Why visit Zanzibar?
Zanzibar is an exotic location for a complete change of pace and a popular contrast before or after visiting other locations in Tanzania. The island is surrounded by pristine coral reefs, calm and clear water, natural lagoons, mangrove swamps and beautiful coconut-palm fringed sandy beaches. The choices on how to spend your time in Zanzibar are many: snorkeling, diving, walking, cycling, boating, exploring the historic charms of Stone Town, relaxing on the beach.
How to book:
1. Review the accommodation and make your choice (we are also happy to work with your ideas)
2. Decide how many nights you want to stay
3. Decide your board preference e.g. B&B, half-board, full-board
4. Add your selection to the notes section of any of the the booking forms or add to your 'wish list' if you are considering a tailor-made tour.
5. Submit your request.
We will check your dates and inform you of any extra costs e.g. flights and transfers.
A short history of the 'spice island'
Zanzibar Island (or Unguja) is the largest of a group of small Indian Ocean islands lying close to the coast of mainland Tanzania.
The island is believed to have been inhabited for over 2000 years. Changes brought to the island by invaders and empire builders of Persian, Arabic and Portuguese origin are reflected in the colorful architecture, ruined cities, palaces and the variety of festivals celebrated throughout the islands.
In the 19th Century, Omani Arabs controlled Zanzibar. With the establishment of clove plantations introduced from Madagascar, the island grew rich from trade in spices. In addition to cloves, the island was a major trading point for ivory and a clearing house for thousands of African slaves.
Most slaves that survived the perilous journey from the African interior were held in brutal conditions in Zanzibar before being shipped to markets in Arabia, India, and French outposts in the Indian Ocean.
The tax levied on each slave sale increased the prosperity of Zanzibar, but in particular, the prosperity of the sultan ruler. Small numbers of slaves were forced to labor on the island's spice plantations. The descendent of these laborers make up the majority of the African ethnic groups on the island today.
Tropical beaches and islands:
Lapped by the waters of the Indian Ocean, beaches are beautiful and plentiful. Some more quiet than others. Some with nearby facilities for diving and snorkeling.
Dhow sailing between islands is a peaceful activity.
You can take a boat trip to Prison Island. The island was first used to detain recalcitrant slaves and later became a quarantine station for Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda and then Tanganyika. Today Prison Island is known for its giant tortoises, excellent views of Zanzibar town, fine bathing and snorkeling.
The main town, lies on the west coast of Zanzibar.
The striking labyrinth of Arabian style crooked alleyways, old mansions, palaces and bazaars have remained unchanged for centuries. Strict regulations governing the renovations of buildings and historic sites are now in place to protect what has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors can explore the alleys 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. A famous feature of Stone Town buildings are the intricately carved doors.
The House of Wonders is one of the first buildings in East Africa to have electricity and is Stone Town's oldest existing building. Stone Town also has fifty mosques and four Hindu temples.
A guided city tour will give you a taste of the history and culture of Stone Town.
Most are mostly located on the western side of Zanzibar island. A spice tour makes an interesting and visually stimulating day trip.
The tour will take you from the Anglican cathedral (built to commemorate the end of slavery) to the slave caves at Mwangapani, where hundreds of people were held to await death or a lifetime of slavery.
The tour can include a trip to Grave Island to see the cemetery dedicated to those people who lost their lives fighting against the slave trade.
The forest is Zanzibar's largest area of indigenous forest and home to many wildlife species. You can take a guided walk through the uniquely beautiful rainforest to see the rare red colobus monkeys. As a contrast to the forest walk, the afternoon can be spent visiting Kizimkazi on the southern tip of the island. An idyllic coastline where bottlenose and spinner dolphins are regular guests.
Page update 20/04/2013