Holidays to Zanzibar or Unguja as locals call it, is an island that has gained immense popularity as a tourist destination as of late. Zanzibar has a fascinating history and is rich in culture. There are endless activities for all interests in this city, from nature to culture or war to culinary.
The history of this island has been quite tumultuous and troubled. Conquered first by Arabs, Zanzibar was subsequently conquered by the Persians, the Portuguese, the Arabs again and then finally the British before gaining independence in 1963. The diversity that has resulted from this rich history is apparent during a Zanzibar holiday in the architecture, culture, customs and cuisine throughout the island.
Get off the plane or boat onto the Zanzibar Archipelago and brace yourself for a journey through time taking you across the centuries. From ancient Persia and the fables of Shiraazi merchants’ voyages that gave birth to Sinbad the Sailor to the courts of Omani sultans and Swahili princes. Your holiday in Zanzibar is complemented by the thick laden scents from India. Zanzibar Island is also called The Spice Island, as it was a key hub of Spice Trade many centuries ago. These days, Zanzibar happens to be one of those few places left in the world for the growing and production of saffron together with other Middle Eastern and Asian spices such as cardamom, nutmeg and ginger. A visit to when of the many spice farms during your holiday to Zanzibar is a must.
Zanzibar holidays begin on the beautiful white sand beaches at that spread across the east, south and north coast. The water here is as clear as crystals and the sand as white as snow. There also a number of caves in Zanzibar like Tazani which is near Nungwi. Take a tour through the villages and experience a lifestyle from years goneby that remains very much alive today. The friendly and hospitable locals are a pleasure to meet, although, as the majority of the population is Muslim, don’t dress in beachwear outside of your resort. Amazing nature trails in the Jozani Forest that are home to Red Colobus Monkeys as well as a variety of exotic plants and trees await you when you grow tired of the beach. These Monkeys can’t live anywhere else other than Zanzibar, as they require 70 types of different plants, fruits and berries for food, that only grow on this island. Although there is an entrance fee a large portion of it fee goes to the upkeep and protection of the wildlife.
When planning your holiday in Zanzibar, you ought to have Stone Town on your list of places to visit. In 2000, UNESCO declared the inner city a World Heritage Site. It blends the Moorish, Arab, African and Indian architectures and traditions in an absolutely marvellous way. You can spend days simply strolling through the labyrinthine of alleys of Stone Town. The inner city is not big and you can easily explore it on foot. You will find a few old and magnificent buildings which have been converted to hotels, restaurants and clubs.
A spice tour to one of the many spice farms in the island will offer you the opportunity to learn about the harvesting of cinnamon, kukurma and jack fruit. You will even be allowed to taste the produce. Surfing in the uncrowded crystal clear and warm waters around the Southeast Coast is a popular activity whilst on holiday in Zanzibar and there are a number of surfing spots for surfers of all levels. Self-exploration is not recommended and the services of a good guide who can also arrange rental of surfing equipment is essential. Zarnibar also offers one of the finest dives in the East Africa. Daily trips are available to the popular Mnemba Atoll Marine Park for snorkelers and divers. This park is famous for its clear, warm waters excellent visibility and the chance to encounter Dolphins and Green Turtles.
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