Unguja Island in Tanzania is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Also known as Zanzibar island and located off the coast of Tanzania, Unguja’s 643 sq. mile island is known for its white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical vegetation in the Zanzibar archipelago.
Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities such as swimming, snorkelling, diving, fishing and kayaking. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars serving up local cuisine and refreshing cocktails.
Unguja Island is the perfect destination for those looking to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The best time to visit Unguja Island is during the dry season, which lasts from June to October.
Why visit Unguja Island
Also known as Spice Island, Unguja is rich and cultured, full of historical sites dating back to its slave trade past and experiences, guests can get lost in its ancient ruins and vibrant markets.
Some of the top reasons to visit Unguja include the world-famous beaches, a popular leisure activity with Zanzibar honeymooners. Unguja is home to some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in the world, including Zanzibar’s Prison Island.
Visitors will also be amazed by the stunning landscapes from rolling hills to pristine coral reefs, offering something for everyone who loves nature.
Although visitors won’t find the big 5 on Unguja, they will find the island has its own unique ecology. The coral reefs and mangrove forests are home to whales, dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays, colobus monkeys, dik-diks, Mozambique cobras, and Pemba flying foxes.
Zanzibar is home to the red colobus monkey, the Zanzibar servaline genet, and the Zanzibar leopard. The red colobus monkey is an endangered species, and its population is still decreasing.
These amazing primates can usually be found in the Jozani Forest, unlike another of Zanzibar’s critically endangered animals – the Zanzibar leopard.
It is unclear whether there are any Zanzibar leopards left on the island, and experts have previously stated that they are extinct, but potential sightings in recent years have renewed hope that the population is surviving.
Another rare animal that resides in Unguja is the Zanzibar servaline genet. These cat-like animals were first discovered in the 1990s, and first photographed in 2003. The genet is distinct in appearance, with black spots on tan-coloured fur and its long tails are ringed with black and light-coloured bands.
There are no lions, elephants, or giraffes in Zanzibar. Whilst these animals can be seen on safari in mainland Tanzania, the beauty of Zanzibar’s wildlife can mostly be found in the water, with some beautiful coral and amazing snorkelling opportunities.
Some of the more interesting creatures that can be seen here include dolphins, manta rays, sharks, and sea turtles. Unguja is also a great place to see coral reefs in all their glory; the healthy coral reef systems make for some of the best diving in Africa.
Guests looking for an idyllic tropical paradise to relax and enjoy some unforgettable scuba diving experiences will be in their element here amongst the crystal clear sea levels.
Birds can be found all over the island of Zanzibar. There are a variety of different species, including parrots, hornbills, and kingfishers. The best time to see the birds is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when they are most active.
Some of the more common birds that can be seen on Zanzibar include the red-headed barbet, African gray parrot, blue-tailed bee-eater, and white-throated robin. The vibrant colors and interesting shapes of these birds make them a popular tourist attraction.
Visitors often enjoy bird watching tours where they can learn about the different species and their habits.
Stone Town is the historical town in Zanzibar city. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s full of old buildings, markets, and mosques. There are also lots of souvenir shops where you can buy traditional Zanzibari items like spices, carpets, and clothes.
Another popular town on Zanzibar is Nungwi. It’s a great place for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. There are also many excellent restaurants serving seafood dishes fresh from the Indian Ocean.
Visitors looking for a more rural setting can consider checking out Pemba Island. It’s home to some beautiful villages with traditional houses made from coral stone.