Discover the idyllic island oases off the coast of East Africa

The Zanzibar archipelago is a stunning collection of 40 islands sprinkled across the Indian Ocean, each with a dazzling array of coral reefs to snorkel, rainforests to explore and fishing villages to visit. Choose to bliss out on deck on a chartered boat, dive into the crystal waters or cast a line overboard. With most meals served on deck and lazy days by the water, all that needs to be done is to drop anchor and pick up a cocktail.


Start
Zanzibar North Coast, Tanzania
Finish
Zanzibar North Coast, Tanzania
Country
Tanzania
Style
Original
Theme
Sailing
Code
YSSZ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 8

Why we love this trip

  • Go ashore and hike through the Ngezi Rainforest, a gigantic spread of indigenous

  • Visit a local fishing village for some cultural interaction

  • Snorkel among a stunning collection of corals and colourful fish

  • Enjoy a BBQ dinner of freshly caught fish while watching a stunning sunset

Is this trip right for you?

  • You don't need to complete a Physical Participation Form, but it's important to read the trip notes carefully to make sure you're suited to this trip. You’ll need to feel comfortable with moving about the boat. The cabins and communal areas are spread over two decks, and the steps between decks are steep.

  • You will be entering and exiting a Zodiac boat during wet and dry landings and when returning from snorkelling. Although the waters are usually calm, it can get rough and choppy, which requires steady sea legs and a sturdy stomach. Rain or shine, your trusty crew will always be on hand to assist you.

  • The boats are real yachts, and this is a real sailing trip. Yachts are designed to maximise living area space, so sleeping quarters (typically four twin-share cabins) can be a bit cramped. That said, the adventure and exhilaration of an authentic sailing trip more than makes up for any discomfort.

  • While at sea and when exploring the islands, you may be exposed to the sun for large parts of the day. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water.

  • Sometimes changes to the itinerary are necessary due to the weather. This can happen with little notice. If you're flexible and have a sense of humour, you're bound to have a fun and relaxing trip across this beautiful part of the world.

  • It's important to have fun, but also to respect your shipmates who might be sleeping. If you do enjoy a late night out, consider booking a hostel (where available) for the night so you don't wake your fellow travellers (and more importantly the skipper) upon your return.

Itinerary

Arrive in Zanzibar, an archipelago of over 40 islands with 4 main islands – Unguja, Pemba, Latham and Mafia. The islands of Zanzibar have been an important Indian Ocean trading post for centuries. The unique blend of faces, cuisine and beliefs found on the islands today reflects its history of cultural crosspollination. Though Zanzibar has been visited by many civilizations including the Chinese, Malay and Indonesians, it is the Persians and Arabs, who both ruled for a time, that have remained the strongest cultural influences.  

Over the next 7 days we’ll head north to swim, snorkel and paddle our way through waters teeming with marine life, visit sleepy villages and walk through the Ngezi rainforest while serenaded by the calls of vervet and red colobus monkeys.
The meeting time is at 2pm at the port in Nungwi. If there are travellers joining us from the Road to Zanzibar & Spice Islands Sailing trip we'll have a quick stop at Kwenda to pick them up. Once on board formal introductions will take place and we’ll meet Mike, the skipper, and Marie, the cook - who will constantly surprise you with amazing delights whipped up from the small galley kitchen.
After a thorough briefing and safety demonstration you’ll set sail for Mnemba Island.

Mnemba Island is located 3km off the north east coast of Unguja – which is better known as the island of Zanzibar. Only 500 metres in diameter the island is completely surrounded by reefs and is privately owned. Only those staying at the exclusive, and very expensive resort, are permitted to set foot on the island, however the reefs surrounding the island are a Marine Conservation area and the waters are known for excellent snorkelling with a wide variety of corals and marine life.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
Transport and accommodation
Please note you will be travelling on a real sailing catamaran which are big on deck space however the cabins are made for sleeping and that’s about it. This means there’s limited space so we highly recommend travelling with a backpack or soft sided back, both of which can fit in the small cupboards provided in each cabin. Remember the bigger the bag the smaller the space for you in the cabin!

Yellow fever vaccination
A yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Today you’ll have an early breakfast and set sail north into the Zanzibar Archipelago. There is a very strong chance of seeing bottlenose dolphins and large pods of spinner dolphins and from July through to September [peak time is August] the Pemba Channel is on migration route of the Humpback whales so you may also catch a glimpse of these majestic and gentle animals. The channel is also known to be one of the best fishing destinations in the world and so you can cast out a fishing line and hope to catch tonight’s dinner.

We should arrive mid-afternoon and anchor in the Njao Gap, an absolutely stunning destination and the perfect place for a snorkel, kayak or paddle. Visibility is usually excellent here with green and hawksbill turtles, napoleon wrasse, giant groupers, titan trigger fish as well as a variety of corals can be sighted.

After breakfast we’ll head ashore to Pemba Island or Green Island as it was known by the first Arab settlers from Oman. Collectively Pemba, Unguja [Zanzibar] and Mafia Islands are known as the Spice Islands. Pemba is famous for its cloves, which are farmed in large scale, as well as smaller farming of coconuts, rice and bananas. We set off on a hike through the Ngezi Rainforest [closed in shoes recommended] in the hope of spotting red colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys and flying foxes. The flying foxes were once close to extinction however in recent years, thanks to an effective protection program, numbers are now estimated to be 20,000. After the hike we can also visit a local fishing village for some cultural interaction and have a local lunch [not included] or head back to the yacht for lunch.

In the afternoon we head back to the boat for more amazing snorkelling. Pemba is one of the top snorkelling locations in Tanzania as the whole island is surrounded by reef. The day is finished with a sundowner and a well-earned dinner on board.

In the morning we sail south from Pemba to Uvinje Gap, where we spend the rest of the day kayaking, paddling, snorkelling or just relaxing on board. Uvinje Gap is known to have 5 species of turtle, green, hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback and olive ridley and there is a huge variety of large and small reef fish – kingfish, jacks, napoleons, parrotfish, eels and barracudas. There is also a diverse assortment of corals. Visibility ranges from 40-50 metres making it a fantastic for snorkelling.

This afternoon we sail to Mesali Island where we will anchor overnight. Home to pristine white beaches we’ll enjoy a beach side BBQ of fresh fish.
Mesali Island is part of a conservation area with only a restricted number of local fisherman permitted to fish the waters for limited time periods. As a result the marine life is abundant and untouched coral reefs. It is thought that there is more variety of coral here than any other location in Tanzania. Hawksbill turtles nest on the beaches, dolphins, tuna, wahoo, rays, parrotfish, cuttlefish, and kingfish populate the waters.

We start early today to begin the crossing of the channel on our way, sadly, back to Nungwi. We should arrive by mid to late afternoon. For our last night on board Marie will create something special and as we watch the sunset we’ll toast to an amazing sailing adventure.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (5)
  • Lunch (4)
  • Dinner (4)
This exotic adventure comes to an end after breakfast.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Boat

Accommodation

Overnight boat (6 nights)

Dates & availability

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Essential trip information

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