Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, and several islets. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast, and 6° south of the equator. Zanzibar Island (known locally as Unguja, but as Zanzibar internationally) is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide, occupying a total area of approximately 650 square miles. It is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of historic Stone Town – said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa.
Stone town is the old and cultural heart of Zanzibar. It’s a town of bustling bazaars, mosques and grand extravagant Arab houses. Most of the houses were built in the 19th century. You will be able to see two cathedrals and numerous mosques.
Stone Town was recently and deservedly declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The history of Zanzibar would be incomplete without the spice plantations. Cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and other spices are among the finest quality in the world. Zanzibar used to be the world’s largest producer of cloves! These spices were the ones that attracted the sultans of Oman and thereafter started the infamous slave trade.
Zanzibar is reputed to have some of the best diving in the world and the coral reefs around the island ensure that the marine life is abundant. There are several dive centers and most run courses using the international PADI system.
Make sure that you visit the Jozani forest where you will see the rare red colobus monkey that is endemic to Zanzibar, the spice tour, the prison island, the Kizimkazi mosque and the dolphin tour.