#1 6-24-2017 10:58 AM

shalatiko
London, England
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Zanzibar in september/october

hi guys,
me (25 years old) and my wife (23) want to fly to Zanzibar for our honeymoon (:
the problem is that we can go only between september 10th to october 10.
is that a good time to go to Zanzibar in terms of weather? i found in the internet some people say its warm enough and some say its pretty chill. we of course want to get there when it is the hottest times.
anyone have been there and would like to share some tips?
in addition: what there is to do there except from being in beach all day? are there any nice place to go see or to visit?
in addition 2: if not zanzibar, do someone have a HOT place to recommend about in these dates?

thanks to everyone! smile

 

#2 6-24-2017 11:55 AM

TravelingChris
Chris
Pemberton, New Jersey
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Re: Zanzibar in september/october

Zanzibar is an awesome place. I went during the month of May and the weather was hot and nice, don't know about Sept/Oct. Stone Town is a great area to explore, historical churches, markets, forts... remnants of the slave trade. Tons of restaurants and bars. Really interesting history considering that it was at one time controlled by the Portuguese, Omanis, Africans, etc, a crazy melting pot of culture. I recommend going to the Rock restaurant on the NE coast for some postcard quality photos, and stop by the Jozani monkey forest on the way.

 

#3 6-25-2017 1:01 AM

harbinger
Cathy
Brussels, Belgium
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Re: Zanzibar in september/october

Firstly, congratulations on your forthcoming marriage. Secondly, congratulations on an inspired choice of honeymoon destination!
I have been lucky enough to Zanzibar several times, and believe that there's never a 'bad' time to go.  However, September/October is a particularly good time, as it isn't too hot (when it's really hot, it's debilitatingly hot), and you will miss the peak rainy seasons.
As Chris so rightly says, the charm of Zanzibar is the tropical island gorgeousness juxtaposed with amazing history - an unusual combination for island holidays which can be somewhat 'culture light'. Zanzibar's history reflects its strategic location and trading heritage, and is more dominated by Arab/Muslim than African influences.  It also has an interesting Portuguese/British colonial history (with the distinction of hosting the shortest documented war in history, which lasted 45 minutes), and of course it was the birthplace of Freddie Mercury.  Stonetown is a fascinating place to wander around aimlessly, and whatever resort you decide to stay in, it's really worth planning to spend a couple of days there either on your way in or out (you'll have to fly in to the airport anyway, so turn this into an opportunity).
You may not realise that 'Zanzibar' consists of more than one island, so your first choice will be between Unjuja (the main island, where the majority of the hotels are located) and Pemba, which is separated from Unjuja by an extremely deep water channel, and is less touristed.  Our personal preference is Pemba, because it is more rural, and if you're into water sports such as diving, snorkelling and fishing, I would argue that it is the better location.
When you're researching which resort to choose, you would be well advised to consider what your priorities are.  Some of the bigger resorts can be somewhat anonymous and could frankly be anywhere in the world, which will please some, but not others.  It's also worth bearing in mind that many of the resorts (particularly those which offer 'all inclusive' packages) are geared towards people who don't have much interest in venturing out of the resort, and are not all that well suited to being used as a base from which to explore the island.  Which is fine if that's the sort of holiday you're looking for, but from your question, I sense that you may be looking for something more active.
Getting around the island can be slow, and car hire is not a great option, due to the often poor road conditions, variable condition of hire vehicles and erratic standard of local driving (with a heavy presence of police on the road, who are only too keen to pull over a tourist).  So if you plan to explore, hire a reputable local guide (as ever, guided tours from hotels tend to be overpriced).

Last edited by harbinger (6-25-2017 3:07 AM)

 

#4 6-25-2017 1:28 AM

harbinger
Cathy
Brussels, Belgium
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Re: Zanzibar in september/october

In terms of things to do, the majority of the attractions are in Stonetown, hence the suggestion to spend a couple of nights there (thereby also avoiding the time and cost of travelling in for day trips).  Any good guide book or blog will detail what's worth seeing, but perhaps the most enjoyable thing to do in Stonetown is just to mosey around and soak up the intoxicating atmosphere of this unique town.
Outside of Stonetown, Jozani Forest is a nice option for the red colobus monkeys and mangroves, and there are myriad tours of the spice farms on offer.  These sound - and are - very touristy, but that doesn't detract from their slightly cheesy charm.  They are surprisingly educational (who knew that both nutmeg and mace come from a fruit that looks like an apricot?), give you an opportunity to buy fresher spices that are offered in tourist shops (thereby adding some post-honeymoon spice to your newly married life) and also provide good context to an industry which is one of the mainstays of the Zanzibari economy.
Out of Stonetown, you can hire boats to visit other small islands where you can snorkel or just play Robinson Crusoe for the day.  These are fun, but bear in mind that much of the coral has been damaged due to irresponsible fishing and boating activity (so pick your destination based on reviews that you've researched).
We also enjoyed a trip to a turtle rescue centre where you can swim with turtles in a lake that's connected to the sea.  Probably not worth a trip in its own right, but good to combine with other attractions on a day tour.

 

#5 6-25-2017 1:40 AM

harbinger
Cathy
Brussels, Belgium
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Re: Zanzibar in september/october

Pemba is a different kettle of fish altogether.  The first advantage is that you'll probably get there by light aircraft from Zanzibar airport in Stonetown, which means that you have a breathtaking free aerial overview of the archipelago.
If you're a diver or a snorkeller, Pemba is ideal, as the coral in generally in better shape.  Also the deep water Pemba Channel attracts in pelagic fish (such as manta rays and big game fish), so both the diving and deep sea fishing opportunities are amazing.
On our last trip, we stayed at a surprisingly affordable diving resort right on the northern tip of Pemba.  Although we don't dive, we had a brilliant time, as there is wonderful snorkelling just off the beach, and you can also tag along in the dive boat to other locations.  There were kayaks available and the resort also offered a free spa treatment every day to each member of the family - our kids became quite the massage connoisseurs!  This resort also has an underwater room moored about 500m offshore, which has attracted a lot of media attention - personally it wouldn't be my choice (even if I could afford it), but it was certainly interesting.
We also wandered around the local village with hotel staff and spent a fun - if unsuccessful evening - trying to track down the endemic Pemba scops owl in a neighbouring pocket of rainforest.  This particular resort is very low key and rustic - with the resident bushbaby population coming in to raid sugar from the coffee machine in the evening - which suits us, and is an example of the great range of hotel accommodation Zanzibar has to offer.

Last edited by harbinger (6-25-2017 1:50 AM)

 

#6 6-25-2017 1:46 AM

harbinger
Cathy
Brussels, Belgium
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Re: Zanzibar in september/october

One last - completely left field option.
Many tourists to Zanzibar have to change plane in either Nairobi or Dar-es-Salaam.  if so, then this presents an opportunity to add on a safari experience, if that appeals. 
For example, on the trip we did to Pemba, we deliberately took a circuitous route from Johannesburg (where we then lived) via Nairobi, where we picked up a guide, and then spent a few days exploring the Rift Valley and the Aberdares.  The combination of beach and bush is pretty well unbeatable!
If this option interests you, then Kenya is usually a more affordable safari destination than Tanzania.

 

#7 6-25-2017 9:47 AM

shalatiko
London, England
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Posts: 2

Re: Zanzibar in september/october

wow!!! thank you very much for your very detailed response!!

 

#8 6-25-2017 10:23 AM

harbinger
Cathy
Brussels, Belgium
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Re: Zanzibar in september/october

You're welcome!  As you gather, I'm quite enthusiastic about the region, so let me know if you'd like any more information.  Enjoy planning the honeymoon - a welcome antidote to devising seating plans wink

 
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