Marry in Zanzibar
The stunning island of Zanzibar must be one of the most magical settings on earth for romantic destination weddings, with its pristine white sandy beaches, warm azure waters and breath-taking tropical sunsets
Zanzibar is a beautiful tropical island just 38 km off the coast of mainland East Africa. It is the largest of a number of islands of a Tanzanian archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar, as it is widely known, is actually called Unguja – and away from its gorgeous beaches and charming resorts, it has a rich history and culture, which begs to be explored.
Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar, is a World Heritage site. This fascinating town was a historic trade center with Swahili and Islamic influences. Stone Town is atmospheric and vibrant, and is rather similar to the Medina of Morocco with its winding lanes, carved doorways and 19th-century landmarks such as the House of Wonders, a former sultan’s palace.
The earliest visitors to Zanzibar were Arab traders who are said to have arrived in the 8th century to trade primarily in ivory, slaves and spices. The earliest building that remains on Zanzibar is the Mosque at Kizimkazi, which dates from 1107, and is still an impressive tourist attraction. Zanzibar is now predominantly Islamic, and the main language is Kiswahili – English is also widely spoken, as is Arabic.
For couples looking for the perfect location for their weddings and honeymoons, one of Zanzibar’s biggest selling points is its idyllic climate for most of the year – except in April and May, which is its rainy season, and it can also be a little showery in November though they are usually short showers. Being close to the equator, the islands are warm all year, however a pleasant breeze keeps temperatures from becoming too hot.
If you enjoy swimming and water sports, Zanzibar has a wealth of activities to satisfy even the most demanding explorers. Mnemba Island is an atoll off the northeast coast near Matemwe, which is excellent for drift diving and is a breeding ground for turtles, which are often seen gliding by along with dolphins and huge schools of fish. Kite surfing is also becoming a popular sport. For relaxation take a dhow sunset cruise and or visit the hotel’s luxury spas for top-to-toe pampering.
For a really special honeymoon itinerary, you can incorporate a short safari in Saadani, Selous, or Mikumi National Parks – just a quick flight from Zanzibar to the Tanzanian mainland. This gives an amazing insight into the incredible diversity of wildlife in East Africa. At Saadani Safari Lodge you can stay in a unique Luxury Honeymoon Suite, and the staff will provide all sorts of extra special touches to make your stay truly unforgettable.
Weddings in Zanzibar
Zanzibar is a truly exotic wedding location. Getting married on Zanzibar is becoming increasingly popular as the appeal of warm azure water, white powder beaches, beautiful landscapes and guaranteed sunshine beckons – not to mention the famous Zanzibari hospitality. The island has so many ‘wow-factor’ venues on the beach and in the resort hotels that you will be spoilt for choice – you can even hire out your own island for an extra special touch.
The legal age for couples to marry without parental consent is 18-years. Two witnesses are required (hotel wedding planners can usually provide witnesses), and you will need to be in Zanzibar for at least two working days before your wedding. Your intent to marry must be posted for 21 days before your ceremony. You must send an application to the Regional Commissioner stating your names, marriage date and birthdates of yourselves and both sets of parents and that you are both single and intend to marry in Zanzibar. This must be signed and notarised if you are having a civil ceremony.
- Passports and 2 photocopies.
- Birth Certificates.
- Certificate of No Impediment.
- Certificate of Domicile stating where you live.
- 2 passport photos each.
- Decree Absolute if divorced.
- Previous Marriage Certificate and Death Certificate of previous spouse if widowed.
- For religious ceremonies you need a letter from your church stating that you have followed its requirements and that banns have been posted in your home country.
- All documents must be stamped with an apostille and notarised.
Top 10 things to do
Explore Stone Town
Stroll down the narrow streets of historic Stone Town with its twists and turns and discover its magical architecture and heritage. Its lively modern influences include restaurants, bars and curious attractions that don’t compromise its old world charm.
Spice up your life
Zanzibar has been one of the largest exporters of cloves and other spices and no trip to the island would be complete without a tour of a traditional spice farm.
Take a full-day excursion with Safari Blue from Fumba, which includes sailing around mangroves and snorkeling along coral reefs followed by a delicious seafood BBQ. Safariblue.ne
Dive the Mnemba Atoll
Take the plunge and dive at Mnemba. The experience is stunning – inside it’s like being in a giant aquarium and the outside offers excellent wall and drift dives.
Swim with wild Dolphins
Zanzibar offers a unique opportunity to track and swim with dolphins. Each morning the local pod of dolphins wake from their overnight spot in Menai Bay and playing with the tourists is just part of their morning routine.