The Indian Ocean is blessed with some wonderful island destinations. We may be a little biased, but at Driftwood Beach Lodge we believe that Zanzibar is easily the best. Here are our top reasons why you should choose Zanzibar over the other islands. On our travels, we’ve been lucky enough to go to all the other islands and while we enjoyed them all, there’s no place like home!

Zanzibar rocks!

If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you’ll know that we’re huge fans of Zanzibar and everything it offers. Whether you want to get active or be very lazy, it offers everything you need. We’re talking miles of sandy beaches, warm clear ocean and almost endless watersports possibilities – especially kitesurfing.

Back on land, there is the fascinating Swahili culture to discover: Zanzibar has a long and colourful history, and this is reflected in its architecture, food and diverse population. A trip to a spice farm or a wander through the intriguing streets of Stone Town are unique experiences that simply aren’t on offer anywhere else.

Closer to home

If you’re flying from South Africa, Zanzibar ticks the box for being easiest to get to. With direct flights from Johannesburg taking just 3½ hours, you’ll be there in no time at all. To be fair, Mauritius is equally close, but when you look at some of the other islands, you’re in for a long haul.

Seychelles is five hours from Johannesburg, while the Maldives is a 7-hour flight away. From Europe, Zanzibar is also the closest Indian Ocean island. Finally, if you’re planning a combined safari and beach holiday, Zanzibar couldn’t be more convenient to include in an itinerary that starts or ends in Kenya or Tanzania.

Apples with apples?

Mauritius is also a very popular island destination, and we can understand why. Just like Zanzibar, it has lovely beaches and more than enough activities to keep anyone busy for a week or two. Mauritius offers more of a resort-type experience, which means that it can work well if you’re travelling with kids or want a holiday where you don’t really have to think for yourself (which is not always a bad thing!).

It can feel a bit ‘touristy’ when compared to Zanzibar’s more authentic cultural vibe, and prices are definitely higher. For our money, we’d choose the Spice Islands to get away from it all, and enjoy the sense of being a bit more off the beaten track.

If you’re looking for a honeymoon destination, Zanzibar offers more opportunities for being just the two of you and getting to really kick back and enjoy the barefoot beach lifestyle. Although on Mauritius, you’ll get to compare wedding stories with lots of other honeymoon couples, if that’s your thing!

Postcard or journal?

When comparing Zanzibar with Seychelles, you’re looking at one island versus 115. Many of the islands in Seychelles are breathtakingly beautiful – this is real Instagram territory! Seychelles scores highly if you’re looking for a romantic getaway, but once you leave the beach, you’ll find that there are perhaps fewer activities on offer. Also, there aren’t as many opportunities to explore the local culture.

Probably the biggest downside to Seychelles is the cost – all that beauty comes with a hefty price tag. The only accommodation options on many islands are the kind of luxury resorts where A-listers hang out. In contrast, Zanzibar offers much better value, and you’ll never run short of different experiences to write about.

A bit of a stretch

Despite being in the same ocean, the Maldives are far enough away to be in a different continent. This group of small islands also offers gorgeous beaches and warm, clear water for diving and snorkeling. When compared to Zanzibar, a holiday in Maldives will however mean a longer flight and higher costs all round.

Our verdict

Looking at value for money, variety of experiences, and ease of travel, there can only one winner for us. But then that’s why we live on Zanzibar! To find out more about why we rate Zanzibar as the best island destination, contact us here at Driftwood Beach Lodge.