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Spend four nights on Zanzibar's Unguja Island, fondly known as Spice Island. With time to explore the historic centre of Stone Town before taking two days to relax on the white sands of Matemwe on the island's east coast, it's the perfect Indian Ocean break. This standalone short break has been designed as a pre or post extension to any of Explore's East Africa trips, taking advantage of the region's excellent flight network. Book land only or with the connecting flights, please contact us to discuss availability and prices.
2 nights comfortable hotel
2 nights comfortable lodge
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Join your extension trip in Stone Town, the old city and World Heritage Site on the spice island of Zanzibar.
There are no included activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Zanzibar at any time. On arrival into Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ), you'll be met by your driver and transferred to our historic, centrally located hotel in the old city, which is around 20 minutes' drive away.
The waterfront of Stone Town buzzes with atmosphere, where the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean meets the shores of this small, bustling city. Depending on your arrival time, you may have the opportunity to wander through the narrow, winding streets and taste some street food at the seaside night market.
Please note, this extension is unescorted and is not accompanied by a Trip Leader. T his is a stand-alone extension and can be booked on any date of your choosing, subject to availability. Whilst this itinerary has been designed to complement a number of our group tours, we wish to point out that this extension is not a group experience, so you are unlikely to be travelling with other Explore customers .
Tembo Hotel (or similar)
Wake up for breakfast by the sea and sip your coffee while watching the fisherman as they get on with their daily tasks in the shallow, clear waters. Today is free for you to spend exploring this historic city at a laid-back pace like the locals. Due to the close proximity to Africa's East Coast, Zanzibar has been a strategic home for Portuguese, Middle Eastern and British settlers who have all left their mark, as well as once playing an important role in Africa's infamous slave history. Along the winding streets ornate, carved doorways hark back to the island's 17th century Omani rule and a mix of mosques and churches signify it's diverse cultural history. Stone Town was also the birthplace of Queen's Freddie Mercury - born Farouk Bulsara - and his family home is marked with a yellow plaque.
If you'd rather escape the city today there will be the opportunity to book a Spice Tour. Visit a farm to learn more about Zanzibar's most precious exports, flavours and their interesting medicinal uses through taste, sight and smell.
This evening, choose a spot along the waterfront to watch the spectacular sunset.
This morning after breakfast, you'll be transferred to the island's west coast. The scenic drive takes a little over an hour through villages and countryside before reaching home for the next two nights; a beach front hotel where white, powdery sand meets the warm, clear water of the Indian Ocean.
The rest of the day will be free to enjoy the beach, rest by the pool or choose a shady spot to relax in the colourful garden area.
Please note: We use two sister properties for this trip depending on availability; both accommodations feature a bar, restaurant and pool area, in a secluded area.
Sunshine Marine Lodge (or similar)
Another day in Paradise. Take a walk along the beach where local women can often be seen collecting seaweed - a lucrative export of Zanzibar. Friendly by nature, locals always offer a welcoming smile and are happy to chat.
Today is again free to spend however you please. If you'd like some activity, please speak to a member of hotel staff who can assist with optional snorkelling trips to the nearby Mnemba Atoll marine reserve; home to stingrays, lionfish and turtles.
The trip ends today. Your departure transfer to Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) will be arranged to suit your departure flight time and the drive is around 1 hour 15 minutes\ drive.
Zanzibar airport is small and old-fashioned when compared to European standards, so be sure to leave plenty of time for check-in and possibly enquire with the hotel about a packed lunch if you will be wanting food because the airport's selection is limited.
The climate is tropical but varies greatly with altitude. Coastal areas and islands are hot and humid, while the central plateau is dry and arid.
Tanzania can be visited all year round and its seasons can be defined as green and dry.
The dry season is generally from June to October and January to February, with most days being fine and sunny weather with temperatures and humidity rising throughout the day. It can be cold at night, particularly in June & July.
The green season includes the rains of March to May (with the peak in April – generally during the afternoon) and November to early December. This pattern can be unpredictable. The weather system during these periods refreshes the landscape creating luscious green scenery which is not witnessed during the dry season.
The Zanzibar archipelago is a year-round destination but does have dry and rainy seasons. The dry season is between June to October and January to February. The ‘short rains’ are between November to December, when a short, afternoon rainstorm can be a daily occurrence. The ‘long rains’ occur between March to May, when days can be humid and rainy, however, sunshine is still often frequent. The changing weather patterns does mean the ‘rainy’ season is becoming less predictable.
Weather at altitude can vary to the above seasons, with the evenings being cold. Kilimanjaro features its own array of climates and biomes; between 1,800 to 2,800 metres is a rainforest climate (humid and hot), from 2,800 to 4,000 metres is dry mountain vegetation – please note night time temperatures can fall to below 0 degrees from this level. A cold desert climate with a strong equatorial sun during the day but cold nights is found between 4,000 to 5,000 metres. The summit generally has clear days though the evenings can be very cold featuring snow.
3 Pin (as per the UK), best to travel with an adapter as some lodges have 2 pin sockets.
Stone Town Guided tour of Stone Town US$27-50pp; Slave market & Spice Tour US$50-95pp; Half Day Spice Island Tour US$27-50; Matemwe Scuba diving (PADI registered dive centre) US$ 150 2 tank, US$ 125 2 tanks. You'll need your diving certificates; Snorkelling US$100-238pp
Clothing should be lightweight and beach friendly. However, items that cover shoulders and knees are advisable for both men and women when exploring Stone Town. Water shoes are recommended for your beach stay as rockery and sea-urchins are present.
For the Zanzibar extension we recommend you take a beach towel, swim wear, high factor suncream and sandals. Plastic Bag Ban: With effect from 01 June 2019, it is illegal to use, manufacture and/or import plastic bags into Tanzania and Zanzibar. Any person found with plastic bags of any type including shopping bags on arrival into the country can receive a heavy fine. Small plastic bags used for hand luggage toiletries are permitted but must be in a reusable condition and not disposed of in the country. Please ensure you do not have any non-permitted types of plastic bag in your hand luggage or luggage. Any plastic bags obtained whilst travelling are disposed of before arriving into Tanzania or are surrendered at the designated desk available at all entry points into the country.
During your time at the beach on Zanzibar you will be staying at one of two stylish and comfortable sister properties in the north-eastern resort of Matemwe. Set back from Muyani Beach, perched on the cliffs, is the Sunshine Marine Lodge; a perfect location where you can unwind, staying in one of the 23 pretty white washed thatched rooms. Relax by one of the three swimming pools or head down (700m) to the private beach area and chill out with a cocktail! There are daily diving and snorkelling trips to the Mnemba Atoll, regarded as the best diving place on Zanzibar, with the Lodge's resident dive school. www.marinelodgezanzibar.com Located directly on the beach, Sunshine Hotel is a wonderful place to rest for the final few days of your holiday. Relax in your pretty white washed thatched rooms with views of the ocean or the tropical gardens. The beautiful hotel pool flanks the ocean where you can enjoy a cocktail or take a walk down the palm fringed white sandy beach. If you fancy diving they offer a free shuttle to their sister hotel, Sunshine Marine Lodge, where the resident dive school has daily diving and snorkeling trips to the Mnemba Atoll, regarded as the best diving place on Zanzibar. www.sunshinezanzibar.com
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Tanzania: A single visa is required by UK, New Zealand, Australian, US & Canadian citizens. Single entry visas only can be arranged on arrival, but due to queues at immigration we recommend for the visa to be arranged in advance. An E-visa for Tanzania can be obtained prior to departure via the e-visa website: http://www.immigration.go.tz. Click on the e-Services tab and then select Online Visa Application, please ensure you read the Visa Application Guidelines before applying for your e-visa. Please refer to the Explore visa letter you will receive for information required to complete your e-visa application. You will need to print a copy of your e-visa approval letter and present this with your passport and final documents at your entry point into the country. The approval letter takes approximately 10 days to approve if there are no queries on the application. We therefore advise for you to apply at least 15 workings days prior to travelling. Please ensure you have enough validity left on the visa through to the end of the tour before you travel. The Tanzanian High Commission in London no longer processes or issues visas. American nationals are required to apply for a multiple entry e-visa for all tourism visits to Tanzania; the ordinary single entry e-visa is unavailable for Americans to apply to. Passports must have a minimum validity of 6 months and at least 1 blank/unused page at time of travel. Plastic Bag Ban: With effect from 01 June 2019, it is illegal to use, manufacture and/or import plastic bags into Tanzania and Zanzibar. Any person found with plastic bags of any type including shopping bags on arrival into the country can receive a heavy fine. Small plastic bags used for hand luggage toiletries are permitted but must be in a reusable condition and not disposed of in the country. Please ensure you do not have any non-permitted types of plastic bag in your hand luggage or luggage. Any plastic bags obtained whilst travelling are disposed of before arriving into Tanzania or are surrendered at the designated desk available at all entry points into the country. Plastic Bag Ban: With effect from 01 June 2019, it is illegal to use, manufacture and/or import plastic bags into Tanzania and Zanzibar. Any person found with plastic bags of any type including shopping bags on arrival into the country can receive a heavy fine. Small plastic bags used for hand luggage toiletries are permitted but must be in a reusable condition and not disposed of in the country. Please ensure you do not have any non-permitted types of plastic bag in your hand luggage or luggage. Any plastic bags obtained whilst travelling are disposed of before arriving into Tanzania or are surrendered at the designated desk available at all entry points into the country.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
A Yellow Fever vaccination and certificate is only required when travelling to Tanzania from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. We strongly recommend protection against malaria, hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, polio and yellow fever.
Please note you are required to produce a valid yellow fever certificate on arrival in Tanzania. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Travellers may also wish to take immunisation against meningococcal meningitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.