Unguja is the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago and the largest of the three islands, including Mafia and Pemba, often called 'The Spice Islands.' Home to around 1.3 million people the islands main industry are spices, raffia and tourism. Visiting the island will not only mean relaxing on its beautiful beaches, but also it is well worth visiting the spice plantations, the Jozani Forest (home to the endemic Red Colobus Monkey, one of Africa's rarest primates with only around 1,500 left), and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the capital Stone Town.
A Zanzibar holiday will mean beautiful beaches, white sand and palm trees. The sea is ideal for swimming when the tide is right and there are great reefs for snorkelling and diving, especially around the Mnemba Atoll in the North-East and Menai Bay area in the South-West. With so many hotels popping up on the island over the last 10-15 years, we only recommend accommodation we know deliver in terms of experience and service.
In the North, traditionally busier with more resorts and larger hotels, you do need to be careful on where you pick and we only recommend Essque Zalu, Kilindi and then slightly further down the North-East coast Matemwe Lodge, Matemwe Retreat and Matemwe House, and of course the top island retreat of Mnemba.
Then further south, in the South-West area, which is much more remote, with smaller beaches and coves, and with a laid-back feel, we recommend The Residence.
When on Zanzibar we do feel a night or two in Stone Town is well worth considering. With its rich culture, a mixture of African and Arabic, its narrow alleys, colourful and varied shops, fascinating spice and slaving history and vibrant atmosphere, it would be a shame to miss out on visiting the capital. We recommend Zanzibar Serena Inn and Zanzibar Palace here.