Home Lifestyle Unexpected ‘paradise’ is one of the top islands to visit this year

Unexpected ‘paradise’ is one of the top islands to visit this year

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Zanzibar won points for attractions and affordability (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Looking to let your troubles float away on a ‘paradise’ island for your holidays? Give Zanzibar a go.

You may not have considered it before, but the Tanzanian archipelago has just been crowned one of the best island destinations in the world to visit in 2024, so it’s worth putting it on your itinerary.

Looking at factors like the number of beaches, things to do, average hotel prices and average temperatures, Zanzibar came in second place in the Bounce study, with a more than respectable score of 9.66 out of 10.

It scored highly for weather, attractions and low-cost accommodation, along with a dreamy average pint price of £1.55.

And although Zanzibar was just pipped to the post by Phuket, Thailand, it could be a better choice for those who prefer to go off the beaten track.

Not only will you beat the overtourism and overpricing in more traditional tourist traps, you’ll also avoid jet lag, as Tanzania is just two hours ahead of the UK despite being a long-haul journey.

It beats a day at the office (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Previous visitors have great things to say too, including Tripadvisor reviewer Frankie79 who commented: ‘Zanzibar is a must. It’s got everything from historical sites like Stone Town to the paradise beaches of Kendwa and Nungwi.’

‘No picture could do justice to the beauty of the place, you have to see it to believe it!’ added Hal10, while Maha E said: ‘Absolutely my favourite destination so far. Beaches, great people, extremely friendly. Great weather and great food.’

What to do in Zanzibar

The main island (Unguja) is the best place to base your trip to Zanzibar, and is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs. There are plenty of beaches to choose from here, but Pongwe is considered one of the best for swimming, Nungwi for nightlife, and Kendwa for incredible sunsets.

Swim in the Indian Ocean (which stays at a comfortable 25°C to 30°C throughout the year), laze around on the palm-shades shoreline, or go snorkelling to spot an array of species among the anemone.

Could Zanzibar be any more idyllic? (Picture: Getty Images)

Speaking of wildlife, this island has no shortage of animals. The Zanzibar red colobus monkey is endemic to Unguja, and sightings are almost guaranteed because they come close to the ground to fill up on the low-lying vegetation of the Jozani Forest.

As well as these monkeys, a tour of this National Park will also likely feature all sorts of butterflies and birds, bush babies, small antelopes and civets.

Head to Jozani National Park to spot red colobus monkeys (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dolphin-watching trips are also common off the coast, some of which include a visit to the Sea Turtles Sanctuary where you can swim with the marine life in a natural lagoon.

There’s a lot of history to discover in Zanzibar, so it’s worth carving out time to explore Stone Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. The colourful architecture is beautiful, but you’ll get a real feel for the location with a guided tour to explain its rich heritage.

Don’t forget to sample the street food (Picture: Getty Images)

All that learning is sure to whet your appetite, which prompts a trip to Zanzibar Street Food Market, the region’s bazaars, or Forodhani Gardens; here you can sample the local delicacy, Zanzibar pizza. And for a truly magical dining experience, head to the Rock Restaurant on the Michamvi Peninsula for some of the freshest seafood imaginable.

There are so many more ways to make your holiday one to remember, from a visitto unspoilt Pemba Island to a traditional dhow cruise to touring N’gambwa village on Uzi Island. The choice is yours.

Stone Town is full of history and culture (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

How to get to Zanzibar

Journeys from the UK to Zanzibar take an average of around 13 hours including a stopover. Since there are no direct routes, you’ll have to take a connecting flight, typically changing in Istanbul, Dubai, Nairobi or Doha depending on your carrier.

According to Skyscanner, flights to Zanzibar from London can cost as little as £491 return depending on when you travel. September to May is the cheapest time to fly, with return fares topping £800 in peak months of July and August.

Once you reach Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, you can either get a taxi to your destination, or rent a car if you have a valid international driving license and want to explore.

The best time to visit Zanzibar

It tends to be warm in Zanzibar year-round, with average temperatures of above 25°C regardless of when you visit (although February is warmest at roughly 28°C).

As it has a tropical monsoon climate, however, you may want to avoid April and May, as it’s significantly rainier during these months.

In July, the island hosts the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries, where you can enjoy events highlighting Swahili Coast arts and traditional taarab music.

Or, time your visit for the Seafood Festival in June, the Sauti za Busara Music Festival in February or annual Soundscapes Zanzi techno festival.

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