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A Complete Guide to Zanzibar Island

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Popularly known as the Spice Islands, Zanzibar Island Tanzania is a beautiful archipelago in the Indian Ocean, lying 22 miles (35 km) off the coast of mainland Tanzania. The Spice Islands boast some of the most fascinating beaches on the planet and offer a diverse culture and history. Zanzibar Islands is made up of three main islands which are visited most frequently: Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar), Pemba, and Mafia Island. Read more about Zanzibar Vacations, Prices Packages

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ISLAND OF ZANZIBAR

The history of Zanzibar Island Tanzania was greatly shaped by its geography. The prevailing winds of the region placed it directly on the Indian Ocean routes. It makes it accessible to both traders and colonists from South Asia, Arabia, and the African Mainland. Africans were the first immigrants followed by Persians. The Arabs had the deepest influence. It is because the position made it a perfect entrepôt for Arabs mounting slave trade expeditions into Africa while conducting oceangoing commerce.

In the 16th century, the Portuguese came and conquered all the seaports on the eastern African coast but were expelled by the Omani Arabs in the 17th century. The expansion of the slave trade in the late 18th and 19th centuries caused by the demand for plantation slaves in North and South America made Zanzibar the center of the slave trade in Africa. There was also a huge demand for ivory, and slaves were used as porters to carry it. The British proclaimed a protectorate over Zanzibar in 1890 which lasted for 70 years. In April 1964, presidents of Zanzibar and Tanganyika signed an act of union between the two countries, creating what later in the year was named Tanzania.

GETTING TO AND FROM ZANZIBAR ISLAND

Most travelers get to Zanzibar Islands, Pemba, or Mafia Island by airplane from Arusha or any of the small airstrips in the national parks. If you’re traveling from Dar Es Salaam you can also take a boat. Depending on where you are boarding the plane, a flight usually takes about 1-3 hours in a bush plane. If you depart from Dar es Salaam by high-speed boat (four times a day each way), it takes about two hours, and tickets are cheap. Read more about things to do in Dar es Salaam

GETTING AROUND IN ZANZIBAR

The easiest way to get around in Zanzibar is to book a private taxi or minibus transfer or rental car. Taking the bus or dalla-dalla (pick-up truck or minibus) is the most common public transport option. The main routes all start/end in Zanzibar town (with Stone Town being the old part of Zanzibar town).

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ZANZIBAR ISLANDS

The best time to visit Zanzibar for an African beach holiday is from June to October. It is during the cooler months of the dry season. Also from December to February when the weather is hot and dry. Tourists can bask in the sun-drenched shores and palm-fringed beaches. They can also witness the breathtaking golden sunsets on their Zanzibar beach escape.

BEACHES AND PLACES IN ZANZIBAR ISLANDS

Here are some of our favorite Beaches in Zanzibar:

Jambiani Beach

Jambiani Village is a sleepy fishing village on the southeast coast of Zanzibar. As you walk the beach, kids say ‘Jambo!’, but no one tries to sell you anything. Jambiani Beach is untouristy, relaxed, and feels much more authentic than other beach towns in Zanzibar. It is also much cheaper than big beach towns like Nungwi or Kendwa, so is one of the best places to have a low-cost Zanzibar vacation.
Have a local guide take you through their village (donations will be made to visited places) and discover how locals live their everyday lives and how they make their livelihoods. The tour finishes with a great Swahili local-style lunch!

Nungwi Beach

Unlike the east and west coastlines, Zanzibar’s northern tip doesn’t have to deal with high and low tides as much. It is the perfect beach destination if you are looking to swim around the clock without having to walk far out to sea to chase the ocean. Nungwi is well known for its nightlife and party atmosphere. So if you are looking for a more relaxing and serene environment, this is not the ideal place to go.

Matemwe Beach

White sandy beaches, palm trees, and the Indian Ocean as far as you can see, that’s Matemwe in north-eastern Zanzibar. The small village is loved by locals and travelers for its seemingly never-ending wide and romantic beach. If you are looking to reconnect with nature and relax far away from it all, Matemwe is your spot to be. Here you will find pristine fishing communities, hosting few tourists and more fish markets. At the stalls, you can try local dishes. Go to Matemwe if you want to relax, but pick a different location if you want to go out and enjoy entertainment. If you long to hold a book in one hand and a drink in the other, you have found your dream destination. Matemwe’s proximity to Mnemba Island allows for a great snorkeling day trip!

Paje Beach

Paje Beach is one of the most popular Southeastern beach towns in Zanzibar Islands Tanzania. A great place to visit if you enjoy interacting with others while you enjoy swimming. It boasts a great selection of bungalows, small restaurants, and beach bars. Paje Beach is one of the most ideal places to visit if you are interested in learning how to scuba dive. Also, a place to practice other water sports like kitesurfing or windsurfing.

UNIQUE DINING EXPERIENCES OF THE ISLANDS OF ZANZIBAR

Zanzibari cuisine offers delicious food influenced by its cultural and multi-ethnic Zanzibar Islands and Swahili heritage. It boasts the best and most unique dining experiences ranging from amazing restaurants like The Rock and Emerson to Hurumzi restaurant.
For a truly local experience, explore the Forodhani night food market in Stone Town. However, you can visit a local home to learn how to cook your own Zanzibari food. Visit The Rock Restaurant Zanzibar Tanzania for amazing kinds of seafood

GUIDE TO STONE TOWN

A historic hub for commerce and culture within Zanzibar Tanzania, Stone Town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a lovely place to get lost in its numerous ancient buildings and labyrinths of streets. On a private guided tour tourists are able to learn about its fascinating history. Also, learn the distinctive architectural features and gain an insight into everyday life in Zanzibar Islands. As part of the Northern Lagoon Travels Zanzibar Island Tanzania experience. A cooking class with a local family can be combined with a tour of Stone Town and/or a Spice Farm. Meet the giant tortoises, in Prison Island, explore offshore reefs with a private dhow, and/or enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. Book your Zanzibar Tour experience

SPICE TOUR

One of the most popular excursions on Spice Island is the visit to a Spice Farm. Zanzibar Island Tanzania is well known as one of the world’s leading producers of spices such as nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. The spice tour takes your senses on a journey to organic farms. With a wide variety of plants, where you just don't see, you also touch, smell, and taste.

JOZANI FOREST

Nestled within the central east region of Zanzibar Island, Jozani Forest is the only natural forest in Zanzibar Island Tanzania. A 20-minute drive from Stone Town, Jozani Forest is a narrow neck of land between Chakwa Bay in the north and Uzi Bay to the south. Spot the rare red colobus monkeys and other wildlife. Explore the mangrove swamp and different species of trees while on tour.

SPECIAL WORKSHOPS

If you are interested in Swahili Cooking, Spice Blending, Traditional Dancing, Music Lessons, Henna Painting, Oud (Incense making), Batik or Tinga Tinga paintings, we are delighted to offer workshops at unique locations across the island. Just let us know and we will arrange these unique experiences for you!

INCREDIBLE ARRAY OF WATER SPORTS

From kitesurfing and parasailing to deep-sea diving to snorkeling with whale sharks on Mafia Island, Zanzibar Island Tanzania will keep you fully entertained from start to finish. Many beach resorts also offer various water sports lessons. You could become a pro by the time you leave Zanzibar island. An unforgettable, and fun experience all in one vacation! Read more about Top Zanzibar Hotels

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