Zanzibar

Island Rhythms & Sounds of Wisdom


Sauti za Busara Zanzibar performerSauti za Busara Zanzibar logoExperience the fascinating island of Zanzibar during one of the most exciting times of year - the Sauti za Busara African Music Festival!

Internationally recognized as the largest music festival in East Africa, Sauti za Busara (Swahili for “Sounds of Wisdom”) brings musicians together for 4 days of magical performances under African skies. Hosted by the Busara Foundation since 2004, the festival promotes cultural diversity and includes networking opportunities and workshops to support African musicians from Zanzibar and Tanzania, as well as across Africa. With a fantastic local guide, travelers will be able to take advantage of all the fun activities happening in town during the festival.

Travelers will arrive and get settled into a local apartment in Stone Town, a UNESCO World festival parade sauti za busara zanzibarHeritage Site, just before the festival begins. The festival is kicked off with a lively carnival street parade, a feast for the senses complete with dancers, acrobats, and fire eaters! Over the next few days, Zanzibar Sauti za Busara festival female singercheck out amazing live performances and hear an array of styles of African music in breathtaking spaces such as the historic Old Fort, constructed in 1699. Your local guide will also introduce you to Stone Town on visits to important sites and will help you navigate its labyrinthine streets to discover local eats and handcrafted treasures. The streets will be alive and buzzing with energy - a particularly fun time to be in Stone Town.

Zanzibar helping with choresZanzibar beach at sunsetAs the festival winds down, travel out of town and across the island to the sleepy fishing village of Kizimkazi. You’ll feel yourself relax as you absorb the daily rhythms of life here, learning how locals live off the ocean and taking part in a normal day’s activities on a special homestay experience. Finally, enjoy a bit of downtime at a beloved local lodge with a chill vibe to reflect on your time here.

If you have more time, you can explore beaches all around the island: lively, quiet or local, just choose your vibe! Our local partners will help you make the most of your time on this fascinating island.

Plan to add a visit to mainland Tanzania for a homestay in a Maasai
boma, visit development projects of community-based organization, and
of course an amazing wildlife safari!
Simba & Spice Setting Sun

We are proud to partner with local Tanzanian start-up Simba & Spice to help build their capacity for a positive, ethical tourism. Learn more about them here.

 

Program price includes:
All accommodations described in itinerary (based on double sharing room, with the exception of homestays where arrangements will be discussed with the client)
All meals as described in itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
All transportation as described in itinerary
Private English speaking guides (Where possible - in homestay situations, this might not be the case and is part of the experience!)
All entrance/park fees and associated government levies  described in itinerary
Cultural Tourism Fees
Lifejacket and snorkeling gear during boat excursions
Price does not include:
Airfare (Domestic or International)
Tips for staff
Snacks
Beverages of any kind (water will be provided on camping safari excursions)

Sample Itinerary

Our itineraries are designed to let the country and its people guide your experiences. Please be flexible and allow the program to unfold.

DAY 1 - February 12, 2020

Stone Town Welcome!

Karibu Sana Zanzibar! You are very welcome to Zanzibar! You will likely hear the call for prayer as you step off the plane, clear immigration, collect your luggage, breathe in the fresh ocean air and meet your local guide under a mango tree. We will have a vehicle and driver ready to take you to Stone Town and guide you through the labyrinth to your accommodation. And don’t worry, there's no need to experience Zanzibari bargaining just yet - we’ll have plenty of local snacks in the car to keep you fuelled up during this transition! Your guide will give you some orientation and show you some local spots along the way and will be available to you on-call during your time in Stone Town.

In the evening, your guide will take you on a walk through the streets where local families will be enjoying leisure time and playing Bao on the corner. Jump right into your experience with a visit to the night market for dinner, where you’ll certainly feel the energy of the night before Sauti za Busara!

Overnight at Local Apartment

MEALS:  D


DAY 2 - February 13, 2020

Festival Day One & Stone Town Exploration

The town will be buzzing with excitement as Sauti za Busara 2020 kicks off today! Exact activities will be announced in November 2019, including musician schedules, special events and the most exciting event of the year: the Carnival Parade! In between musical festivities, we’ll help you navigate the important historical sites of this ancient town.

Stone Town, a UN World Heritage Site, is lauded as an excellent example of a Swahili trading town. A lot of the fun in Stone Town is getting lost in the labyrinth of car-free streets and alleys, but a few hours of guided orientation will make even the most independent travelers enjoy it more. Tell us what you’d like to do, and we will make it happen! Your local guide will help keep your focus on the sights instead of working your way around many people trying to sell you things in town.

Your day will include a tour of the city, including admission to the historical site of the Zanzibar Slave Market and lunch at a very local restaurant. Later in the day, you will enjoy the music festival, and have the chance to learn to cook local food and tea!

In the evening, you will have a relaxing sundowner by the beach, and enjoy the music festival with your guide on-call for anything you might need.

Overnight at Local Apartment

MEALS:  B,L


DAY 3 - February 14, 2020

Festival Day Two & Prison Island

After a leisurely breakfast, your guide will get you set up for a very popular excursion to Changuu (“Prison”) Island. You will travel on a small local boat about 6 km to this small government-owned island, where you will learn about the history of the island and also visit the roaming Aldabra Giant Tortoises, an endangered species now cared for in this space. You can snorkel or swim.

Later in the day, you will enjoy the music festival, and as always, your guide will be available to take you anywhere you like. You will also have a chance to visit local charitable groups in town.

Overnight at Local Apartment

MEALS:  B,L


DAY 4 - February 15, 2020

Festival Day Three & Stone Town

On this third day of the music festival, you’ll be free to enjoy the festivities! You have the option of customizing your time in Stone Town to focus on your personal interests such as history, art, food, fabrics, shopping, food markets, and even coffee shops! This experience will ensure that the profits from your purchase go directly to the seller.

Take time to drink tea on the street corner, watch local families playing on the beach, visit some artists and woodworking stalls to learn about these local businesses.

Overnight at Local Apartment

MEALS:  B


DAY 5 - February 16, 2020

Festival Day Four & Village Visit

Together with your guide, you will plan some time in the day to travel out of town and visit a local family for tea in their small village. You will learn about the importance of Islam to Zanzibari families and hear about some of the challenges local families face in terms of health care, education, and local politics.

Return to town in the late afternoon and enjoy the option of a locally prepared meal and of course the last night of the music festival!

Overnight at Local Apartment

MEALS:  B,D


DAY 6 - February 17, 2020

Spice Farm & Kizimikazi homestay

After breakfast, your guide will connect you with a driver and vehicle waiting to take you out of town to your next adventure.

As you travel east across the island to the village of Kizimikazi, you will stop along the way to visit a locally-owned spice farm. You will see the important spices growing and learn about how they are part of Zanzibar’s past and present, as well as learn how they are used. After lunch at the spice farm, we can visit the Mangapwani Caves which extends 90 meters and is lit by flashlight only. This area is quite remote and has a narrow entry with a fresh pool of water at its lowest point. History tells us that this cave was used as a holding pen for slaves after the trade was abolished in the late 19th century. (If you prefer, we can do this another day)

Continue your journey to the southern part of the Island and feel yourself relax as you enter the sleepy fishing village of Kizimkazi. Very few travelers settle here for more than a few hours, so you’re in for a treat. Here you will have a very special homestay experience, right in the center of this very special place. You will participate in the late afternoon and evening activities with the family, such as religious rituals, meal preparation and relaxing with the community under a tree.

Overnight at Homestay

MEALS:  B,L,D


DAY 7 - February 18, 2020

Kizimikazi homestay

Wake up at sunrise and accompany your homestay family on their morning prayers. Immerse yourself in village life as you accompany your hosts as they embark on their day. You may find yourself fishing or building a dhow (traditional boat) with the men, or harvesting seaweed, tending livestock or prepping meals with the women – or simply sitting under a tree, out of the heat! In the late afternoon, you will walk to a beautiful locally owned lodge where you will spend the next few days.

Overnight at local lodge

MEALS:  B,L


DAY 8 - February 19, 2020

Kizimikazi / Ocean Livelihoods Experience

Today you will learn about how Zanzibari men and women make a living on the Indian Ocean! This is the original ethical travel experience that grew into Simba & Spice, our local partner. Every morning, dolphin-seeking tourists arrive in this quiet fishing village, driving for 1.5 hours from Stone Town hotels. They arrive at the harbor and embark on a motorboat with the sole purpose of finding pods of dolphins. When the creatures are spotted, more than a dozen tourist boats follow them across the water. When they’re gone, the boats return tourists to the harbor and tourists return to their taxis and go back to Stone Town.

We have created something different! On the Ocean Livelihoods Tour, you will learn about the many ways local people earn a living on the sea. With a private boat and captain, you will travel on the ocean to see local fishermen fishing with spears, nets and sometimes lines, catching all kinds of fish and octopus which you can often purchase directly from your boat. You can see women farming seaweed and children towing boats to the shoreline. You will see the coastline as your journey continues, and hop off the boat to snorkel by a beautiful reef. You will look for dolphins and know that if you are fortunate to see them off the beaten path, it will be very rewarding. Locally prepared snacks will be served on the boat.

After spending the morning on the water, you will walk through the village to a local home, where you will have lunch prepared and also have the opportunity to clean and cook the seafood that you bought with help from your guide in traditional Zanzibar style! After lunch, enjoy a walk through the village before returning to your hotel where you can take a refreshing dip and relax by the pool.

Overnight at local lodge

MEALS:  B,L


DAY 9 - February 20, 2020

Kizimikazi / Seaweed Tour

After breakfast, you'll learn how local women farm seaweed on a visit to a local seaweed farm, and in the afternoon you will visit the mangroves by paddleboard or boat. Afterward, you can enjoy some downtime at the lodge.

Overnight at local lodge

MEALS:  B,L


DAY 10 - February 21, 2020

Departure -or- optional extension

After breakfast, you'll depart the island or you can extend your time and choose from these add-on options:

Bwejuu Village
- Relax on the white sand in beach bandas, swim in the Indian Ocean, and rest in a hammock outside your beach banda, away from the big hotels and tourist traps. This tranquil oasis is one of our favorite hideaways!

- Snorkelling, kitesurfing, scuba diving, and fishing are some of the options for water-loving travelers. Tell us what you want to do, and we’ll connect you with the best place for it.

- With your local guide, visit the nearby village of Michamvi where you will visit some local homes and markets, have a traditional lunch, and explore the extraordinary mangroves by foot, paddleboard or boat.

- Visit the wildly popular beach strip called Page with your guide, now best known for kitesurfing and beach-side coffee and juice bars.

Nungwi
Nungwi offers travelers the perfect combination of beautiful beaches, connections with other travelers, modern Zanzibari culture, and a look at village life. Travel to the northern part of the island, possibly spotting the red colobus monkeys at Jozani Forest on the way.

- Take a walking tour of Nungwi Village (dhow building industry, fish market, Mnarani Aquarium)

Page
If you’re looking for a lively beach experience filled with sporty fun, this is where you will want to be! Page is known for high winds, a vibrant kitesurfing community, and simple Zanzibari-style bungalows set back from the action.

Most travelers come to Zanzibar as part of a trip including mainland Tanzania. Check out some sample options here!

MEALS:  


PRICE

$2495 per person based on double occupancy

DURATION

10D / 9N

DEPARTURE DATES

February 12 - 21, 2020


ACTIVITY LEVEL

Easy

ROUTE

Stone Town - Kizimkazi - Stone Town

PROGRAM ELEMENTS

village experience



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