Why you should go to Zanzibar with kids

Oh Zanzibar, the name already says it all. An exotic dream in the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar is part of Tanzania and is located not far from the coast of this country. We stayed for almost a month on this beautiful island and had the time of our lives. In this blog we’ll tell you all about it and why you really have to go to Zanzibar with your kids.

How we got there?

Since Zanzibar is an island, you can obviously not drive there. But with multiple ferries and flights leaving daily, there’s absolutely no problem going to Zanzibar. There are continental flights leaving from Dar es Salaam, as well as intercontinental flights taking you directly to the island. We took the ferry from Dar es Salaam. This ferry leaves four times a day and takes one hour and forty minutes. There are drinks, snacks and even free WiFi available on board which makes the journey very convenient.

Where did we have our sweetest dreams?

Zanzibar has plenty of options to sleep. From very high end luxury accommodation to dorm rooms when you travel on a budget. We stayed on the beautiful beach of Jambiani on the east coast of the island. The place where we stayed offered basic rooms but had air conditioning and the rooms were located right on the beach. The hotel had a nice and big swimming pool with a pool bar offering refreshing drinks. On Zanzibar, the breakfast is usually included. Our place offered a very nice breakfast buffet with a big variety of things.

After Jambiani, we went north to Nungwi beach. We stayed at a brand new villa in the village of Kidoti. This was the perfect location to explore the northern region. The villa has four bedrooms and was big enough to accommodate us and our friends, that also have three kids. We loved the two chefs that were available anytime. They made delicious and healthy breakfasts each morning and made dinner when we asked for it. We even had a very nice bbq where somebody came to make cocktails for us.

How we stayed active?

Kitesurfing! Zanzibar is a kitesurfing paradise with perfect conditions for beginners like us. When we stayed at Jambiani, we were found in the warm and clear waters of the Indian Ocean almost every day. Even Fedde, our eight year old tried to ride the board and managed to go for a few meters. How cool is that! Besides kitesurfing, Zanzibar offers numerous beautiful dive and snorkel spots. Our highlight was our oldest daughter Anna (ten years) getting her PADI open water certificate. What a great experience to be able to explore the underwater world together.

Every morning we woke up watching the sunrise from the ocean, meditating, yoga and running the powdery white sandy beaches. A more than perfect way to kick start your day. Staying active on Zanzibar shouldn’t be a challenge as everything is there to stay fit.

Money!

Zanzibar isn’t the cheapest destination but we found the prices very reasonable in general. It also highly depends on where you stay wether you pay rather more. Here’s what we paid:

  • Accomodation – We paid $35 per night including breakfast for our accommodation in Jambiani. We negotiated the rate as we were staying for almost three weeks but this sure was a very good deal! Our last week in Kidoti was $80 per night including breakfast.
  • Food & Drinks – You can find very cheap and nice street food in a lot of places on the island. The street food is usually just a few dollars. Going to average restaurants, you pay around $7 per dish. Most bars have happy hour between 6 and 8 pm so food and drinks on Zanzibar shouldn’t be your main cost.
  • Transport – The Ferry costs you 35 dollars for adults and 25 dollars for kids. These prices are based on economy class tickets and are one way. A private taxi from Stone Town to Jambiani costs about $ 30
  • Activities – Our highest costs were spent on activities like kite surfing and diving. A kite lesson including gear costs around $ 170 for three hours. Of course you can negotiate about the price when taking more hours. Anna her junior PADI open water certification was $495 and our fun dives were $120 for two dives including gear.

TIP: We did various boat trips and they also vary a lot in pricing. Our absolute favorite was our trip where we swam with dolphins and had lunch on a sand plate. This package is offered a lot from Nungwe or Matemwe beach but they are NOT nice. The dolphins are being chased, you snorkel with hundreds of other people and you’re on the sand plate again with a lot of other people. We experienced this and hated it. A real tourist trap.

We went with another company and had a whole other experience. We were the only boat and saw dolphins that kept coming back to our boat. We carefully went in the water with them and swam together for such a long time. This experience was magical. After this we went to a place to snorkel. There were only a few other boats but not so touristy at all. After this we were taken to a pristine sand plate for lunch. We got fresh fish and rice. It was delicious and it was just us. After this you can even go to the mangroves to see monkeys. Unfortunately the tide wasn’t right for us but we already had the best day ever. We only paid $50 for the five of us (2 adults, 3 kids). Contact Ally on +255 773 235 713.

Anna, Fedde & Ids favorites

The kids absolutely loved Zanzibar. Playing on the beach everyday makes this destination already perfect for kids. But here are their high lights:

  • Kitesurfing lessons
  • PADI certification
  • Stone Town including sunset at the rooftop terrace of Swahili house
  • Spice tour
  • Swimming in a cave
  • Swimming with Dolphins
  • With a Dhow to the reef to snorkel and fish
  • Street food in Paje – chapati with Nutella and banana!

Besides this list, just playing with new friends made their days filled with joy and laughter.

Why you don’t want to miss Zanzibar

It’s obvious that we really enjoyed Zanzibar! For us it was the perfect break from our traveling life. The laid back atmosphere, the white stretches of tropical beaches and clear waters and the historic background make Zanzibar a great holiday destination.

Karibu sana – you are welcome!

Back in paradise

This blog is in Dutch but can magically change to any language, using Google translate

Wakker worden van de klotsende golven op het strand en de opkomende zon op je gezicht. Wat is het leven toch een droom. We zijn inmiddels ruim een week op het prachtige, tot de verbeelding sprekende, Zanzibar. De dagen rijgen zich aaneen met spelen op het strand, zwemmen in het zwembad en heel veel kitesurfen.

Nadat we in Dar es Salaam aangekomen zijn, gaan we direct naar een garage voor de Land Rover. De drie dagen durende rit is pittig. We rijden voornamelijk achter heel langzaam rijdend vrachtverkeer. Wanneer de weg ons echter dwars door een National park leidt en we vlak naast ons verrast worden door zebra’s, giraffen en talloze bokjes, vergeten we de rit al snel. Wat een verrassing! We trakteren onszelf op fijne accommodaties onderweg zodat we uitgerust aan de volgende dag beginnen.

De garage stelt gerust en wekt vertrouwen. Zoveel dat we hals over de kop besluiten om de volgende ochtend direct de boot naar Zanzibar te pakken terwijl de Land Rover in de garage gefixt wordt. In Dar es Salaam wanen we ons weer even in een heel westerse wereld, gaan naar de bioscoop en struinen langs een scala aan eettentjes.

En dan Zanzibar, wow! Wat een heerlijk paradijs. Franse vrienden die we in Malawi ontmoet hebben, hebben al een kamer voor ons geboekt dus we komen in een gespreid bedje. We leven op het strand en in het water. Scharrelen ‘s avonds wat eten op straat en genieten van kilo’s watermeloen en ananas. De hoofdactiviteit is kite surfen. We willen het hier echt onder de knie krijgen. Met bijna dagelijks goede omstandigheden (voldoende wind) kunnen we hier echt meters maken. Zelfs Fedde is gestart en vindt het geweldig.

We ontmoeten veel andere reizigers dus het is iedere dag feest. Er zijn ontzettend veel kinderen in verhouding tot de andere plekken waar we geweest zijn en dat is voor onze kinderen natuurlijk fantastisch. Ze spelen met alle nationaliteiten en hebben zo de grootste lol.

Voorlopig vermaken we ons berebest hier. Na Likoma island in Lake Malawi, voelen we ons ook hier weer enorm thuis. Dat eiland leven trekt ons wel…. Toch moeten we de tijd een beetje in de gaten houden en plannen we richting fantastisch bezoek uit Nederland. Voor nu is het nog twee weken genieten van zon, zee en strand voordat we weer naar het vasteland gaan.

We hopen dat iedereen die dit leest, minimaal net zo aan het genieten is want dat is leven lieve mensen.