A truly unique African destination, Zanzibar exhibits the eclectic mix of purely East African flavour, with an Arabic influence and a lingering hint of European colonialism. The resulting concoction is the height of Swahili culture and the foundation of a diverse destination. Its contrast is the natural beauty of Jozani Forest, home to endemic Zanzibar wildlife and the white sandy beaches and inviting turquoise waters of Ras Nungwi Village in the north. Consisting of two main islands Zanzibar and Pemba, Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. Known as the ‘Spice island’ for the obvious reason, Zanzibar holds a more sinister distinction of at one time being the heart of the East African Slave Trade and home of the longstanding ivory trade. Whilst these dubious trades have long since been abolished their presence remains somehow in the historic architecture and layout of Stone Town the oldest functioning town in East Africa.
As one wends their way through the narrow streets and alleys of Stone Town, past ornately carved ‘Zanzibar doors’; the scent of sandalwood, coffee and spices drifts on the breeze announcing ones arrival at the markets. This olfactory delight awakens the senses and takes one back into the glory and grandeur of Zanzibar’s chequered past. The markets work in a traditional manner where bargaining and banter is all part of the deal and a wonderful cultural experience.
From the culture and history rich Stone Town to the Pemba channel where one can try their hand (or whole body) at big game fishing. Sail fish, Marlin and Yellow Fin Tuna are the sought after prize, however there are plenty more fish in the sea if luck isn’t on side. The waters off Zanzibar hold the best dive sites in East Africa and there are fully qualified SCUBA diving operators who are only too happy to show visitors their version of paradise. Zanzibar is an excellent after safari destination to relax and unwind, but is also a wonderful diverse destination in its own right.