Sometimes in life there are places that you dream to visit, that are so incredible that you almost don’t even believe that they are real. They stay in your mind like a fairytale dream. That place for me was The Rock Restaurant in Zanzibar. The whimsical restaurant built on a very large rock and thriving right in the middle of the ocean. I always saw pictures of it, but honestly never really knew if it was a real place or not!
The Rock Restaurant
What used to be an outpost for the fisherman of the village of Michamvi was turned into one of Zanzibar’s most famous sites. “The Floating Restaurant”, “The Restaurant in the Middle of the Ocean”, “The Place on the Rock” or however it may be known is certainly one of the coolest places in Zanzibar, and quite honestly, the world.
Built in 2010 by a group of resort owners in the area, this restaurant almost immediately became a household name. Although not too much is known about how they built it and how they have everything running so smoothly, Wi-Fi, waste disposal, and storage, somehow it all works together. All while maintaining and even adding to the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Check out our post on this handmade dress! (Made just for this awesome location in Zanzibar) : ZANZIBAR – THE 2 OUTFITS I MADE JUST FOR MY TRIP TO PARADISE | FASHION DESIGN
During the high tides a little water taxi will take you on a short journey to the entrance of this lovely place. The décor and the atmosphere is simply unmatched. Whether seated inside for the actual meal or on the outdoor terrace for after dinner drinks and to gaze at the stars, the architecture really is astounding.
How to Get to The Rock Restaurant
The Rock Restaurant is located on the south-eastern coast of Zanzibar on the beach of Michamvi. The entire area is spotted with resorts of all kinds and just a 20-minute drive from Paje and Bwenjuu. If you don’t have the opportunity to stay on the East Coast, it is still not that far of a drive from Stone Town, under 1.5 hours.
Best Time to Visit The Rock Restuarant
The Rock Restaurant is open all year round. The best time to visit depends on what you are looking for. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the tides on this side of the country vary GREATLY. During half the day (usually the morning) the tides will go very, very far back. This leaves The Rock looking a little bit like an abandoned fort whose moat has dried up. The plus of visiting during this time is that you can walk right out to the restaurant, no water taxi needed.
As the day progresses, the rides usually begin to come back up. We arrived around 5pm in December and the tides were very high. We took the little boat ride to the entrance, relaxed inside, and just a few hours later the tides has regressed so far that we could almost walk back to the beach without getting wet. However, it also depends on the season and honestly even the day!
If you want to make sure you are there for a specific time (high tide or low tide) I would suggest spending at least half a day in the area or asking the locals when the best time to visit would be, depending on the time of year.
Menu at The Rock Restaurant
The food at The Rock Restaurant is amazing. Honestly, it was probably the best meal that we had in all of Zanzibar. Their menu features a very large selection of fresh seafood, a few vegetarian options, and many cocktail and wine options. Be warned, however, that it is probably going to be the most expensive dinner you’ll have on the island. But, it is Zanzibar’s most memorable tourist attraction, so I guess you can’t blame them. Be prepared to spend at least $40 per person.
Things You Should Know Before Visiting The Rock
- Expensive – The Rock Restaurant is much more expensive than just about any other place we came across in Zanzibar. Although it is similar to normal food prices in nice US or Western European restaurants, it is far more expensive than the average Zanzibar restaurant.
- Book in Advance – When we went to visit, they only accepted people with reservations. Everyone else was turned away. So be sure to book your place in advance!! To make a reservation, click here.
- Lots of People – Remember, this is one of Zanzibar’s top (if not the #1) tourist attractions. There will definitely be lots of people there. The number of times we saw the little water taxi taking people back and forth was shocking. We really wondered if everyone would fit inside. The restaurant is surprisingly spacious but be prepared for it to be full.
- You Might Get Wet – Now this should go without saying since the restaurant is built in the middle of the ocean, but you will probably get at least a little wet on your way to the entrance. Unless you visit at the lowest tides, when the water is very far back, you will probably get at least a little wet. Wearing easy to remove sandals is very convenient!
Other Things to Do on the East Coast
The East Coast of Zanzibar offers countless other amazing activities, stunning beaches, and wonderful places to stay. If you are in the area, consider visiting these places before you leave.
Visit Jozani Forest
Do you want to see a breed of monkeys that can’t be found anywhere else in the world? Jozani Forest, the only national park in Zanzibar, is located on the eastern coast of the island. Not too far from Paje, it’s a wonderful place to explore. Home to the Zanzibar Skye’s Monkey which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and also the very rare Red Colobos Monkey, this forest is certain to impress!
The East coast offers some of the best partying in the country. B4 and Jambo club near Paje will always provide wonderful Dj’s and a great time (rumor has it that the Dj’s there are from Radio Ibiza).
Where to Stay
The most important tip for where to stay on the East Coast…..Find a place with a pool. Realistically, you probably won’t be able to go swimming in the ocean until around 2pm, so a pool comes in very handy.
In general, the east coast is much less expensive than the northern coast (by about 1/3) and even stone town (about 1/2), but the same quality. We stayed at Sahari Hotel and absolutely loved it. The food was delicious, the pool was lovely, and the Wi-Fi was the best we had in all of Zanzibar (I was actually able to have full work meetings).
Looking for more amazing things to do in Zanzibar? Check out: 18 AMAZING THINGS YOU CAN’T MISS ON YOUR TRIP TO ZANZIBAR | THINGS TO DO
If you have any general questions about Zanzibar itself you have to read over: ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ZANZIBAR | EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Lots of Love and Safe Travels,
Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters