Zanzibar, off the east coast of Tanzania, only a 45 minute flight from the mainland, makes it the perfect destination to compliment your Tanzanian safari. Zanzibar is not any ordinary island, and once you visit its pristine beaches, and explore the historical, Stone Town, you will understand its magic. Our Zanzibar travel guide will help you get the most from your vacation.
Brief History of Zanzibar
Zanzibar consists of several tropical islands, Unguja (commonly referred to as ‘Zanzibar’), and Pemba, set about 25 miles off the cost of Tanzania, residing on the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar, semiautonomous, is now part of the United Republic of Tanzania, but was once a separate state. Over the years, Zanzibar has endured various rulers. From African to Persian, the Middle East to the Portuguese, up to the Sultan of Oman, then defeated British Occupation in a short 38 hour war, to its current United Republic of Tanzania. Zanzibar’s ideal location, promoted itself as an important trade hub to the Arab and Eastern world. Zanzibar is known for its market trade for ivory, slaves, and spices. In present, it continues to progress with the spice trade, and is known as “The Spice Island”.
The Beaches of Zanzibar
With the white powdery sand, the crystal clear turquoise water, and the compelling atmosphere, the beaches of Zanzibar are unparalleled with beauty and serenity. The top beach spots are the northern beaches of Nungwi and Kendwa. You will find more hotels along Nugwi’s beaches. At high tide, Nungwi’s tide will retreat to around a mile, allowing you to walk deep out to sea. The sand however, is lined with coral reef so beware of sea urchins and sharp coral reef. For the adventurer, Nungwi is one of the top places in the world for kite surfing, for beginners and advanced surfers alike! Experience an underwater safari while scuba diving or snorkeling. If you are looking for something more relaxing, you can take a sunset cruise in the famous dhow, a rigged sailboat unique to the Indian Ocean. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, or a mixture of both, you will experience it all on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.
Stone Town, Zanzibar’s main city, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is filled with history, and excitement that will leave you feeling as though you transported to another world. Culturally, Stone Town is a blend of Arab, African, and Indian cultures, where Middle Eastern traders would come in search for spices, ivory, and slaves. Stone Town is said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. It is home to numerous historical and cultural sites, including Makusurani graveyard, where many of the islands’ former Arab rulers are buried; the Dunga Ruins, palatial ruins dating for the 15th century; and the Peace Memorial Museum, the national historical museum. You cannot miss the tall and grand Indian-Style tall doors. Wealthy Zanzibari traders showcased their wealth through their intricate doors, the more ornate, the wealthier the trader. Take a walking tour, or get lost within the winding alleyways, however way you wish to explore the streets of Stone Town, there is something interesting around every corner.