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?

  • As the majority of this trip takes place on a sailing boat, you’ll need to feel comfortable with moving about the vessel, including the use of stairs. With that said, sea legs come naturally to some but not so much for others. Your friendly crew will be able to help with the effects of sea sickness if needed.

  • A zodiac is used to transport passengers from the boat to the mainland, with landings taking place at piers (dry landings) as well as on beaches (wet landings). Zodiacs can sometimes be awkward to climb in and out of, but a sense of humour and can-do attitude is all you need.

  • This is an adventure on board a real yacht, which means living spaces, cabins, bathrooms and showers need to be shared with other passengers. Sleeping quarters can be quite compact, but you will be spending the majority of your time above board in the open air.

  • Time on the water also means time in the sun. Remember to pack sun protection, such as sun screen and a hat, and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. See ‘Essential Trip Information’ below for a full packing list.

  • Please note that smooth sailing is dependent on the weather, so itinerary changes may occur at the last minute if the weather becomes unfavourable. If any changes are made, you can trust in your knowledgeable skipper to choose an alternative route or activity.

  • Due to the size of the yachts, sound carries easily from one side to the other and can wake your fellow travellers. If you’re planning to have a late night, it’s a good idea to head into town and experience the local night life.

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 Sunset Bungalows in Nungwi on the North Coast of Zanzibar. If there are travellers joining us from the Road to Zanzibar & Spice Islands Sailing trip we'll meet them at the here.  The catamaran will be moored just off the beach near the Bungalows and you will be collected by a crew member and taken to the boat by dinghy. Once on board formal introductions will take place and we’ll meet Mike, the skipper, and 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.

Notes: The beauty of sailing is that each day is unique and, while we have a destination to reach, if the weather changes or something takes the group’s fancy, we are flexible on the day's itinerary. The itinerary is subject to change and may vary depending on weather and berth availability. Your skipper will make the final call to ensure your safety at all times.
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

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Zanzibar Spice Islands Sailing Adventure trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 4 reviews in the last year.

Zanzibar Spice Islands Sailing Adventure, July 2017

Tracy Tassell

Zanzibar Spice Islands Sailing Adventure, June 2017

Bridget Kramer