African Adventures Pt.3 Zanzibar – Wildlife and Sightseeing

Zanzibar – wildlife and sightseeing was next on our itinerary. Zanzibar island, situated approximately 25 km off the mainland coast of Africa is home to the red colobus monkey as well a thriving spice trade and the world heritage site of Stone Town. Lady Lynne and I were lucky enough to visit here in December as part of our continuing trip of a lifetime.

Zanzibar Wildlife and Sightseeing Red Columbus Monkey Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

Welcome to part 3 of our African adventures – Zanzibar – wildlife and sightseeing. This part of our trip was designed to explore the beautiful island of Zanzibar, where there’s plenty of wildlife to see and a rich history to explore. It was also time to spend some well deserved, quality R&R time by the pool and in the pool bar!

BTW. You might want to check out the previous posts Africa Adventures Pt.1 Glasgow to Uganda and Africa Adventures Pt.2 Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to bring you up to date with where we are before you continue to read below. 🙂

Kampala to Zanzibar flight

So after having arrived in Uganda, only 4 days earlier, it was time to leave this beautiful country and to fly to Zanzibar for a relaxing 10 days of chilling out, seeing the wildlife and sightseeing.

However, leaving was nearly not as easy as we thought it would be.

We forgot you needed to check in for International flights at least 2 hours in advance of their leaving and nearly weren’t allowed into Kampala airport!

“You’re late” an armed airport guard shouted at us on our arrival into the airport at 3.30am. After quizzing us rather intensely for what seemed like ages and after pleading our case (blaming the poor taxi driver) he let us through into departures – just.

Mighty relieved we managed to see ourselves safely in the air at 5.00am and after a smooth transfer at Nairobi airport, Kenya, we were soon on the ground in Zanzibar.

At immigration you need to show official proof of all your inoculations, particularly for yellow fever, by carrying your “yellow card.” I do wonder what happened to the American gentleman who sat behind me in the aircraft who arrived without a yellow card!

Anyway, am I the only one who is paranoid on holiday in ensuring that I tip properly? I expect it’s because it’s not really an expected thing here in the U.K. except in restaurants. So I probably gave too much to the young guy in the airport who held back our luggage shouting “tip, tip” at me and annoyed me intensely.

I soon forgot how annoyed I was. Beautful swathes of countryside passed us by on our taxi ride from the airport to our destination, the Hideaway of Nungwi, resort and spa.

Hideaway of Nungwi Lynne in swimming pool

And we had officially arrived in paradise. Where Lynne gradually settled in. 😉

Hideaway of Nungwi, Zanzibar view of poolside bar

And where was I? Well Neil was mostly found either under a sun umbrella (see the feet 🙂 ) Or at the pool bar (those seats under the covered area) having a long island iced tea or the daily cocktail. Here is where I also found out that two long island iced teas completely flattened me!

As you can imagine much time was spent chilling out in these areas in between planning our day excursions. (It was hard work you see).

Wildlife and sighseeing Zanzibar Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

Day trip number 1, Sunday 13th December was Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park and Prison Island. A day for wildlife and sight seeing.

We picked up our lunch boxes at 7.50 am. Jumped into our waiting taxi and soon after joined the rest of our day trippers in our coach.

Zanzibar sightseeing and wildlife walking in Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park2

Within the park, The Jozani Forest which is located in the central east region of Zanzibar Island is the home of rare red colobus monkey, which is only endemic to Zanzibar.

The forest, which once extended across the whole island, was declared a nature reserve in the 1960’s and there are excellent guided nature trails (you must be accompanied by a guide) within the park. The park has also been extended by planting of extra forest since 1952.

Zanzibar wildlife and sighseeing centipede in Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

The forest is also home to a few unique species including the Sykes monkey, bush babies, duikers, hyraxes, over 50 species of butterfly and 40 species of birds. Plus this centipede!

Zanzibar wildlife and sightseeing Red Columbus Monkey Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

The red colobus monkey, unlike their more widespread and adapted cousins, the black and white colobus, are a rain forest species which are now confined to very small areas of equatorial forest in tropical Africa. It is therefore a rare treat to be able to see them here in Zanzibar.

Fortunately, thanks to conservation efforts the population of the red colobus monkeys has been steadily growing here in Zanzibar. Conservation that relies heavily on tourism to pay the wages of the guides and guards who protect the park. Another reason why we must not stop going to these places, despite the risks in the world today. If we want to help preserve all this for future generations.

Zanzibar wildlife and sightseeing Red Squirrel Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

The red-bellied coast squirrel. It looks tame, but I assure you it was pretty elusive! I got as close as I could to it, to get this shot, before it shot up the tree!

Zanzibar, wildlife and sightseeing Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park Mangrove Forest

South of the forest, the park also accommodates a large mangrove swamp. Here, a boardwalk has been established to protect the fragile and unique ecosystem. The boardwalk was established as a community project and the revenue earned here also helps to fund local development projects.

Zanzibar wildlife and sightseeing Stone Town Harbour1

Before taking our boat to Prison Island we stopped at Mercury’s Restaurant in Stone Town for a well earned beer. Mercury’s restaurant being aptly named in tribute to the late Freddie Mercury, who was born in Zanzibar.

I took a couple of shots of the ancient harbour. The top one looking towards the private island resort of Chapwani.

Zanzibar wildlife and sightseeing Zanzibar Stone Town Harbour2

This picture is looking towards the private island resort of Bawe. The majority of the boats you see here are the only forms of transport to the islands I’ve mentioned, the others are fishing boats.

Zanziba Prison Island Giant Tortoises Sanctuary

Prison Island was once sadly a former holding place for slaves (a whole depressing history I learnt about whilst there). Then a quarantine station for yellow fever cases. Today and much more happily it is a sanctuary to these giant Aldabra tortoises.

The government of Zanzibar built a large compound for the protection and conservation of these animals in the late 1990’s when their population dropped to an alarming 7. Fortunately, now their population has been steadily recovering and we saw plenty of hatchlings.

Zanzibar Prison Island

The door way here shows one of the entrances to the prison compound accessed from the sea.

Zanzibar Snorkeling off Prison Island Zanzibar

One of the options you can do on this day trip is to go snorkeling off Prison Island. All equipment is provided by the tour company for this. This was our boat which left Lady Lynne and myself on Prison Island, taking those who wanted to go and do this activity to where they could safely snorkel.

Zanzibar Prison Island Relaxing Under a Rock

We opted to relax on the beach and just watch the world go by. An option we were glad we choose as the feedback from our day tripper colleagues was the snorkeling wasn’t up to much. Ah well I suppose, each to their own.

Zanzibar Prison Island Boat

As with all holiday arranged day trips a lot is packed in to one day so that you see as much as you can. If we had the choice, I think we I would have preferred spending a bit more time exploring The Jozani Forest and photographing the wildlife. But we’re grateful to see what we did see. It was amazing.

Tired, we returned to our resort and as I mentioned earlier, I learnt that two long island iced teas literally do flatten me. Pretty much the rest of the evening, and dinner were a blur. 😮

OK folks, so please remember to come back next week for the last instalment African Adventures Pt.4 Zanzibar Spice Tour and Final Days.

Oh, and in order not to miss any of these updates or my recipes, make sure you’re following neilshealthymeals by adding your email to the subscription list at the very top of this post and clicking “Subscribe” or by “following” via your favourite social media channel below.

And thanks Amanda for our usual Thursday thinking out loud blog post sharing opportunity! :-)


  1. I love that picture of the monkey eating a leaf at the top of a page! I could just see a picture like this on a National Geographic cover! Zanzibar is such an exotic destination, this is awesome that you got to see it!
    Melanie @ Melanie Cooks recently posted…How To Make Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake – Best Recipe Ever!My Profile

    • says:

      Wow! 🙂 Melanie, thanks so much for the compliment, I’m truly humbled if you think the picture at the top is of National Geographic quality. I just try to do my best with my photography and practice, practice, practice!

      But yes, Lynne and I were so very lucky to be able to see the beautiful exotic island of Zanzibar. It does seem so far away now. Although writing about it with these posts does help me to remember and makes me smile.

      Thanks always for taking the time to comment.

  2. I agree, you’ve got some NG worthy photos going on here, Neil! You should totally get into freelance travel writing, you know, reviewing food and local attractions. I say go for it!

    Also, we should all get LI Iced Teas at Vodka Wodka some weekend. They are amazing there and I think two pitchers would do us all in lol.
    Erin@BeetsPerMinute recently posted…Why I Couldn’t Accept ComplimentsMy Profile

    • says:

      Thanks for the compliments Erin! 🙂

      Well, you never quite know where you might end up with just sharing your favourite photographs and holiday memories on a blog do you? So I’d never say no to freelance travel writing, if the opportunity came up. 😀

      And yeah, I was actually looking in a cocktail book last night to see if I had the LI Iced Tea recipe, and I do. So your two pitchers idea for a weekend could actually happen. Albeit I might have to take the entire week off work after. 😉

  3. That centipede, though! 😯 I’m not great with bugs, so seeing one that looks like it’s as big as my forearm would probably have me running and screaming the other direction 😆 But man oh man, what an experience. And I totally agree that you captured some amazing shots here!
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…like a kid in a candy store, banana science, and temptation bundling (ToL #166)My Profile

    • says:

      Yep, that centipede probably was as big as your forearm. Ha ha ha, I’d love to see that comical moment with you run screaming in the other direction! Hee hee 😉

      But seriously I wouldn’t like that to touch me either so I kept more than a forearms length when I was taking those pics!

      Thanks for the compliments about my shots. Everone’s just so complimentary today. 😀

  4. Firstly, wow! That centipede is HUGE! I get freaked out by things like that.
    One of the things I don’t like about travelling to certain places is the demanding of a tip. Don’t get me wrong, I always tip for good service but when people stand there saying “tip. tip”. it makes me more likely to not tip. There was a lot of that in Jamaica.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on The Hungry Healthy Happy Book is Now on Sale! by DanniiMy Profile

    • says:

      It’s fortunate we don’t have any centipede’s like that here, isn’t it Dannii? As I confessed to Amanda @ running with spoons I’m not a big fan of them either.

      Yes, the tip thing makes me both paranoid and also ANNOYED. The expectation that just because you’re a tourist your’re going to give them money. I’m all with you for just tipping for good service and no more. But when you need your bags back, as we did in this case, unfortunately I had to.

      Thanks for the heads up about Jamaica. When we get there, we’ll certainly be wary of that. 🙂

  5. Africa is SO beautiful. I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing all God’s creatures. So much loveliness! Thank you for sharing
    Emily recently posted…Recovery Series: One Day At A TimeMy Profile

    • says:

      Delighted to share Emily. 🙂

      I’m very grateful to these beautiful creatures that let me photograph them too. Hopefully we’ll continue to look after them, for generations to come.

  6. Monkeys and centipedes would put this firmly on my no list, but the rest of the beauty of this place might be sufficient to convince me. The color of that water is amazing. Tipping is such an interesting consideration these days. Even in the US. There are restaurants that are starting to do away with tipping–mostly haute cuisine–while other places are banning included gratuity. I wish it would just be regularized in some way.

    • says:

      I’m so gonna swamp your twitter feed with pictures of monkeys and centipedes! 😉

      Ha Ha! But yeah, the colour of that water. And the sky. Oh the sky, I so wish I could see that colour again here. It’s what I’ve noticed the most about Scotland since I came back. Just how dark it is.

      I fear we are going the opposite way of you here. Most people are now expecting tips in the hospitality trade. And it’s on the increase, I feel. Even for crap service.

  7. Amazing!!!! You’re photos are fabulous, there’s so much to soak in!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Vanilla Rhubarb Yogurt Blue CornbreadMy Profile

    • says:

      Ah, so much to soak in Rebecca, and never enough time either!

      Why is it that when you’re enjoying yourself so much, time just flies by?

  8. I would have chosen to relax on the beach and just watch the world go by too! These are gorgeous photos Neil. Prison island almost sounds like Alcatraz off the California coast – only there are no gorgeous giant tortoises roaming around there.
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan recently posted…Sweet Potato Pistachio BarsMy Profile

    • says:

      It was great to have some R&R and just chilling out for real Shashi. 🙂

      Funny you should mention Alcatraz. That’s on the bucket list and there could be a visit to that very soon……… 😉

      Those tortoises were fascinating. Again, I would have been quite happy drawing up a chair and watching their daily activities. (Which weren’t much other than wandering from one piece of food to the next! 😆 )

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