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Eight things to do in Zanzibar

The paradise off East Africa is a spicy, history-packed destination

Visit Prison Island, built in 1893 and previously used as a quarantine hospital. Nowadays, the abandoned island is home to a family of giant tortoises that were banished from the city in the 1990s.

Explore the streets to learn about the olden days, when sultans of Arabia ruled Zanzibar, slave markets were rife and palaces with golden gardens stood strong.

See where a star was born. Queen singer Freddie Mercury, or as he was then Farrokh Bulsara, was born in Zanzibar’s historic centre, Stone Town, in 1946 – the house where he spent his early years is still standing.

Discover how the Spice Island earned its nickname, due to the abundance of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper grown there, on the Spice Trail – the trade is centuries old.

You can eat in the middle of the Indian Ocean at famous restaurant The Rock

Spot dolphins playing around in the shallows of Menai Bay while exploring around the village of Fumba and the surrounding area, which is still a remote area of Zanzibar.

Take to the water: you can kite-surf, snorkel around reefs, or navigate the clear waters with a sea safari.

Dine in the middle of the Indian Ocean on Zanzibar’s south-east coast at famous restaurant The Rock. As its name suggests, this tiny spot is positioned on a rock in the ocean – and it serves the freshest of seafood.

Get involved in some monkey business. The Zanzibar red colobus monkey is a species endemic to the island of Unguja, and you can spy them in the Jozani Forest.

The Residence Zanzibar

Recommended hotels

The Residence Zanzibar

Located 55 minutes from the capital Stone Town, the hotel sits outside the village of Kizimkazi, an area famous for its dolphin safaris. All of the 66 luxurious stand-alone villas boast total privacy, with furniture nodding to Zanzibar’s African and Omani heritage.

Constance Aiyana

The Constance is on Pemba, the smaller, hillier and greener “sister island” of Zanzibar, among spice plantations, fruit trees and lush tropical vegetation. Sea views are compulsory: its 30 villas all face the ocean.

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