Zanzibar Travel Guide


Zanzibar Holidays - Tours & Adventure Travel Guide

Zanzibar is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean nearly 25 miles from the east coast of Africa, part of the country of Tanzania. The island chain consists of Zanzibar or Unguja as the locals call it which is 60 miles in length and 20 miles in width, the Pemba Islands and several very small unnamed isles. The large island of Zanzibar is inhabited by monkeys, pigs and small antelope with few large wild animals. It is, however, rich in marine life. Several ethnicities inhabit the island, but Islam is the most influential religion with only smatterings of Christians and Hindus. There are approximately 980,000 inhabitants; they speak mainly Swahili. Because of its rich diversity, there is enormous appeal to tourists to observe and participate in its culture as well as play on the most paramount beaches in the world.

Festival of the Dhow Countries

The most renowned affair on Zanzibarís annual calendar is the Zanzi bar International Film Festival or the Festival of the Dhow Countries happening early every summer. This is a showcase for Swahili Coast arts and music held in the quaint Old Fort in Stone Town. This unique event provides an excellent opportunity for tourists to learn about the areaís culture as told by the local Africans when on holidays to Zanzibar.

Stone Town

While in Stone Town the visitor should explore its narrow streets to taste the elixir of Zanzibar trips, its sounds, its bouquet and its odor, its noise and its serenity, and finally, itís increasing dedication to tourist wealth. Take time to visit the Sultanís Palaces, to investigate the House of Wonders and the Arab Fort, to hear the muezzins call believers to prayers, and to wander along the harbor where barbecues and curio markets vie for attention. Just outside of Stone Town is Salomeís Garden, one of the few country houses that remain from the old plantation days when cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper attracted the Sultans of Oman. Unfortunately, these plantations were the genesis of a less desirable spectacle, the notorious slave trade. Trips into Stone Town are available from many of the resorts Zanzibar.

Beaches

One hour south of Stone Town is a beautiful Zanzibar beach named Kizimkazi. Here visitors are assured sightings of dolphins with an additional incentive of swimming among them. Inland in Zanzibarís center is a nature park protecting the indigenous Colobus and Sykes monkeys. There are trails available to those who wish to enjoy these species first hand. On another day, if one ventures about 15 miles north of Stone Town, there is the beach of Mangapwani. Enroute there is Maruhubi Palace built for Sultan Barghash in the late 1800s. Additionally, there Mtoni Palace built in the early 1800s for Sultan Said. And further up the road is Beit el Ras Palace also built by Sultan Said. Just behind this palace to the right are the Persian Baths. Try to stay at a Zanzibar hotel which is on the beach to wake up to the sound of the waves.

For those interested in marine life, a mask and a snorkel should be part of this trip up the coast. For a further dayís pursuit of sand and sea, Kendwa Beach, which is on the northwest part of the island, provides swimming at both high and low tide. This, however, is not one of those isolated scenic beauty spots for those wishing to be free of humanity. There are many beach bars and restaurants, and during Easter and Christmas holidays Full Moon Parties bring large groups of tourists to the beach to party, party on when on their Zanzibar holidays.

Sport Fishing

One final activity that has become big business in Zanzibar is sport fishing. There are several different billfish available to those who wish to hire a boat and the appropriate guide to find them. There are Mako, Tiger and Hammerhead Sharks, some tuna fishing (although that is diminishing rapidly just as it is in other parts of the globe), barracuda and large wahoo. And of course, for the purist among sports fisherman, from December to March there are striped marlin to be had, and from September through December large blue Marlin do intrigue. Many a hotel in Zanzibar will offer sport fishing trips.

Zanzibar Tanzania is without doubt the consummate beach locale in East Africa for complete with white sand, lush growth, extraordinary history and captivating culture. So far, it has withstood tourism admirably and remains firmly African. Its stated policy is that environmental and cultural resources are its peopleís most valued strengths. Hopefully, this policy is firm, not to be destroyed by the pursuit of coin, so plan your Zanzibar tours soon.

Further Resources

You can also read our full Tanzania Travel Guide

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