film festival in Zanzibar

image via Rod Waddington

Zanzibar, an African archipelago just off the coast of mainland Tanzania, has been a famous vacation destination for decades. The beautiful beaches, historic towns, and colorful blend of African, Arabian, and Asian cultures have always drawn travelers seeking something extraordinary.

Even today, palm-fringed beaches, picturesque old quarters, and utterly unique accommodations draw in-the-know travelers who want to move beyond the standard "safari tourist" scene that dominates East Africa.  Add idyllic beaches and lush natural landscapes to the mix and Zanzibar starts to seem like on of the most attractive destinations on the entire continent.

Zanzibar special events

image via son of groucho

During the summer, Zanzibar is also the epicenter of the rapidly-growing African movie industry. The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), held each summer, not only highlights the best movies from the continent of Africa, but also the works of film-makers from around the world.  In the past, major international indie successes like the South African film Jeruselema took home top honors at ZIFF.

And, while film is the main media, other arts, music, and cultural performances are also part of this celebration of culture.  Peripheral events, like Zanzibar Fashion Week, are also on the schedule during ZIFF.

Zanzibar International Film Festival

image via rod waddington

Festival "season tickets" are available for all the concerts and film screenings taking place during the event (which kicks off July 9th, this year). There is also a VIP option for special entry to all music performances held during the festival. Most films and concert take place in Stone Town, the atmospheric Old Quarter of Zanzibar City.

Yes, this festival is held far away from the glitz and glamor of places like Hollywood, Cannes, and Tribeca. But none of those famous fest settings can match the exotic allure and natural beauty of Zanzibar. Away from the screenings and concerts, visitors can cruise the islands in a traditional dhow, explore the natural beauty of the lush forested interiors, or lounge on the beach and perhaps venture into the water for a swim or snorkel.

zanzibar africa event venues

To truly make your trip to the Zanzibar International Film Festival an unbelievable experience, you can book into the Kilindi Zanzibar. This very unique resort was originally built for Benny Andersson, a member of the once-popular Swedish pop music act ABBA. 16 separate pavilion suites are placed throughout the garden-like grounds of this boutique property.

Each pavilion has luxurious amenities, including a patio, private plunge pool, and state-of-the-art "rainfall" shower. In addition, guests get to enjoy panoramic views of the waterfront from their suite.  In-floor LED lighting enhances the mood and makes Kilindi the perfect destination for people seeking some seriously romantic ambiance.

A personal butler is attached to each pavilion and can provide meal service and also concierge services for guests who want to explore the islands.

Zanzibar luxury vacation rentals

An on-site bar with decor that includes a 25-foot waterfall, an oversized infinity swimming pool, and a pristine white sand beachfront mean that the magic does not only take place inside the private pavilions. All throughout the lushly landscaped grounds, resident monkeys and colorful birds mean that it is easy to have the feeling of being surrounded by nature.

Your Turn...

Have you ever been to Zanzibar or to the Zanzibar International Film Festival? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below.