Book Flights to Makunduchi

Makunduchi, Zanzibar

Makunduchi is a small town in the south-eastern part of Unguja with a deep sense of culture and history. The surrounding area houses a colonial lighthouse, coral caves, and ancient shrines. It has the largest baobab tree you can find on the island.

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Main Attractions

Mwaka Koga

The Mwaka Koga or Mwaka Kogwa is the show of the year that takes place in July or August to welcome the Persian Year. The event is a ritual battle that sees huts burnt and predictions for the New Year are made based on the smoke. It’s an amazing cultural event you must not miss when you visit Makunduchi.

Paradise Island

Located right in the centre of the Indian Ocean, about 30 minutes boat ride from Makunduchi, Paradise Island features a glistering powdery atoll where you can swim and relax, and maybe swim among the tropical fishes on the reef along the way.

Mnemba Atoll

Mnemba Atoll is well-known for its extraordinary coastal surrounding and its coral reef, which features a wide range of marine species such as whale sharks, clownfishes, green turtles, bottlenose dolphins, lionfishes, and colourful corals. It’s a great spot for diving and snorkelling. It’s located just 45minutes by boat from Makunduchi town.

Prison Island

Located several kilometres from Makunduchi town, the Prison Island is home to the centenary Aldabra tortoises donated to the Sultan of Zanzibar by the British governor of Seychelles. You can also visit the ancient prisons of slaves on the island. After, you can visit the nearby sandy beach surrounded by glistering waters for some snorkelling and swimming activities.

How to get here

  • Fly: You can fly to Zanzibar Airport (ZNZ) from several destinations in East Africa and across the world. The major international airport in Tanzania, Dar es Salaam has direct flights to Zanzibar.
  • Drive: You can drive from Zanzibar Airport (ZNZ) to Makunduchi and the trip takes about 75 minutes.

Best Time to Visit

Tourists can visit Makunduchi between December – February, and dry spring months between June and October.

  • High Season: June – October
  • Low Season: March-May
  • Best weather: June 4th to October 28th
  • Worst weather: mid-March to late May, November

Unique Experiences

  • Throughout the year:  Throughout the year, tourists can enjoy the serenity of the coastal area and swim in some of the beaches on the island.
  • Season Dependant:  You can indulge in a variety of water activities between July and August.

Popular Activities

  • Mwaka Koga held in July/August.
  • A Quad Bike Ride: The old Makunduchi is where you will find the fishermen while the new Makunduchi is a modern town built with the help of East German funds. With a quad bike, you can visit any of these places.
  • Snorkelling
  • Scuba Diving
  • Sailing
  • Swimming

For more fun in Zanzibar, we suggest you search and compare tours we have available on the Island.

Overview
  • Time zone: UTC / GMT +3
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TSh, often written as =/)
  • Driving: left-hand side of the road
  • Power Outlets: 220V-240V 50Hz. Plug types are ‘Type D & G (British)’
  • Closest (air)ports: Zanzibar International Airport (ZNZ), 6 km from Stone Town, full name Abeid Amani Karume International Airport and the ferry terminal for the ferries from Dar es Salaam and to Pemba.
  • WIFI and internet widely available but do not expect uninterrupted service.
  • Many banks, ATMs and Foreign Exchange offices.
Best time to visit

Zanzibar has a tropical climate and can be visited year-round. But for a sunny experience, it is best to avoid the rainy seasons from mid-March to the end of May and  then the ‘short rains’ November.

If you visit Zanzibar specifically for diving, it is good to know the diving on the north coast is excellent from June to October, and the south coast is best between November and March.

Sights and sounds

The archipelago has changed hands many times over the centuries and the history of the islands and the town is imprinted upon the people and the place.

The old Stone Town is made up of a warren of twisting narrow streets, lined with curio and antique shops, locally made clothing and souvenirs, and friendly Zanzibaris offering tasty treats and refreshing fruit juices or ice-creams.

The House of Wonders and the Old Fort offer a glimpse into Stone Town’s past. The well maintained Forodhani Gardens along the seafront offer a lovely spot to relax and watch the people, the waves, and the boats. At night the gardens host hundreds of locals and tourists eating, socialising and enjoying the balmy outdoors

There is so much to see and do, more than you could wish for.

Wander the picturesque lanes of Stone Town and feel its history; shop for souvenirs, beautiful local clothing, antiques, and treasures. Visit the spice and fresh produce market, as well as the seafood market. Marvel at the architecture. Enrich your knowledge of the local history with a visit to the Slave Market. Ask yourself ‘what lies behind the most beautiful doors, ornately carved with brass knockers and décor?’ Each door a sign of social standing.

Learn how to dive, or take in the underwater world snorkelling in the magnificent marine parks. Or fancy a romantic sunset cruise on a traditional dhow?

Take in sunset drinks on a rooftop whilst listening to the calls to prayer as evening settles in.

Search for the endangered Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey on your way to the spice plantations.

Feast on local foods, and taste the influences of Zanzibar’s history.

And don’t forget to soak up the African sun.

Dining and Dietary Considerations

Zanzibar’s cultural influences are reflected in the myriad choices open to you. Middle Eastern traders, migrants from India, Portuguese invaders and of course the Eastern African. A right melting pot of flavours, tastes, and aromas presented by craftspeople using the fabulous and fresh local ingredients from the sea, land and aromatically seasoned from locally grown spices.

Expect seafood as you’ve never experienced, fruits and vegetables new to the palate.

From fine dining restaurants to local cafes, you can find something for all pockets. Don’t miss the food stalls in Forodhani Gardens along the seafront where you can sample the best street food Zanzibar has to offer. They pop up every evening so you can try the freshly caught seafood and other delicacies prepared on demand, grab a pancake dessert, and wash it all down with a freshly squeezed sugar cane juice for an excellent Zanzibari experience.

Religious and Cultural considerations

Over 95% of Zanzibaris practice the Islamic faith with Hindu and Christian in the minority.

Whilst not extreme at all, there are cultural do’s and don’ts:

  • Shoes should always be removed when entering a home and place of worship
  • Dress modestly in public. Bikini is fine when at your beach resort, but dress modestly when visiting for example Stone Town
  • Topless sunbathing is illegal

In some public places, the consumption of alcohol is not allowed.

When photographing people, always ask permission first and agree on payment if required. As a general rule, ask.

Cost of Living

Zanzibar is an in-demand destination with facilities for all wallets. This is true for accommodation, transport, food and excursions.

This is what you can expect to pay in Tanzania for:

  • Domestic beer (0.5-litre bottle) in a supermarket – 2,552TSh
  • Imported beer in a supermarket (0.33-litre bottle) – 3,833TSh
  • Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) – 3,313Tsh
  • A bottle of coca cola / pepsi (0.33-litre bottle) – 1305TSh
  • A small bottle of water (0.33-litre bottle) – 857TSh

Bargaining is expected. Local traders and service providers often have 2 prices: one for locals and the other for visitors.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The last Omani Sultans left in 1963 and Zanzibar only then joined with mainland Tanganyika to form Tanzania.
  • Of all the ghosts and demons, fable has it that Popo Bawa is the most fearful. Look out!

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