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A Spiced-up Family Vacation to Zanzibar

by Kym Wyatt

Searching for a family-friendly holiday with fun activities, culture and warm, inviting people? Look no further than Zanzibar—The Spice Island.

This Indian Ocean paradise, located on the east coast of Africa is a direct flight with Qatar Airways and offers loads of activities for the whole family.

Whether you’re wanting a relaxing holiday by stunning beaches or crave historical sightseeing, Zanzibar blends an exotic mix of Swahili, Omani, Indian and European culture with mild weather for all around island perfection.

Water activities

With stunning beaches of fine white sand and turquoise water, Zanzibar offers loads of water-based activities for both kids and parents. There’s a variety of options ranging from swimming, snorkelling, paragliding, fishing, sailing, scuba diving and more. Many hotels will organise day trips with registered tour operators and offer guides for sailing and fishing trips—check with your hotel for details. One top tip—be careful to look for sea urchins in shallow water. These spiky critters can cause painful wounds.


The main city, Stone Town, is just a 15-minute drive from Zanzibar International Airport and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you’ll find the main cultural attractions such as old forts, the famous spice market (Zanzibar is a major spice producer), incredible architecture and shopping. Stone Town’s small alley ways are perfect for walking and exploring—ideal for a day out and a slice of Zanzibar’s exotic history and culture.


Zanzibar offers a range of accommodation types throughout the island—from island-style and budget-friendly to luxurious and chic. Most hotels have swimming pools and poolside dining for chilling out if you don’t want to leave your island sanctuary.

Island style

Located in the North Eastern part of Zanzibar, Anzanzi Beach Hotel may be a 45-minute drive from the airport, but this island-style hotel is worth the trek. Driving through town, you’ll be greeted by Masai warriors and taken through the lush tropical setting of the hotel. Set on a stunning beach, there are loads to do including boat tours and trips to the butterfly sanctuary and Jozani Forest. Or, you could just unwind in a hammock on the beach.


The Park Hyatt Zanzibar is the first five-star hotel on the island. Slap bang on the beach of Stone Town and with easy walking distance to local points of interest, this is the perfect blend of hospitality, location and sophistication. An infinity pool overlooking the beach is a real showstopper. The hotel also offers toys, chairs and other amenities for babies and young children, including babysitting services.


Food can be a stressful issue for some families especially if they have a picky eater. Fortunately, Zanzibar is foodie heaven and offers an exotic mix of local Swahili cuisine with Middle Eastern, Indian and European delights. From shawarma, chicken biryani and kid-friendly burgers, sandwiches and pasta—Zanzibar has a lot on offer. Seafood is a local delicacy and caught daily. For fresh, healthy snacks, don’t miss the wonderful selection of tropical fruits, and be sure to buy the whole fruit instead of pre-sliced fruit from street stalls.

What to bring

Don’t forget sunscreen. Make sure to take your favourite amenities as although there are shopping options in Zanzibar, it may be difficult to find your preferred products. Baby changing areas are difficult to find, so a portable changing mat will come in handy. Child car seats are generally not available so bring a travel version or check with your hotel to arrange for one. The best range of baby items, toiletries and medicines are found in Stone Town.

Getting there

Zanzibar is a great choice for family-friendly flying with only one hour time difference and a direct flight. Check the Qatar Airways website for flight, visa and passport information, qatarairways.com.