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Zanzibar, pseudonymized as “Spice Island,” is home to glorious idyllic white-sand beaches, balmy weather, and pristine, vibrant reefs. Once an active hotspot for commercial pursuits, Zanzibar today echoes the tragic past of the African slave trade.
Zanzibar island, constituted by the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, Unguja, and Pemba forms the semi-autonomous section of Tanzania. A culturally diverse population that includes people with either an African, Arabian or Indian ancestry are residents of the beautiful island who are always ready to welcome the multitude of travelers planning to spend their Zanzibar holidays, be it any time of the year.
Nearest airport: Zanzibar International airport
How to reach: by flight or by ferry from Dar es Salaam
Famous for: pristine white sand beaches, rich history and culture, water sports
Months open: All year
Best time to Visit: June to October, December to February
WHAT TO SEE
Pristine white sands beaches, Stone Town, Prison island
The Rock restaurant, Spice markets, Chumbe Island marine sanctuary
Mnemba Island Conservation Area, Dolphin Tour, Jozani forest tour
Water sports,Boating tours, Nightlife
Zanzibar is renowned for its azure waters and tantalizing beauty but the island has dark historic roots as a former slave and trade port, during the reign of Omani Sultanate. You can easily identify the hint of Arabic in the Swahili language, spoken by the natives in the twisted alleys of the historic Stone Town. The bustling bazaars, the rich spice culture, and the distinct architecture of Zanzibar stem from the roots of Arabic traditions.
The intriguing history coupled with the Zanzibar archipelago’s stunning beaches, fragrant spice plantations, and picturesque landscapes make the island a magnetic tourist spot. Some of the top beaches in Zanzibar packages include Nungwi and Kendwa, which is the definition of paradise for its scenic views, and also an excellent spot for party animals, especially on nights with a full moon.
Stone Town: Also called the Mij Mkongwe in Swahili, Stone The town makes up the oldest part of the city of Zanzibar. Labeled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Stone Town is popular for its rich cultural heritage made up of Indian, Persian, Arab, and European elements.
Things to do in Stone Town
Since it is the island’s main city, Stone Town with its mysterious alleyways and ancient doorways, has a lot to explore. Every night, a food market is hosted here, from where you can try the freshly barbecued seafood, the Zanzibar Pizza, and the Zanzibari trademark sugarcane juice.
Prison island: Prison Island, also called the Changuu Island, is a little way off the coast of Stone Town. Once a center of slave detainment and a place for quarantine, Prison Island now serves as a tourist hub, its the primary attraction being the giant sea tortoises.
The Rock restaurant: The Rock restaurant perched on a single rock in the Indian ocean is the perfect getaway to a fairytale. During high tide, a wooden boat would take you to the restaurant and at other times, you can cross the seaweed strewn beach to climb the rickety wooden staircase to enter the restaurant.
Spice markets: Spice tours can be exciting, for you get to explore the spice markets that contribute generously to the economy of Zanzibar. Some of the common spices you will come across include cinnamon, pepper, cloves, turmeric.
Chumbe Island marine sanctuary: An award-winning natural reserve, Chumbe Island marine sanctuary is popular for its sustainable management and conservation of uninhabited Chumbe Island. It houses a forest reserve that is choked with rare wildlife and a fully preserved coral reef sanctuary.
Mnemba Island Conservation Area: Visit the Mnemba Island Conservation Area to study the Green Turtles that breed in the surrounding waters and area of Mnemba Island. During your time spent here, you will also find a variety of migratory birds that occupy the island, using it as a secure roost.
Dolphin Tour:Watching the dolphins is a treat but getting to swim with them can be a lifetime opportunity. For most, snorkeling with friendly, bottlenose dolphins is a dream of Zanzibar come true.
Jozani forest tour:The Jozani forest is a part of Zanzibar’s Jozani-Chwaka National Park, which is now an established conservation area. Nowadays, the forest is most commonly known for providing shelter to one of the rarest African primates, i.e., Kirk’s red colobus monkeys.
Water sports:Some of the most common water sports in Zanzibar packages of tourism include snorkel and scuba dive around the Mnemba Atoll, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, water skiing, and wakeboarding, a perfect choice for adrenaline junkies.
Boating tours:Some of the boating tours you must go on to color your Zanzibar holidays include Safari Blue trip, Menai Bay sailing trip, and Sunset cruise. There is nothing more gratifying than experiencing the goodness of the seas and oceans, after all!
Nightlife:When you dream of Zanzibar, you dream of beaches and the active nightlife. You have plenty of options to spend your Zanzibar nightlife, be it reposing in a beach bar with the love of your life in Kendwa or hitting the upmarket nightclub in Stone Town.
Zanzibar is known for its diverse tastes and it is a golden chance for you to indulge in the same and make your judgment. Try out their Coconut Bean Soup, Date Nut Bread, Biryani ya Zanzibar, and Zanzibar Spice Pilau Rice.
How to reach:
Air: By flight or by taking the ferry from Dar Es Salaam.
Rail: No direct rail connection.
Road: There is no network of roads to access Zanzibar.
Where to stay:
Park Hyatt Stone Town: Park Hyatt Stone Town is the ultimate destination to experience the rich heritage, culture and the beauty of the idyllic EastAfrican island of Zanzibar that serves as the backdrop of the hotel.
Zuri Stone Town: Zuri Stone Town is the perfect spot for those that dream of Zanzibar to enhance their joys of traveling. It is also a great choice for those who want to try something off the tracks of Africa.
Melia Zanzibar: Melia Zanzibar is a leading international resort, ideal for honeymooners and vacationers. The resort is enclosed by a natural coral reef, that makes bathing a special experience.