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Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

D L
San Francisco...
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Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

American who was planning on visiting my girlfriend stationed in Zambia (Lusaka), then fly to Dar + Zanzibar for a 5-day tropical vacation + quick whirlwind 2-day safari. Plans are for next week, except I just learned that the airlines from Zambia->Zanzibar had their license revoked, in the past few days, and it's ~$500 more to rebook on a different carrier.

So, I have the option of staying in Zambia and saving ~$900 in flights alone, possibly more on hotels if we chose to stay in Lusaka.

I suppose my question is, for those who have been to Zanzibar, am I missing out significantly if I forego Zanzibar? How much of a "must-see" / once in a lifetime destination is Zanzibar as a tropical destination considering other tropical areas within reasonable flying distance of the West Coast of the US (eg. Caribbean, Hawaii, other islands in the Pacific ocean)? We would probably use the extra money we save for a nicer/longer safari in Lusaka, maybe go rafting near Victoria Falls, any other suggestions?

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

You're young. You'll have other opportunities.

Spend the money in Zambia (another very poor country). Relax...travel less....see more!

nyc
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2. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

You're right on point.

You live in SFO, plenty of beach holidays nearby, whether Cabo, Mexico, Hawaii, Caribbean, often with special deals - air, hotels, meals, etc.

Save the money, stay in Zambia and when more funds available and you have the time, you can plan to visit Zanzibar or other African beach areas.

South Africa
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3. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

I agree. I love Zanzibar but it is a tropical island destination, white beaches, nice reefs, scuba and snorkelling, palm trees and beach resorts. Hardly unique, except perhaps for the old Stone Town and the history and culture of the place, which some would find very interesting. If staying in Zambia allows you to have more than the 2 day whirlwind safari you were originally planning, I would recommend that for sure. Some fantastic parks and lodges you can visit, and of course Victoria Falls.

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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4. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

You have better beaches in CA

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

I'm facing the same question as the OP, and I don't see what the big fuss is about Zanzibar. I've seen plenty of nice beaches, and I've had plenty of spices and Arab culture in the Middle East. Perhaps someone can convince me otherwise...

South Africa
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6. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

No, nobody will try and convince you to cut short your safari to spend more time on Zanzibar, although it is a nice and relaxing way to end a trip to Tanzania. If you are not cutting your safari short or missing something else in order to see Zanzibar, it is well worth the visit, especially if you love the sun, tropical beaches, warm water, scuba or snorkelling, etc.

The OP's question was whether it would be better to spend the additional time in Zambia instead, and indeed I think that would be much better, a more unique experience. I would answer the same if someone had limited time and had to choose between a longer safari or more time on Zanzibar. It depends on your interests, but for me it would be longer safari, less time on Zanzibar. Others may disagree.

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

<<Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest? ” >>

It was for me. I went there once.

Findlay, Ohio
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8. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

I was just thinking that also. It was a once in a lifetime experience; never wanted to go there again.

South Africa
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9. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

No guys, now you're being a bit harsh on Zanzibar. As far as tropical islands go, it delivers a decent vacation if you choose the right resort or hotel. Plus the cultural aspect, Stone Town, spice tours, etc for some diversity. It's worth a visit but I would not cut my safari short to stay there longer. Me wife on the other hand might stay behind on Zanzibar for a week and work on her tan while I explore the game reserves... Different strokes..

Finland
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10. Re: Need quick advice:Is Zanzibar a "once in a lifetime" dest?

Zanzibar is nice (I'm there since two weeks now) and the beaches are also fine but to my experience from the Caribbean & Asia, even some Greek islands, it is not sooo extraordinary. So, to stay in Zambia would be better and then once come to Zanzibar. Anyway, it seems to be quite easy and inexpensive to come here as Italian, German or so from Central Europe.