2 days in Zanzibar

Your Guide To A Quick Visit: 2 Days in Zanzibar

Spending 2 days in Zanzibar may seem like a short period of time, but with the right information, you can do lots of things. I visited Zanzibar as part of a two week trip to Tanzania. I always love to end all my vacations with something relaxing like going to the beach and soaking in some last minute adventure. I wasn’t able to explore everything that could be done on the island, but I’m sharing the things I did or were recommended by other travel enthusiasts.

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Safari experiences on Zanzibar are pretty limited. There are safari packages from Zanizbar to Selous Game Reserve (Nyerere National Park) if you don’t have the chance to partake in a safari in northern Tanzania. Let’s dive into some suggested itineraries for the best things to do in Zanzibar during your visit.

Don’t have time to read the whole itinerary? Here are my recommendations for 2 days in Zanzibar:

Day 1: Exploring Stone Town

Stone Town is the main city of Zanzibar and has lots of ancient history as the place where slavery was finally terminated. Zanzibar is also known as “Spice Island” because of its production of cloves, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon that dates back over 4 centuries ago.

Start your day with a delightful breakfast at Zanzibar Coffee House, where you can savor the rich flavors of locally grown coffee and freshly baked pastries. It also serves as a bed & breakfast if you are looking for a cozy place to stay in Stone Town. 

After breakfast, indulge in a Spice Tour, where you’ll discover the secrets of Zanzibar’s renowned spices. Explore lush plantations, taste exotic fruits, and learn about the island’s spice trade.

Spice Tour in Zanzibar

Enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants in Stone Town depending on what cuisine you want to indulge in. You can also head to the Darajani Market to explore the shopping strip including fruit, vegetables, spices and local products.

Spend the afternoon exploring the fascinating history of Zanzibar with a visit to the Old Fort. Wander through the fort’s ancient walls, check out the amphitheatre and explore the shops that sell things you can buy as a souvenir.

Old Fort, Zanzibar

If you are a fan of the iconic band “Queen”, then find your way to Kenyatta Road to find the “Mercury House”, Freddie Mercury’s childhood holiday home. It is not open to the public but you can admire it from the outside. I love Queen so this was very cool to see!

Mercury House - Stone Town

Later in the afternoon, you can embark on your own excursion to Prison Island and Nakupenda. You can explore the historic prison ruins and marvel at the crystal-clear waters surrounding this picturesque island.

prison island, zanzibar

The easiest way to do all of the above is to take a full day tour, including all of the things above.

For dinner, head to Forodhani Food Market, a culinary hub offering a tantalizing array of local delicacies, especially the seafood!

Day 2: Embracing Nature and Adventure

After breakfast, set out on a morning adventure to Jozani Forest to find monkeys and turtles and explore the trails and mangroves. Your guided tour will hopefully be able to find you the endemic Red Colobus monkeys. Note that this park must be accessed with a guide, so if you decide to drive yourself, you can get a guide when you enter the forest.

jozani forest

If you are a birding enthusiast, you may have a chance to see some of the birds of Tanzania. I spent a few hours exploring this area and some coastal areas and found lots of birds which made my visit to Zanzibar even better.

blue cheeked bee eater

For lunch, savor the flavors of authentic cuisine at a local restaurant near your accommodations. Delight your taste buds with aromatic spices, fresh seafood, and traditional dishes that showcase Zanzibar’s culinary heritage. If you are near Paje Beach, then head to the highly recommended The Rock Restaurant.

After lunch, spend the afternoon soaking up the sun on one of the public beaches. If you are staying on the north coast then head to Nungwi Beach. If you are on the southeastern coast then head to Paje Beach. Pongwe Beach is great if you want to hit the east side of the island. 

If you are lucky, your hotel may be on the beach, so you can just relax on the beach or by the pool at your own resort. I recommend staying at the Reef & Beach Resort in Jambiani. Due to the tides on the beach outside the resort, you unfortunately cannot hang out on the beach. However, the pool is amazing to relax by!

Zanzibar - Reef & Beach Resort

As your last night comes, you can find a great seaside restaurant where you can dine on fresh seafood by the ocean. The hotel I stayed at included all my meals, so I often enjoyed dinners at my resort which were fantastic.

Alternate Day Itinerary

If you didn’t get a chance to experience a safari in the Serengeti National Park on your visit to Tanzania, then you can take part in a full day safari to Selous Game Reserve. I did visit this reserve as part of my trip to Tanzania and this is an amazing, remote national park to visit. I was lucky enough to see African Wild Dogs, which was one of the reasons I wanted to visit this reserve.

Wild Dogs in Tanznia Pack

If you are an avid bird watcher or starting to birdwatch, then you have the chance to spot some of the 400 species of birds found in this area. 

You also have a good chance to find the Big Five on your visit. Safaris are unpredictable so do ont assume you will see everything, but I’m sure that whatever you get the chance to see, will be an amazing experience.

Mangrove Boardwalk - Zanzibar

Is 2 Days in Zanzibar Enough?

While two days may seem short, this itinerary offers a perfect glimpse into what you can do in Zanzibar, whether you are exploring Stone Town, or exploring Jozani Forest in search of monkeys or birds. You can get a good glimpse into Zanzibar if you only have a couple of days, however if you choose to spend more days here, then there are lots of things to do, unless you just want to relax on the beach or by the pool.

Reef & Beach Resort Zanzibar

Best Time to Visit Zanzibar

Traveling to Zanzibar is good most of the year due to frequent sunshine and very warm weather. 

July to September is a peak tourist season if that’s something you want to consider in your planning. For the perfect blend of favorable weather and fewer crowds, aim to visit Zanzibar in October. This time offers pleasant temperatures just after the peak tourist season.

April and May experience long periods of rain, so that might deter you from visiting during these months.

I visited in February and found the weather was great and I didn’t have any issues or concerns with the hot weather!

Red Colobus Monkey

Final Thoughts

I hope this guide provided you with enough information to plan your 2 days in Zanzibar and experience the best of the island. There is so much to do, whether you are looking to relax on stunning beaches, explore the city and culture or just relax by the pool. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the island.

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  1. Great guide, although concise it’s full of great tips and recommendations. I’ve been fantasizing about Zanzibar for the last 2 years so will definitely save this for when I book a trip. Selous Game reserve sounds like a fun day trip and the beaches look incredible 😍

  2. Reading about the beaches, the nature walks and Mercury House won me over. Zanzibar sounds like a great place to visit. Thank you for sharing your informative guide. I look forward to visiting Tanzania one day.

  3. I am so jealous that you got to see African Wild Dogs! I have wanted to visit Africa since I was young and it’s still a dream of mine. Visiting Zanzibar is on my list of places to go and this 2-day trip looks like great fun. If I ever get to visit I will for sure hit up Selous Game Reserve.

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