Extraordinary Journeys

Short Zanzibar Excursions

Unguja Ukuu

is a peninsular of land to the south-west of Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania. The are is best known as an archaeological site, this being the location of a major Swahili settlement, pre-dating the modern Stonetown. The presence of both these ruins and a modest naval base has precluded the development of any significant lodges to date.

unguja ukuu - zanzibar The majority of visitors stay in other parts of the island such as Bwejuu, Paje or Matemwe or on the islands of Pemba, Mafia or Fanjove. These coastal areas are most commonly combined with Tanzania safari options such as Serengeti safari, Ngorongoro safari, Ruaha safari and Selous safari, as well as Kilimanjaro treks, usually in trips of 10 to 21 nights.

The village of Unguja Ukuu is located in the South of Zanzibar on the Menai Bay. It's a place that's rarely visited by tourists and where the local people are warm and friendly. Most of their income comes from subsistence farming or fishing. There are many forests and paths where you can wander, a few quiet beaches and a small fish market. The primary and secondary schools are located on the main road, a few miles from the village and the beach.

Mafia Island

is a substantial tropical landmass, covering 435 square kilometres and lying 25km off the coast of mainland Tanzania, 100km to the south of Dar es Salaam and 150km to the south of Zanzibar Island.

mafia island - zanzibar Mafia is a very beautiful island with a very relaxed Swahili Coast atmosphere, superb diving and an interesting choice of small lodges. It also happens to be one of the best locations in the world for swimming with whale sharks.

The main potential downsides are that the beaches are not the greatest, the lodges are all quite outdoorsy and transport connections can be a little more complicated than those to Zanzibar Island, especially if you are connecting with the great safari areas to the north.

Pemba Island

is a very beautiful tropical landmass, covering 988 square kilometres and lying 60km off the Indian Ocean Coast of Tanzania, 40km to the north of Zanzibar Island and 150km north of Dar es Salaam.

pemba island - zanzibar Pemba is a fabulously beautiful and remarkably untouched paradise which experiences a tiny fraction of the visitor traffic of neighbouring Zanzibar Island. It is renowned for its verdant hilly interiors, remote beaches and offshore islands. It also offers some of the finest diving in the Indian Ocean.

The main potential downsides are that there is a real shortage of decent accommodation options on the island and it does take a little bit more effort and cost to get here.


is a section coastline to the north-east of Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania. This part of the island features an absolutely stunning coral lagoon, with mile upon mile of broad white-sand palm-backed beaches. Amongst the palm trees at the back of the beach lie traditional fishing villages, where the interesting local culture can still be observed. One of the highlights of a visit is to watch the daily comings and goings of the local fishing fleet.

matemwe beach - zanzibar Around 2km offshore, just beyond the main reef, lies the world-famous Mnemba Atoll, surrounded by pristine and very accessible coral reefs. Tourist development in the area is relatively light, there are no large resorts and no coastal highway, all of which serves to make the place feel a little bit more of a backwater than much of this East Coast.

In terms of activities, the area has probably the best diving and snorkelling on the island, plus some excellent kite-surfing, sailing and reef-walking. It is a little too distant for day-trips to Stonetown or the Jozani Forest. There is virtually no night-life here.


Paje is a paradise for kite surfers. A long sand beach, shallow waters and wind at almost any day of the year – this is a perfect spot for kite surfing! Top it up with wide selection of hotels of different price ranges and great diving opportunities.

paje - kite surfing But no need to be a kite surfer to fully enjoy the east coast of Zanzibar. There are plenty of things to do in and around Paje. It’s a great base when you want to explore the island and nearby waters. Kizimkazi, village known for dolphins living near by, is just a short drive away. Jambiani village is a walking distance away, Jozani Forest on the way when you drive to Paje, and historical caves all around.

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