Zanzibar

  • What Vaccinations Do I Need to Travel to Africa?

    Chris
    September 27, 2022
    What vaccines do you need ahead of your safari adventure? We highlight the vaccines and medications you should look into ahead of your trip to Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, or Tanzania.
  • Best Lodges in Zanzibar - Top 5!

    Vika
    August 31, 2022

    Zanzibar is one of those special exotic places that has everything you could want in a luxury getaway. It is world-famous as a tropical island paradise, and people come from all over to witness its natural beauty and unwind with the fresh Indian Ocean breeze blowing through their hair.

    Even though the Zanzibar archipelago of Tanzania is fairly small, there is an impressive range of breathtaking accommodations to choose from when you visit. They are nestled in all of the most beautiful corners of these islands.

    Shadows Of Africa has welcomed many travelers to our beloved Zanzibar from all over the world. We know this part of the world very well, and we can help you find the perfect accommodation for your visit.

    Here are our 5 favorite lodges in Zanzibar to make the decision easier for you!

    № 1. The Nest

    Probably the best place to unwind in Zanzibar - in fact, “unwind” would be putting it mildly - the Nest is a truly luxurious place to nourish the soul and body.

    The Nest was built in harmony with the surrounding nature around the concept of happiness, with ocean-facing accommodation and co-working space. The resort features plenty of activities to engage yourself with during your stay: sports, arts, yoga, meditation, kite surfing - all amongst unbelievable natural wonders.




    № 2. Emerson Spice Hotel (Stone Town)

    A historic building in the heart of Zanzibar’s historic Stone Town, the Emerson Spice Hotel is steeped in history - and fully celebrates it. Every room is unique and has its own unique story to tell - including the kitchen, which offers local gourmet cuisine prepared by Zanzibari chefs.

    Exotic, stylish, and atmospheric: a mix of mystery and history makes this hotel a truly special place to stay when you visit Zanzibar.



    № 3. The Island Pongwe

    A visit to Pongwe, a serene private island resort, is an unforgettably romantic experience. This is an exclusive piece of paradise for those open to an “unconventional detox journey” between the lush green of the island’s nature and the brilliant blue of the Indian Ocean.

    The ambience here makes every moment on the island something special. This experience is equaled in the resort’s sophisticated restaurant, featuring a perfect balance of fresh local flavors with a gourmet touch. For these reasons and more, a visit to Pongwe and its restaurant is a must for travelers coming to the Zanzibar archipelago.




    № 4. andBeyond (Mnemba Island)

    A barefoot private island paradise, andBeyond’s Mnemba Island is the perfect romantic hideaway to indulge in the full luxury of Zanzibar’s tropical nature. The simple pleasures on Mnemba become your most cherished memories for years to come.

    The Mnemba atoll is the perfect backdrop to the many relaxing and reinvigorating activities available on the island’s beaches. The size of this tiny intimate island makes it possible to spend your days however you wish - whether that be snorkeling just off the beach, getting a massage while breathing in the crisp ocean air, or enjoying the sunset with a glass of champagne - all of this is possible in just one day on Mnemba.




    № 5. Tulia

    Tulia is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly resorts in Zanzibar. Offering many activities to fully indulge in the beauty of Zanzibar, this beachside resort exists in perfect harmony with the island around it - both the nature and the local communities.

    Its gourmet restaurant is stocked from its own organic produce garden, and its food is prepared by some of Tanzania’s best chefs. Tulia fully celebrates the nature of Zanzibar with its tropical garden, and actively supports local communities with a number of practical initiatives. The harmony is here tangible, and you can feel it when you stay at Tulia, at one with everything around you.






    Each of these Zanzibari lodges offers a unique but equally luxurious island experience. We are sure that when you stay at one of them you will agree with our expert reviews!

    Thinking of visiting other parts of Tanzania as well? Check out the country’s 5 coolest lodges on the mainland here.

    Still undecided? Get in touch and we will find the right lodge for you!

  • Plastic-free safari

    Vika
    April 19, 2022

    It has long been a thorn in the side of travel agencies like us to send out safari vehicles packed with single-use plastics.

    Our Tanzania team has already found and implemented a solution: we have now installed refillable water canisters in our safari vehicles.

    We designed custom brackets to fit the reusable canisters in the back of our safari cars, so everyone out on the trail with us has constant access to drinking water, without any unnecessary plastic footprint.

    We ask all of our travelers to bring their own reusable water bottles. Alternatively, they will have the opportunity to borrow or buy one for their safari.

    ♻️ Reduce your carbon footprint with us ♻️

    So when you’re preparing for your next safari with us, don’t forget to pack your own reusable drink bottle . You can refill your bottles on our safari vehicles.

    We can also provide you with a bottle for your trip. All you need to do is email us in advance and we will bring one for you. We appreciate you returning this at the end of the safari - we would like to recycle and minimize our waste as much as possible.

    East Africa is a world-leading region on minimizing waste and banning single-use plastics. Travelers are not allowed to bring plastic bags when traveling to Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda or Zanzibar.

    People here realize the harm that single-use plastics can cause, so we expect everyone visiting to keep this in mind as well. Help us create a plastic-free Africa.

    Our Shadows team is always striving to minimize our impact on the natural environment that we are lucky enough to call our home. We want to do everything possible to make sure our visitors can have a plastic-free safari too.

  • See the Serengeti from a balloon!

    Vika
    March 28, 2022

    Witness Tanzania’s breathtaking landscapes from the sky

    If you ask the average person the best way to enjoy a safari, the idea of flying over the wilderness in a balloon may not come up.

    But, if you ask us, we will definitely tell you all about the wonderful and unique experience of taking a safari from the air!

    See the natural wonders of the Serengeti or Tarangire with all the serenity and all the romance that a luxurious hot-air balloon offers. A balloon safari is truly an unforgettable experience.

    Take a balloon ride in the African skies!


    As you cross the plains at a comfortable altitude of 1000 feet, the landscapes will amaze you. This perspective also offers a unique view of the Great Migration in progress.

    We can arrange a balloon safari on your trips to Tarangire, Serengeti, Maasai Mara, and Ruaha; four of the most beautiful natural places anywhere on the planet.


    Rise from your bed and rise to the sky - the best time of day for a balloon safari is first thing in the morning. The rising sun illuminates a fantastic horizon, which you are able to see in full panorama from your balloon.

    Watch the sun peek up over the horizon to greet all the wildlife down below. You will be able to see cheetahs, lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, hippos, hyenas, vultures, eagles, wildebeest, zebras, baboons, warthogs, monkeys, giraffes, and more - all right as they wake up and start their day!

    If you thought this journey could not be more romantic, you will be pleasantly surprised upon touching down in the wilderness with a delicious champagne breakfast waiting for you. In our humble opinion, a luxurious meal surrounded by acacia trees and grassy plains in a peaceful corner of Africa is one of the best ways to start your day!

    Nothing can quite compare to the experience of flying over Tanzania’s open plains at sunrise.

    Find out more and get in touch to arrange a sky safari today!

  • Safari on Zanzibar - Visit Jozani Forest and Saadani National Park

    Vika
    December 22, 2021

    Safari on Zanzibar - Visit Jozani Forest

    Zanzibar Island is home to a great nature spot, so you don't need to travel to the African mainland to find your East-African safari experience.
    Book your Jozani Forest tour on Zanzibar Island!

    Jozani Forest, even though quite small (only 50 square kilometres), is still teeming with all forms of life and nature. It may not offer the same experience as a safari tour in the Serengeti or Saadani just across the water, but you are still able to witness the nature and wildlife of Tanzania in the only remaining natural forest on Zanzibar Island.

    Jozani boasts sky-high trees, some over 100 years old, including palms and pandanus, a special mangrove habitat, and even a natural pharmacy…

    The forest is an amazing source of natural remedies. Basically every plant and tree has a medicinal use, and you can find cures for almost everything. Your experienced tour guide will tell you all about the vegetation and their surprising uses. You will find out all about their historical usage in the local Zanzibar culture and beyond.

    Safari on Zanzibar - Visit Jozani Forest

    The wildlife in the forest is equally as interesting and diverse. On your island safari, you can find:

    • the red colobus monkey - famous in the area for their beauty and unique behaviour, but they are threatened across the continent and are very rare, even in Jozani, one of their last remaining sanctuaries in Africa,
    • Zanzibar Sykes’ monkey - endemic to the island, but even rarer (a good challenge to spot one!),
    • antelopes - including two endemic species, the duiker and sunni,
    • blue monkeys,
    • chameleons,
    • mongoose,
    • tree hyraxes,
    • bush pigs,
    • civets, and
    • 40 different species of birds and 50 different species of butterflies.

    Jozani Forest is a great opportunity for safari lovers. As you can see, there are many unique and extraordinary things to be found here even in this small area, so you will still need good walking shoes!

    Shadows Of Africa welcomes you on a tour of this amazing natural wonderland. This is the only nature experience available on Zanzibar Island itself. It is perfect for those who want a magical and relaxing adventure without making the trip to the Tanzanian mainland; to combine their tropical island getaway with a real safari experience.

    Jozani Forest

    The central location on the island means that Jozani is accessible for a day tour from wherever you are staying. It is perfect to combine your refreshing forest trip with a Zanzibar spice tour or a visit to historic Stonetown.

    Book your tour today!

    Saadani day trip from Zanzibar

    For those with more time willing to travel a little bit further for their safari fix, Saadani National Park on the Tanzanian mainland is just across the water from Zanzibar Island.

    The beach meets the bush at Saadani where you can see even more of Tanzania’s diverse wildlife, including giraffes, elephants, wildebeest, baboons, hippos, crocodiles, turtles, and much, much more. Saadani on the mainland is much larger than Jozani and offers a more classical idea of a safari experience in an easy trip from Zanzibar, but both places are special and unique in their own ways and both are absolutely worth visiting!

    You can safari in Saadani on a day trip with a short boat ride or an even shorter flight from Zanzibar.

    Wherever you choose to visit, staying on an island doesn’t mean you need to miss out on your African safari experience. Get in touch and you will be enjoying your ideal African adventure in no time!

  • Swim with Whale Sharks on Mafia Island

    Vika
    December 22, 2021

    The waters around Mafia Island are infested with whale sharks.

    That may sound dangerous, but whale sharks are shy, gentle, and, above all, magnificent creatures. They may be the same size as a bus, but humans are able to swim freely with them, and Zanzibar’s gorgeous tropical Mafia Island is the best place to do just that.

    whale shark

    NOW is the time

    You can see whale sharks around Mafia Island from October to February every year, which is the longest whale shark watching season on offer anywhere in the world.

    November and December are the best months for swimming with whale sharks, when they are most common in these waters. This also happens to be the best season for humpback whale sightings. So start packing and get ready for some swimming!

    In the water

    It is important to treat whale sharks with respect and give them their space. Even though they have no real teeth, it is important to be safe and sensible when you’re in the water with these massive animals.

    If you are calm and respectful they may even shake off their shyness and come up to inspect you. Their curiosity will come out if they feel safe around you!

    With safety in mind, swimming with whale sharks can be one of the most thrilling adventures of your life. Dive among a flock of whale sharks and bring home breathtaking photos and memories that will last forever!

    It is an unbeatable experience: swimming in Mafia Island’s gorgeous clear-blue waters and making friends with giant whale sharks. What more reason do you need to visit this tropical paradise?

    whale shark with yellow pilot fish and snorkeler

    Mafia Island

    Most travellers head straight for Zanzibar’s main island, Unguja (also known as Zanzibar Island), but the smaller and quieter Mafia Island, just to the south, offers so much for every traveller.

    Even if swimming with enormous fish is not your thing, it is a serene holiday getaway with pristine diving and snorkelling conditions. The island is lately even gaining popularity as a honeymoon destination.

    Mafia Island and its friendly whale sharks are waiting for you. We look forward to introducing you! Get in touch to plan your adventure today, before the season ends!

  • Latest Covid Entry Requirements Zanzibar

    Vika
    August 4, 2021

    Last update: March 2022

    Looking for the LATEST COVID ENTRY REQUIREMENTS to Zanzibar? Shadows of Africa has got you covered. With our team living on the ground, we are always aware of the LATEST COVID ENTRY REQUIREMENTS. For a quick overview, see below. Our safari experts are ready to give you tailored advice.

    Latest Covid entry requirement summary:

    • Vaccinated travellers no longer need a PCR Test. Travellers will be required to present a valid vaccination certificate with a QR code for verification upon arrival. The only accepted vaccines are those that have been approved by the URT and the World Health Organization.
    • Passengers not fully vaccinated, unvaccinated, and those not eligible for vaccination due to their country’s policy will be required to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR or NAATs certificate with QR code obtained within 72 hours before departure
    • An online health form needs to be filled out by the traveller before travelling via this link: https://afyamsafiri.moh.go.tz/

    The Tanzanian & Zanzibari government is taking the safety and health of our travellers seriouslyand has implemented regulations that will help make it possible for everyone to enjoy a safe safari. Tanzania has been lucky enough to be a safe destination to visit and these new measures will ensure it will continue to be so.

    If you want to plan a safe and responsible trip to Zanzibar - don’t hesitate to contact us to start planning & dreaming.

  • Saadani - Perfect for a short safari from Zanizbar

    Vika
    July 1, 2021

    The only place in east Africa, where the beach literally meets the bush is Saadani national park in Tanzania. You can have an early morning swim, go for a game drive after breakfast, and sip on a cocktail while observing the fishermen preparing for the night out on the sea. A fantastic blend of leisure, pleasure, and action!

    Short safari from zanzibar saadani

    While relaxing on the beach don’t act surprised, when animals come for a drink in the nearby waterhole. Or when they just stroll past your towels, checking your reaction carefully with the corner of the eye.

    Visiting Saadani is also a great way to combine your Zanzibari vacation with a thrill of a real safari. Give it a day and have a lifetime memory! Departing from Kendwa daily early in the morning, a two hours long boat ride will bring you to the shores of the Saadani national park. Daily flights from Zanzibar are also available. A fantastic day in the bush, supported by a picnic lunch somewhere in the middle of nowhere and finished with an invigorating swim in the ocean - certainly something to consider!

    saadani national park

    What to expect on your short safari in Saadani?

    A 1.100 km² of grassland, mainly plains, in-between acacia thickets, semi-arid land. Beautiful palm-fringed beaches continue through mangroves that form a kind of border into the wilderness.
    Usually, you can expect to see giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, reedbucks, waterbucks, hartebeest, wildebeest, vervet monkeys, yellow baboons, red duikers, the endangered Roosevelt’s sable, many different bird species, and much more. For example, green turtles, since this is their major breeding site in Tanzania. Or hippos and crocodiles, especially if you opt for a boat trip on the river Wami.

    safari from zanzibar saadani national park

    When to visit Saadani National Park?

    A visit is always a good idea, except perhaps in April and May, when the weather is really wet - this is the peak season for the rain. But immediately after, in June, July, and August, when there is still much water in the hollows on the plains and the animals linger around, the sights are amazing. Just as beautiful in January or February. Visiting from September to December won’t leave you short of experiences, spotting animals will just need a little more effort from your guides.

    saadani national park

    Expert tip for your short safari from Zanzibar

    Saadani National park offers an insight into different habitats and therefore puts a variety of wildlife on display. Avoid the heavy rainy months of April and May, the rest of the year is great for visiting . Combine it with beach holidays, either on definitely underrated Tanzania’s mainland coast or on the famous Zanzibar.

    Safari saadani national park

    giraffe in saadani national park

  • What camera to bring on safari

    Giulia
    March 30, 2021

    If you are wondering what camera gear to pack for your safari experience, look no further! Here is the comprehensive list of all the camera equipment and accessories you will need for your safari.

    This photography gear list is brought to you by our resident photographer Giulia Cimarosti, safari specialist at Shadows of Africa and professional photographer. Guilia also leads groups on our special photographic safaris in Tanzania.
    Generally speaking, depending on the device you use you can expect different results. Let’s go through some options:

    Mobile Photography on Safari

    You don’t have to own super pricey, professional equipment, however, it’s quite safe to say that using a mobile phone to take photos during your safari won’t make good close-up images of the wildlife possible, no matter the phone’s model or quality.

    Mobile phones tend to have very poor zooming capabilities, however, they can be great for African sunsets, photographing a herd in the landscape, and of course to take the occasional short video for social media, when a curious cheetah decides to climb on the vehicle!

    Keep in mind though that during your safari you won’t always get very close to the animals, so the best way to frame the subject is to use a zoom-telephoto lens on an actual camera.

    Cameras and Lenses on Safari

    If you want to take really good photos on your safari, make sure you bring your DSLR camera! A digital single-lens reflex camera will allow you to use manual settings, adapting them to the lighting situation, the distance to the subject and the effects you want to achieve.

    Now you may be wondering what camera body is the best one, but the answer is not an easy one. There are cameras of all formats and brands, but they all have one thing in common: manual settings!

    The thing you need to concentrate on when thinking about the right photography gear for safari photography is what lens - or better, lenses - to bring.

    Zoom lenses

    The must-have kind of lens for safari photography is zoom or telephoto. This is the kind of lens that allows you to zoom into the subject, making it appear closer. There are countless zoom lenses on the market, but make sure your telephoto lens has a focal length of at least 200 mm.

    • Budget
      28-300 mm or 70-300 mm lenses are good budget options for beginners.
    • Medium
      A 150-600 mm lens will allow you to shoot almost anything in daylight, taking your photography to the next level with a reasonable investment.
    • Pro
      A 70-200 mm f/2,8 prime lens, although the focal length is not extreme, is an excellent lens that will not disappoint.
      There are other lenses such as 400 mm f/4 or even f/2,8 prime lenses which are top choices but at an extremely high price tag.

    If there is a lens worth an investment when planning to go on a photographic safari, it has to be the zoom!

    Medium and Wide Angle Lenses

    Although zoom lenses are the first ones that come to mind when thinking about safari photography, a wide-angle lens also goes a long way when it comes to shooting the animals in their habitat, dramatic African skies and sunsets, and large herds moving during the Great Migration. Make sure you pack a wide to medium lens too!

    • Budget
      The 18-55 mm “kit lens” that comes with most camera kits works perfectly for this kind of photo. As a budget option, any kit lens works perfectly, actually!

      Lenses in the 10-24 mm range are much wider - another good option that will allow you to take creative photographs during your safari.

    • Medium
      A 15-30 mm f/2,8 wide lens is a high-quality choice for the landscape.
    • Pro
      The 24-70 mm f/2,8 is a “classic”, very sharp lens that never disappoints, allowing you to shoot landscapes (or good quality files to stitch in panoramas later on) and zoom into the subject too.

    Bear in mind that a good wide-angle lens also allows you to take wonderful nocturnal photos of the clear skies of the savannah.

    Other accessories

    Now that you know what to use to shoot your safari photographs, let’s think about the accessories you shouldn’t forget:

    • Spare batteries. Although all our vehicles have charging stations to recharge your batteries during the game drives, having one or two extra batteries is always a good idea to keep shooting without a single worry!
    • Memory cards. Believe it or not, I can guarantee you will find yourself shooting dozens and dozens of photos of the same animal or scene. It’s easy when you have lions posing for you, or a hunting scene taking place. So pack extra memory cards!
    • Battery charger. There are regular battery chargers and also double battery chargers that work with USB and/or car power outlets. I like these, as you can charge 2 batteries at once.
    • Protection for your camera gear. The savannah is dusty, and dust is the real enemy of cameras and their sensors. Try to keep everything protected from dust except what you are using. Camera bags or pouches/cloths will work great.
    • Cleaning kit. A full kit includes the sensor cleaning kit and tools to remove dust and clean the camera. Try to keep everything clean by gently removing the dust every day after the game drives. Please note: the sensor tends to get dirty with all the dust of the safari, but at the same time cleaning the sensor is a very delicate task so don’t risk it if you are not sure how to do it!

    Are you ready to embark on your photographic safari adventure? Please let us know if you need more suggestions and information about what camera gear to pack for your safari. We look forward to having you travel with us!

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