Fort

Completed in 1699, Old Fort is the oldest building on the entire island. What used to be a garrison, prison, railway terminal and ladies’ club at different times in the past, now operates as headquarters for the international film festival. In the evening, visitors and locals can enjoy live music at the amphitheater, have a nightcap at one of the bars and admire the artistic talents of African painters. 

Summer in Zanzibar: Old Fort Zanzibar 

You can explore and purchase tingatinga paintings at Old Fort, an East African art style, popular among tourists. What is referred to as airport paintings, tingatinga works are small, colorful, vivid and inexpensive. 


House of Wonders

Another Zanzibar attraction, the House of Wonders is a building that stands out thanks to its steel pillars, majestic balconies and high ceilings. Inside, you can learn more about the history of the island and Swahili civilization at the History and Culture museum. The name derives from an actual wonder of the time: this is the first building on the island with electricity and running water. In the courtyard, you can examine a mtepe, a replica of a Swahili boat used in the Middle Ages. 

Summer in Zanzibar: House of Wonders  

In 2012 and 2015, House of Wonders experienced two major collapses that threatened the structural integrity of the entire construction. Although the Zanzibari government made renovation plans, the building remains closed to the public. 


Prison Island

Despite its name, this tiny 5.6 square kilometers (3.5 sq miles) island was never actually used as a prison. The intention was to build a high-security prison to isolate violent criminals and slaves at the end of the 19th century. But in 1923, Yellow Fever roamed over the region and the island was repurposed as a quarantine station. Nowadays, Prison Island is a popular tourist attraction and a sanctuary for Aldabra giant tortoises, a vulnerable species on the verge of extinction. At a small fee of $4, anyone can enter the island to spend a few hours or stay overnight at one of the resorts or guest houses to enjoy secluded and quiet beaches. 


Summer in Zanzibar: Prison Island

Mnemba island

Mnemba is an exclusive and luxurious island that can be visited for the price of $1,500 to $1,600 per night. If you are looking for a romantic destination, a calm and quiet vacation and high-end services, this island would make a perfect spot. Here you can swim with white sharks and dolphins, pet rare green turtles and dine on freshly caught and prepared lobsters, fish and other seafood. 


Summer in Zanzibar: Mnemba Island |

Jozani Forest

The only national park on the island, Jozani Forest is home to numerous birds, butterflies, monkeys, bush babies, tree hyraxes and more. The park is famous for rare monkey species, including Red Colobus and Sykes monkeys. Local park rangers work their hardest to preserve these rare species and the number of endangered monkeys grew in recent years. 

Summer in Zanzibar: Jozani Forest 

Jozani Forest is also home to rare Zanzibari leopards that are thought to have gone extinct at the beginning of the century. Although some experts believe the leopards are still around but are kept as pets by local sorcerers. 


The Rock Restaurant

The restaurant is located on the literal rock out in the sea and is known for exquisite seafood and other local and foreign gastronomical masterpieces. During low tides, you can simply walk up to the restaurant while at high tides, you can use a canoe. If you are visiting amidst the high season, it is recommended to make a reservation as the place tends to be busy. The prices are on the higher side, ranging from $15 to $30 for the main dish. 

Summer in Zanzibar: Rock Restaurant 
Zanzibar is an amazing gem hidden in East Africa that is definitely worth your time and attention. A perfect place to spend a honeymoon, vacation or a few days with friends or family, this magical island will astonish you with its cultural fusion, unexpected food combinations and breathtaking beach destinations. To immerse yourself in the local culture and history, hop on a Zanzibar Stone Town walking tour. Enjoy extraordinary sightseeing in Zanzibar, taste freshly caught seafood and indulge in relaxing beach activities. Finally, Queen fans will be pleasantly surprised to learn about Zanzibar Freddie Mercury's home where he spent his childhood.

If you're wondering whether you require a visa to travel to Zanzibar, we've got some helpful tips to share. You can check this information by using, a service that assists with visa applications. All you need to do is select your passport country from the drop-down list, and you'll be able to determine whether a visa is needed to visit Zanzibar. If a visa is necessary, you can utilize the site's services to obtain one quickly and conveniently. By using the promo code "freetour," you can receive a 5% discount on these services. Please be aware that the link provided in this article already applies the promo code automatically.
Better Features in the App
cashless tips
Cashless Tips
cashless tips
Google / Apple Pay
cashless tips
Nearby Map