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Zanzibar

Zanzibar 

Portuguese invasion and control of the Swahili Coast in the late 16th century ended the golden age of the archipelago, although the Omani Arabs returned to power less than a century later. Today, many of the winding streets and high townhouses of old Stone Town remain unchanged and visitors can walk between the sultan’s palace, the House of Wonders, the Portuguese fort and gardens, the merchants’ houses, and the Turkish baths of the old city. Day-long spice tours to working plantations offer visitors the chance to observe the cultivation of cloves, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices that have made the island famous.

Zanzibar’s coastline offers some of the best beaches in the world, but sand and surf vary depending on what side of the island you’re on. On the east coast, waves break over coral reefs and sand bars offshore, and low tide reveals small pools of starfish, small minnows, and anemones. Up north, ocean swimming is much less susceptible to the tides, and smooth beaches and white sand make for dazzling days in the sun.

The port city of Stone Town dominates the west coast, and although the beaches of Mangapwani, where slave caves are visible at low tide and nearby Bububu are less than half an hour’s drive away, a night or two spent on the east or north cost is well worth the extra hour it takes to drive there. That said, the Chole Island Marine Park just off Stone Town and nearby Prison, Grave, and Snake Islands  make a refreshing day-trip and a good break from exploring the winding passageways of the old city.

On the south coast of Zanzibar lies the Menai Bay Conservation Area, a sea turtle protection area for the endangered species that come to breed on the island. Roads to the southeast coast take visitors through the Jozani Forest, home to Zanzibar’s rare Red Colobus monkeys and a number of other primate and small antelope species

Top Destinations - Tanzania

At a glance

⦁ The Islands of Zanzibar(also called Unguja) and Pemba and surrounding islets that together form Zanzibar are certainly one of the most attractive and restful locations in the world. With its Indian, Arab, Persian and Portuguese influences, Zanzibar is a cocktail of culture, people, tradition and color. 

Zanzibar Beaches

Overview

The Islands of Zanzibar(also called Unguja) and Pemba and surrounding islets that together form Zanzibar are certainly one of the most attractive and restful locations in the world. With its Indian, Arab, Persian and Portuguese influences, Zanzibar is a cocktail of culture, people, tradition and color. Combine this with its natural beauty, tropical climate and laid back atmosphere, Zanzibar is, in our opinion, one of the best ways to begin or end your Tanzanian safari experience.It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast, and 6 south of the equator. The capital of the islands, located on the island of Unguja, is also known as Zanzibar. It is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide, occupying a total area of approximately 650 square miles.The coastal areas with white beaches, mangroves, lagoons and coral reefs compliment the richly fertile areas inland where the spice farms are situated. Zanzibar (Unguja), is also home to the historic Stone Town – said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. Time spent experiencing the different aspects of Zanzibar is highly recommended.

 

Zanzibar Beaches & Activities

 

Zanzibar’s(Unguja), brilliant white beaches bathed in the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean are what visions of paradise are made of. Here one is provided with the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. The warm clear waters fringed with coral reefs provide some excellent sites for snorkelling, scuba diving and other water sports.There are more than 25 excellent beaches in Zanzibar many of these are remote and unspoilt but easily accessed. At the northern tip of the island is Nungwi, which is worth the hour or so it takes to get you there. Here you can swim at low tide without having to wade out a mile into the sea (rare in Zanzibar). On the west coast of Zanzibar, is Mangapwani, and to the east are the beaches of Matemwe, Pwani Mchangani, Kiwengwa, Uroa, Bwejuu and Jambiani.Zanzibar (Unguja), is also an ideal base from which to explore the many small offshore islands, perfect for day-trips. Prison island is the most popular with tourists because it is only a short trip from Stone Town. Other islets near to Stone Town are Chapwani, Chumbe and Bawe

Zanzibar Destination Holidays

Zanzibar holidays have been known to leave travelers with enchanting memories. Sun, sand, spice and vivid history are the essence of this charming destination.

Traditional dhows can be seen sailing to and from Pemba, Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mombasa and even though foreigners are not welcome aboard, looking at these vessels is incredibly therapeutic.

This world’s oldest functioning Swahili city has more than 25 beaches some of which are so remote and serene that the only thing you’ll hear is the splashing of the turquoise waters.

Roads are mostly fringed with palm trees, banana and mangroves and fishing villages are often found.

Zanzibar is derived from the Persian word Zang bar which translates to ‘black coast’ which references the dark skin of the Zanzibari.

It was initially a base for African, Indian and Arabian traders who traded in slaves and spices. For centuries, it was fought over by the Portuguese, Omani, British and Persians.

Zanzibar was ruled by the Sultanate of Oman for years and as a result, the area is almost entirely inhabited by Muslims. It is therefore not a gay-friendly destination, so be cautious.

Spice growing forms a major part of Zanzibar’s economy and has been fondly referred to as Spice Island. Today, tourism has overshadowed spice trading as a main form of income but Zanzibar continues to enthral its visitors with its rustic charm.

Must see

Zanzibar red colobus monkey, Servaline genet, Zanzibar leopard, Bush pigs, Sykes monkeys, Aldabra tortoise, Ancient Stone Town, Magnificent beaches, Princess Salme Museum, Darajani Market, Maruhubi Palace, Mbweni Ruins, Dhow building at Nungwi Prison Island, Native sea turtles at Mnarani, Marine Turtle Conservation Pond, Spice plantations outside Zanzibar town, Jozani Forest, Ras Nungwi fishing village, Bottle-nosed dolphins at Kizimkazi fishing village, Kizimkazi mosque Creeper and entwined Shirazi ruins

Must do

Snorkeling at Chumbe Island,Scuba diving, Deep sea fishing, Kayaking, Sail in a traditional dhow, Get lost in Stone Town, Revel in a beach disco at Nungwi and Kendwa, Swim with dolphins at Fumba or Kizimkazi, Sample Indian and Swahili cuisine, Grab a mug of spicy chai on the side of the road, Visit Old Dispensary, Visit the House of Wonders, Visit the Hamamni Persian public baths, Have lunch at Forodhani Gardens, Watch a kaleidoscope of butterflies at Zanzibar Butterfly Center, Take a spice plantation tour, Indulge in a soothing body scrub with local spices at Mvua African Rain Spa and Visit Fumba traditional village.

 

Where to stay when at Zanzibar

Ocean Beach Resort, Uroa Bay Beach Hotel, White Sand Villas, Zanzibar Lodge, Zanzibar Serena, Fumba Beach Lodge, Twisted Palms Lodge, Bahari View Lodge, Mermaids Cove Beach Resort & Spa, Hideaway of Nungwi Resort & Spa,Matemwe Lodge, Blue Earth Beach Bungalow, Zeru Zeru Eco Local Wild Lodge, Zanzi Resort, Reef Beach Resort and Paradise Beach Resort.

When to schedule Zanzibar holidays

Zanzibar’s long rainy season lasts from March to May. During this time, many hotels are closed and beach time is almost impossible thanks to the monsoons that hit the island.

Short rains occur from November to December but are less intense and always make way for clear skies. The island is busiest from July to October and from December to January.

Mid-January to March is fairly quiet although the heat is too much. The best time to schedule Zanzibar holidays would be late June to July and September to October.

You can get to Zanzibar Island by:

Sea: 

You can take the high-speed ferry from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam and vice versa (which takes 2 hours) and from Zanzibar to Pemba and vice versa. This trip takes 6 hours. All ferries arrive at the passenger ferry terminal gate on Mzingani road. Ferry tickets can be purchased at the passenger ferry terminal or through travel agents in Zanzibar town. There are also boats to choose from and every provider has different charges depending on the speed and make of their vessel. Modern and fast boats tend to be more expensive. High-speed boats take 2 hours.

Air:  This is the most feasible mode of transport to get to Zanzibar Island. Book a short hop flight from Dar es Salaam (There are daily flights to this destination). International flights are however less time consuming and more comfortable. A flight from Arusha will take about 75 minutes. If you’re travelling from Europe, you will probably fly via Nairobi or mainland Tanzania which might be very helpful if you’re planning to merge you Zanzibar holidays with a little safari.

Road: Self-drive within Zanzibar town is rare because most vehicles come with a driver even when you rent one. You will pay for the car, driver and fuel on a daily basis. Alternatively, you can get a 4 seater or 6 seater taxi to carry you and your fellow touring friends to destinations in Zanzibar such as Stone town, Nungwi and Paje. You can then share trip costs with other passengers.

What to pack for Zanzibar holidays

Beachwear

Sunglasses

Sunhat

SandalsFlip flops

Sunscreen

Smart casual clothing for evenings

Camera

Shorts

Beach dresses

Anti-malarial drugs

 

If Spice Island is on your wish list, check out the Zanzibar Holidays available or call an agent to 

 

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