Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you!
Want to know the ultimate way to spend one week in Zanzibar?
Check out our video of our amazing one week in Zanzibar here!
Know before you go: Before you go on your dream one week in Zanzibar: Take some dollars with you, but withdraw local currency (Tanzanian Shillings) in Stone Town upon arrival. Some places list prices in dollars, some in shillings, but paying in shillings tends to be slightly cheaper.
First Stop on the Zanzibar One Week Guide: Stone Town
Most trips to Tanzania’s paradise island of Zanzibar begin in Stone Town – a stunning UNESCO heritage site old town on the South West side of the island. Here, influences from Europe, the Middle East and Africa culminate in beautiful architecture and spice.
If arriving by air, pay no more than TSH 25 000 (approximately $14) for a cab from the airport into Stone Town. Stay in the heart of the Old Town – I’d recommend Ten to Ten Hostel for budget travellers, situated in an excellent location with clean and cool rooms.
NOTE: When booking hotels online before travel, check if this includes the local tax of $9 per person per day to avoid any surprises at check in.
One full day in Stone Town is enough time to see the main sites – get lost in the Old Town and wander around! It’s a very small area, and easy to cover it all in an afternoon. Make sure to visit the Forodhini Gardens in the evening (preferably on a Thursday) to experience the hubbub of local street food sellers and craftsmen. Book for one additional day if you’re wanting to visit Prison Island, although this isn’t something that was particularly appealing to me.
Next Stop on the Zanzibar One Week Guide: Nungwi
From Stone Town, continue your incredible one week in Zanzibar by catching local transport up to Nungwi, known for its paradise beaches in the North West of Zanzibar. White sand, bright blue sea and great backpacker vibes – this place has got it all. Despite being quite far away from Stone Town, it’s well worth the visit.
How can you get from Stone Town to Nungwi?
Avoid a $50 taxi fare by jumping on the 116 Dalla Dalla (local bus). These depart every ten minutes or so from Darajani Dalla Dalla Terminal. Note: this is slightly incorrectly labelled on Google Maps. Use the app to take you to the pin, then continue walking up the road North for a further 3-4 minutes, and you’ll see all the Dalla Dallas pulling up on the left of the road. A key tip is to wait for a Dalla number 116 that looks more like a small bus than a covered pick-up truck – at the same price, they’re much more comfortable, less squashed, and a bit quicker. It costs TSH 2000 (approximately $1USD) each way. Ride this until the final stop, then walk to the beachfront to find your hotel.
Nungwi has a wide range of accommodation options. For budget travellers, I’d recommend Makofi Guesthouse, a gorgeous backpacker hub set back just a 90 second walk from the beach. Offering both dorms and private rooms, it’s a great place to meet other travellers. For a more luxurious option, Amman Bungalows is just round the corner, has a lovely swimming pool and a great restaurant (which you can eat at if you’re not staying there too!).
Things to do in Nungwi:
- Chilling at the beach! At low tide, you can walk all the way from Kendwa (south of Nungwi) right up to the lighthouse at the top of Zanzibar. The sand is some of the best I’ve ever seen.
- Jet skis / parasailing: This was pretty expensive at $120 per jet ski and $70 for parasailing, but what a gorgeous place to do it.
- Snorkelling trips: snorkelling trips to Mnemba island and different coral reefs are easy to organise in Nungwi. Expect to pay $20 per person for a 9.30-15.30 trip on a traditional dhow boat, including lunch. Note: take sea sickness tablets beforehand as the water can be quite bumpy on the way to the reef!
- Nightlife: every evening a different bar along the beach offers a party, where backpackers and locals dance into the early hours.
- Food: There are some great restaurants offering a mixture of cuisines along the beachfront. Our favourite was Mama Mia, serving delicious pizzas, pastas and proper gelato to finish off!
At the end of your dream one week in Zanzibar, catch the 116 Dalla back to Stone Town, and leave this paradise island… until next time!