The Baraza Swahili Experience

The more you learn… the greater the fascination

We’ve noticed that once our guests have sampled the charismatic charm of the island, they want to know more. So, we’ve put together a visitor library that’s brimming with books on the island. Our range also includes a comprehensive selection of books on flora and fauna, ornithology and marine biology. You’ll also find information on the island’s spice trade, cuisine and folk lore.

School Swahili-style

Once you’ve sampled the Swahili cuisine – you may want to know how to recreate it at home. So why not join one of our chef’s masterclasses and learn about all things spice, seafood and coconut? Alternatively, you could join our Swahili School. As tradition dictates, lessons are held in the shade of our palm trees and led by a local Mwalimu (teacher) who can teach you how to speak Swahili … or all about Zanzibar’s history. Finally, to take home an authentic Zanzibar cultural skill, why not pitch up for the beach-class on palm weaving – and weave yourself a sun hat.

Cooking classes are organized regularly where guests learn to prepare some classical Swahili dishes with our excellent chefs who talk about the local spices and their use and importance.

Spice Isle remembered

If you’d like to create some vibrant memories of your stay on the magical Spice Isle there’s a whole range of tours and day trips on offer at our Guest Relations Desk. But we’d also like to suggest some of our own family favourites. Unique and personalized, they’ll provide you, not only with some great photo-opportunities, but also a chance to authentically interact with the locals and learn more about the Zanzibar heritage.

The Zanzibar Experience

Go Local, Learn About Authentic Zanzibar Life

This unique experience delivers an authentic and rarely-experienced glimpse into the Zanzibari way of life. Join with us on a visit to the local visit of Bwejuu where we visit the school and mosque and even take in a chat and a soda at the local kiosk; we also enjoy a welcome into a typical Swahili home; and a stroll to sample the produce of the local stalls. Great news also, that the proceeds of this tour go direct to the village fund enabling the community to create their own health, educational and financial facilities.

Spice Island Master Class

Join our chef as he presents a master class on Swahili cuisine and Zanzibari spices. Put together your own menu of Swahili dishes using the traditional blend of African, Indian, Arabian and Persian influences together with a colourful fusion of sea-fresh fish, tree-picked coconuts and fresh limes. A great diversion for couples and families alike.

Be a Bao Master

If you’d like to add to your skills while on vacation, then why not learn the ancient game of Bao? Bao originated in East Africa and you can see it being played in town squares all over the archipelago. A complex and intellectually challenging game, Bao is based on a mancala board comprising four rows of eight pits each—in Swahili, pits are termed mashimo, meaning ‘holes’. Zanzibar is famous for its ‘bao bingwas’ (masters), one of whom will be delighted to teach you the game. Speak to our Guest Relations Desk for more information.

Coral Reef Exploration

If you’d like to learn more about our pristine coral reef, why not join our reef safari? Headed by a professional guide whose knowledge of coral formations and marine life is unrivaled, the walk sets off at low-tide and promises exercise, spectacular views, photo opportunities and an unrivaled close encounter with the marine world.

Drift Down the Coast on a Dhow

The ultimate day of Zanzibari pleasure – board our beautiful Swahili dhow and take off for a gentle sail down the spectacular coastline and into the mangrove swamps that are so characteristic of the island. Serene yet alive with birds, the mangroves are a source of food and timber for the traditional Swahili homes. Whilst you’re there, you will also be invited to emulate the locals and carry out some traditional hand-line fishing. Back at the hotel, you can also discuss with Chef just how you’d like the fish to be presented for your dinner. Our guides, meanwhile, will be pleased to impart their knowledge on the marine and wildlife of these special wilderness places. Ecologically sensitive, our boats do not anchor on the reef but, rather, drift with the tide.

Go Climb a Palm

It’s great exercise, fun, and a superb photo-opportunity – climb a palm and pick your own coconut (if you can). Our gardeners do it all the time, equipped with nothing more than their own bare feet and a simple length of rope. Like to try yourself? If so, one of our team will be happy to show you the ropes. He’ll also help you to weave your own palm mat or beach hat – a take-home memory of your Zanzibar sojourn.

Treasuring Turtles

Get up close and personal with turtles via an excursion to our local trail-blazing sea turtle rescue programme. This trail-blazing eco-team works with local fishermen, encouraging them not to use the nets that can also ensnare turtles; and helping them rehabilitate those turtles who have already suffered from coastal plastic contamination. It’s a fascinating and rewarding project that also ensures turtle nest protection and supervision of baby turtles on their first journey from nest to sea. The visit includes a call at the Sea Turtle lagoon, a rehabilitation space for young or damaged sea turtles. You’re also invited to make your own eco-contribution by joining the ‘Trash to Treasures’ creative recycling/up-cycling project, the inspiration of the action group, World Unite. Working with the local community, this project is committed to transforming the island’s plastic refuse into useful commodities such as building materials. For more details please contact our Guest Relations Desk.

The Rising Sun – A Dive School With a Difference

We are proud to offer the only PADI five-star Gold Palm and RAID diving certified Dive Centre in Zanzibar. Also to have been the first dive professionals to have discovered the pristine treasures of the unexplored south-eastern coastline. Bringing 19 years of experience to our Rising Sun Center we can promise you, not only committed professionalism, but also a dedication to preserving the pristine ecology of this supremely colourful marine environment. Our unusually extensive range of diving equipment together with our adherence to a policy of taking only 6 divers per guide also guarantees you an exclusively personal experience that will deliver memories for a lifetime. All ages and proficiencies are welcome. To learn more

Unmissable Stone Town

It would be a tragedy to visit Zanzibar and not experience the wonder of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stone Town – it’s unrivaled as the world’s most enduring example of Swahili Culture at its finest. A magical mélange of Sultan’s palaces, winding streets, markets, antique emporiums and ancient forts, this is a cultural wonderland that has to be seen to be believed. The tour also includes visits to the Sultan’s Harem and Maruhubi Baths, the slave market and slave chambers, Prison Island and the gorgeously-scented spice gardens. Book your trip at our Guest Relations Desk.

Our Zanzibar Collection

Our close-knit family, now in its third generation, has developed The Zanzibar Collection over a 25-year love affair with Zanzibar. And it’s our proud belief that they epitomize the essentially authentic Zanzibar experience. Exquisitely designed yet subtly differentiated in character, so as to appeal to families and couples alike, the Collection offers a price range and ambience for everyone. No matter which of our hotels you choose, however, we remain uncompromising in delivering optimum service, inspirational cuisine, exclusivity of ambience and range of Zanzibari experiences. As a result of our unwavering commitment to this unique island, our hotels have also come to represent the benchmark for excellence while our green credentials are of the finest.

Red colobus monkeys and forest trails

Join us on a visit to one of the last remaining tropical forests on the planet. The Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is the island’s only national park (soon to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and offers an enchantingly cool and leafy environment where winding nature trails and simply boardwalks lead through forests and mangrove swamps alike. A tiny park that is easily traversed, Jozani is home to the rare and endemic Zanzibar red colobus monkey, Sykes monkey, Ader’s duiker, the Zanzibar servaline genet, bush babies, 50 species of butterfly and 40 species of birds. The professionally-guided walk takes around an hour.