A visit to Zanzibar’s capital is a must-do for travelers in the region, though checking off the city’s highlights in two days can be tricky. From Stone Town tours to islet day trips, here are our top tips for optimizing 48 hours in Zanzibar City.
Day 1: Sightsee in the City
Morning: Start off in Stone Town, Zanzibar City’s oldest district, to discover landmarks such as the Old Dispensary, Old Fort, and House of Wonders. Guided tours offer immersive insight into the UNESCO-listed town’s history; opt to zip around by bike or wander around on foot for a more intimate experience.
Afternoon: Now that you’re familiar with the past, widen your perspective with a glimpse of present-day life in Zanzibar City. Whether you’re curious about local cuisine or interested in the city’s modern industries, you have options. Half-day cultural tours typically include meals and round-trip transport.
Night: Unwind with a curry dinner in the old town, followed by an evening stroll along the waterfront. Or, sip a sunset aperitif on a hotel terrace overlooking the ocean. Bars, clubs, and lounges offer revelry into the wee hours, though be respectful of the local Islamic culture.
Day 2: Explore the Island
Morning: Spend your second day taking advantage of the capital’s convenient connections to wider-archipelago attractions. Relax on tropical beaches, sail to scenic islets, watch wildlife in nature reserves, or explore rural villages, benefiting from a range of half- or full-day tours available from Zanzibar City.
Afternoon: Many tours continue into the afternoon, though not all include lunch. If you find yourself back in town with time to spare, pick up fresh snacks at Darajani Market, or spend a few hours checking out alternative city attractions, such as the Princess Salme Museum or the Cultural Arts Centre.
Night: Take in your final sunset views across the Zanzibar Channel as you sample street food at the Forodhani Gardens night market. If you’re flying out the same evening, private transfer services offer customizable departure times to suit your schedule, allowing you to optimize your last hours in the Zanzibari capital.