Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

The concept of Zanzibar is very broad, because this name is given to:

1) Autonomy, which includes two main islands (Zanzibar; People’s Republic of Zanzibar);

2) Archipelago of islands;

3) One of the islands of the archipelago – Unguja (or Zanzibar);

4) The largest city of the archipelago.

Considering Zanzibar as a resort, we are, of course, talking about the island of Zanzibar. Zanzibar Island, aka Unguja, is one of the largest islands in the Zanzibar archipelago. Zanzibar is separated from the African mainland by the Zanzibar Strait. Around Zanzibar there are many smaller islands, of which only two are permanently inhabited. The largest city and capital is located on the west coast of the island, the city of Zanzibar. In addition to him, Mbweni, Mangapwani, Chwaka, Nungwi and Michenzani are also major centers.

Tourism certainly plays a very important role in the economy of the island – its stunning beaches, unique culture, combining Portuguese and British motifs, Arab heritage and African flavor, invariably attract tourists from all over the world.

Due to its unique location and convenient natural harbor, Zanzibar has long been a base for merchants who traded with India, Arabia and Africa.

According to necessaryhome, Zanzibar lies on the upper Tanzanian coast of the Indian Ocean, which over the centuries has been influenced by the many intermingling cultures that have formed the basis of today’s Zanzibar. This confusing mixture is a combination of African-Asian culture, with a touch of Persian, Arabic, Indian and Chinese influences, along with Dutch, Portuguese and English influences in addition. This island became famous for its spices (to this day, 75% of the world’s cloves are grown on Zanzibar) and the slave trade practiced here (the places where slaves were kept are still preserved in the Stone City, and there are amazing monuments). Once called the “island of spices”, Zanzibar is still often associated with spices, therefore, you can visit the four-hour excursion “Spice tour” (“tour of spices”) with a visit to exotic gardens, which grow all kinds of traditional fruits and spices. Many of them have useful unique properties and are used to this day both in medicine and in other fields. During the tour, everyone can independently appreciate the taste of fruits and spices.

The Persians of Shiraz and the Arabs of Oman settled here and ruled over the Sultanate of Zanzibar, which explains the Arab influences and Islam that have survived on the island to this day. The simple exteriors of many houses in Zanzibar are brought to life by massive carved and studded doors, many of which look shabby and already peeling. Indian influence is expressed here in colored glassware and ornate balconies with beautiful ornaments, and in the fact that Gujarati merchants sell almost everything here – from carnations to antiques. The English heritage here is the monolithic majestic buildings occupying the less accessible parts of Stone Town, the oldest part of Zanzibar City.

The main attraction of the island is the old Arab city of Stone Town (Stone City), built in the 30s of the XX century by the Sultan of Zanzibar as a new capital (now included in the UNESCO World Heritage List). Today, the “Stone City” is a real network of narrow winding streets, small palaces, traditional Arab stone houses with turrets and carved gates, small shops, markets, mosques and fortifications. The main attractions of the city are the old Arab fort (1710-1780) on the site of the Portuguese chapel, the Anglican Cathedral of Christ (1873-1874), the Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph (1893-1897), the Hindu temple of Shakti, one of the oldest mosques in the “Stone City” – Malindi, with a rare conical minaret, the Aga Khan and ”

Aside from its rich history, Zanzibar is a true tropical paradise: incredible beaches, simple fishing villages, relaxing resorts, peace and solitude if you so desire, or the hustle and bustle of the narrow streets of an ancient city.

Environmental legislation in Zanzibar prohibits the use of plastic bags for packaging goods in stores. Anyone found guilty of manufacturing, importing or selling plastic bags can be fined up to $2,000 or go to jail for up to a year. It is also not recommended to use in plain sight and especially to throw away the existing plastic bags.

The eastern part of the island has the most luxurious beaches and the coral reef stretching along them is a great place for scuba diving. Due to the location of the island, the coastal waters of the ocean are calm and have an average temperature of 27˚C. Coral reefs, inhabited by colorful fish, can be viewed in underwater expeditions, accessible to novice professionals. Encounters with dolphins and turtles add to the attraction of this underwater world.

One of the most spectacular sights is watching dolphins. Sailing on a small boat, curious dolphins will surround you from all sides. If you’re lucky, you can even swim side by side with them. In size, adult dolphins reach more than three meters, and in weight up to 350 kg.

In addition, the Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park is located on the island of Zanzibar, where the rarest red colobus lives (about 1,500 individuals remain in the world, of which 500 live in the Jozani forest), as well as white-throated monkeys, Galaga, more than 50 species of butterflies and 40 bird species. The forest of Jozani is the only forest remaining on the territory of the island, which previously covered the central part, which has been a National Park since 1960. The soil here is very wet, so moisture-loving trees and plants grow here, such as: palm trees, figs, bay trees, ferns, redwoods and mangroves.

A few kilometers west of Zanzibar is the small island of Prison Island (Prison Island). You can get to it in 15 minutes by boat, and in 30 minutes you can completely bypass the entire island. The island got its name because of the prison located on it, which was never used for its intended purpose. The island itself is interesting for the giant tortoises living on it, as well as tropical fish species living in coastal waters.

Since Zanzibar is located in the tropics, the weather is warm almost all year round.

The hottest month of the dry season is February with its maximum average daily temperature of 29°C. The southern hemisphere winter season is only slightly cooler here, with a very comfortable average water temperature of 21°C in August. The rainiest period on the island is from March to May, with possible rainy days in October and November.

Zanzibar Island, Tanzania