Day 0128th December 2019
- Arrival in Zanzibar (D)
Upon your arrival at the ZNZ Kisauni Airport, you will be welcomed by a Rahhalah representative who will drive you to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the city at your own pace, before reassembling in the evening for the trip briefing and the Welcome Dinner at Emerson On Hurumzi Rooftop Teahouse. Overnight at Zanzibar Serena Hotel or similar.
Day 0229th December 2019
- Exploring Stone Town's heritage & Prison island (B)
After breakfast, prepare to explore Stone Town through a private, heritage walk. During a 3-hour tour through the narrowest streets in the world, you will gain a good understanding of the fascinating history of Zanzibar’s capital, and you will observe how several civilizations that passed by the city (Arabs, Indians, Yemenis, Persians, Portuguese, British, Chinese and others) blend with the African traditions, shaping a unique culture. You will start with a visit to Stone Town’s colorful main market in Darajani, bustling with locals selling fresh vegetables and tropical fruits, before you continue to the site of the former slave market and the Anglican cathedral built in 1873.From there, you will visit the palace of the former Sultan of Zanzibar, the 'Hamamni Persian Bath', the Old Fort which is next to the 'House of Wonders' and many other buildings that reflect the variety of cultural influences. There are distinctive features of Arab and Indian urban architecture to discover at every turn, such as the famous Zanzibar doors, elaborately carved with verses from the Q’ran (Arab) or ornaments likeplants and animals (Indian), further enhanced with brass studs, quaint balconies and verandas, small hidden gardens, saints’ graves, and much more. In the afternoon, you will take a sunset cruise to Prison Island with a Dhow along Stone Town's seafront. Onboard, you will be able to enjoy Swahili snacks, seasonal fruits and non-alcoholic beverages. The name of Prison island (or Changuu in the local language) is misleading: although the once impressive building, erected in 1893 by Lloyd Mathews, was originally intended to be a prison, it never housed criminals. The island, however, was reportedly used by an Arab slave trader to contain the most troublesome slaves coming from the African mainland. Later, it became a quarantine station, but mainly it was a conveniently located leisure spot for the wealthy townsfolk. The old prison's crumbling cells can still be seen today; they provide shelter for the resident peacocks and the giant Aldabra tortoises that Sultan Seyyid Said brought from Seychelles in the 1820s. Some of them are almost a hundred years old. The island is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, or relaxing by the white sand beach. Overnight at Zanzibar Serena Hotel or similar.
Day 0330th December 2019
- Jozani Forest Adventure / Snorkeling at the Blue Lagoon (B)
After an early breakfast, you will embark for a Jozani Forest Adventure. Jozani Forest is the last area of indigenous forest in Zanzibar and part of the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park. It is home to roughly one-third of the remaining endemic Kirk’s Red Colobus monkeys, one of Africa's rarest primates, and many other species of animals and plants. Jozani Forest is 44 sq km, about 3% of the whole island, and includes groundwater forests, coastal forests and grassland, as well as mangroves and salt marshes on the coast. It provides a habitat for a wide variety of mammals, birds and butterflies. A walk through this impressive flora and fauna is one of the highlights Zanzibar has to offer. After you will head to Michamvi on the Southeast Coast, from where the boat departs for the Blue Lagoon.The Blue Lagoon is next to the famous The Rock restaurant (known for its amazing cuisine), and from there, it is just a short boat ride to the snorkeling area where you will have the opportunity to observe a vast amount of tropical fish. During this snorkeling experience, you will use a wooden boat with a motor, which will allow you also to visit a spot for starfish watching. Afterwards lunch at the Rock restaurant (at own expenses) Overnight at Zanzibar Serena Hotel or similar.
Day 0431st December 2019
- Tumbatu Island: Ras Mskitini and Jongowe (B, L, D)
After a very early breakfast, you will head towards Kendwa Beach, from where the traditional Dhow boat departs to Tumbatu Island. Your visit to this island will be a truly unique experience!! Tumbatu is one of Zanzibar’s best-kept secrets: very few people are allowed to visit it since you need special permission from the elders of the community on the island. People call the Watumbatu (i.e. the inhabitants of Tumbatu) aloof and unfriendly, just because they are living as a very closed, self-supporting community. You won’t find any cars or scooters, while there is only one road, despite the presence of people on the island since the 11th century, when Shiraz built the first stone building in the entire Zanzibar Archipelago. Ras Mskitini At the beach of Ras Mskitini, you will see how the Watumbatu people prepare their fishing nets and traps, and you will learn how they build and maintain their boats – all by hand! After a short walk, you will arrive at the school of Ras Mskitini and learn about the importance of the old Baobab trees for the community. You will notice the differences between new and old sections of the village, and you will visit the house of a sheha (chairman of the village) family. You may also uncover some of the unspoken secrets of Tumbatu (the locals are famous for their witchcraft practices), and you will get more information on how the women of the community earn an income through "Ukili" (plaiting palm leaves). Jongowe The island has two important places in the south: Jongowe and Kichangani. You will explore the Jongowe ruins, one of Zanzibar's early central settlements. Islanders who belong to the Shirazi ethnic group claim that they are descendants of the Persian royalty that arrived in the 9thcentury. The late medieval city was described in a chronicle known as the "Tumbatu Manuscript". This unique manuscript was burned in a big fire in the village circa 1938. Nevertheless, it inspired the Dutch maritime anthropologist and ethnohistorian A. H. J. Prins to visit the island by dhow from Zanzibar and identify the ancient Shirazi port city's ruins in June 1957. IF TIDES and WEATHER conditions allow, you may have a stopover at one of the colorful reefs around Tumbatu Island for a unique snorkeling experience. In the evening, you will enjoy a New Year Gala Dinner with traditional Taraab live music and ongoing entertainment at BAHARIA RESTAURANT at Zanzibar Serena Hotel. Overnight at Zanzibar Serena Hotel or similar.
Day 051st January 2020
- Spice Plantation Walk (B, L)
Today you will enjoy a spice tour during which you will get introduced to the secrets of this aromatic world. For centuries, Zanzibar's cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom and other spices, medicinal and ornamental plants, as well as tropical fruits attracted traders across the Indian Ocean. Some of the different plants you will encounter during this 3- to 4-hour tour, include the henna bush, ylang-ylang, the lipstick tree, iodine plant, cocoa, cassava, dasheen cocoyam and – yes, Zanzibar coffee! Explore the island’s abundance of mouth-watering tropical fruits like jack fruit, pineapples, bananas, green coconut (madafu), durian, love apple (matufaa), rambutan (shoki-shoki), soursop (mabungo) and starfruit (carambola). The tour includes lunch in a private, rural ambience and an optional stopover at the ruins of the Kidichi Persian Baths (ruins). Overnight at Zanzibar Serena Hotel or similar.
Day 062nd January 2020
- Departure from Zanzibar (B)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the ZNZ Kisauni airport for your departure flight back home.