Safari Blue Experiences - routes and Islands in the Zanzibar Archipelago
The island most people call Zanzibar is actually Unguja and is one of the 2 larger islands in the Zanzibar archipelago. The archipelago is a large collection of islands in the Indian Ocean 25 to 50kms off the coast of Tanzania. Often referred to as the Spice Islands they have a population of just over one million. The main island, Unguja, typically just called Zanzibar is roughly 85km by 40km at is widest points with Stone town (a world heritage site) on the west coast as the historic centre. Our Safari Blue base at Fumba where all of our Sailing experiences depart and return, is just over 20kms south of stone town.
Throughout a long history of fishing and trade in the region, Zanzibar has been a melting pot for many different cultures. Arabic, Indian and African influences are part of a rich cultural identity of the Swahili people of Zanzibar. The villages and buildings on the island reflect the rich history and economic diversity from local village huts to cultural architecture and glorious beach hotels.
The Zanzibar archipelago is as much described by the beauty and uniqueness of its marine ecosystem as it is by its range of tropical and sandy islands which are part of it, some of which are just a few metres of bare sand. The marine ecosystem is a combination of seagrass beds, salt marshes, coral reefs, mangrove forests and the azure open sea of the Indian Ocean. Because of its biodiversity and rare species, the ocean around the islands is largely protected by a number of marine park conservation areas. Our Safari Blue tour experiences are largely within the Menai Conservation Area.
Aside from the rainbow of colours in the tropical fish which can been seen while swimming or snorkelling, marine life sightings are common including dolphins and sometimes whales. Our Safari Blue boat tour experiences are curated to both share the best of this amazing region and our concern with protecting it.
Safari Blue takes its responsibility towards the marine ecosystems and local culture very seriously, we are fully licensed by the tourism authorities of the region and operate in ways which minimise our impact while aiming to give our guests an amazing experience. Our staff are drawn from the local Swahili population and many of them have been with us for years. With us they’re also trained about the local marine ecosystem and conservation measures, that’s aside from helping us reduce our impact on the local environment. Our boat captains are maintaining, sailing and hosting visitors on our locally built authentic Dhows giving our guests experiences which have been part of their Swahili culture for generations.
Our Safari blue experience, takes a day to tour around the best and most popular parts of the marine park, stopping off at a selection of spots to explore, atols, islands, mangroves, snorkelling, swimming and marine wildlife. While our private Dhow charter allows 2 or more people to choose an off the beaten track experience, customised activities, trips to quieter islands, or to get away from the crowds, dine in private, or swim alone.
The marine parks of the Zanzibar Archipelago, the islands, the biodiversity, the beauty of the ocean, can be a calming day appreciating nature with your own small group or a joyous boat tour activity filled day on the water meeting new people over a cocktail and getting a glimpse of Swahili culture. Or it can be sailing on the Indian Ocean to a Swahili feast on a deserted island for a little bit of bucket list luxury. The Zanzibar archipelago is different things to different people, at Safari Blue while our highly copied Safari Blue Tour experience (and our Covid friendly Bubble Boat alternative) is a definite must do if you come on holiday, we don’t like to limit our guests to just one kind of experience just because it’s popular – so we offer bespoke experiences too, there’s a lot to see in a lot of different ways. Join us to explore.
For our famous Safari Blue tour the seafood and snacks in our midday feasts are traditional local foods and fruits served in our tented restaurant on Kwame Island which is one of the smaller islands, where we’ve now also opened our new bar serving cocktails and beers.
Our aim with all our sailing experiences at Safari Blue is to give our guest an authentic experience of the natural wonders of the Zanzibar Archipelago islands and ocean, while also helping to support the local community and respecting the marine and island ecosystems which make the region so magical. Tourism is always a fine balance between local culture, environment and tourist dollars – in order to create a win win for the environment, locals and tourist alike.
We like to think that Safari Blue achieves that balance on all sides by being licensed, insured, by being 99% locally managed, by supporting local artisans, by being proactive on training and reducing impact, and offering experiences which have been loved and enjoyed by tourists for the last 20 years.
If popular puts you off, if you want to explore more of the archipelago, you want to go where others don’t, you want to go deep into the marine wildlife, you want to lunch away from the crowds – we’ve got you! Our private Dhow charter means you choose how your day looks and where you go – same great service, your guests, your day.
By the way, we are much copied, they use our name even on global platforms, they sell pretending to be us, they use our pictures, they are often unlicensed and uninsured, some are less bothered by conservation, ethical tourism – the only way to be sure you are getting the real Safari Blue is to book direct.