Like many African countries, Tanzania and its island capital Zanzibar are a set of beautiful attractions to have on an African trip. Zanzibar(Ugunja) is an island off the east coast of Tanzania and thus one of the biggest islands in the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar is truly a peaceful spot to enjoy your vacations or crown off your safaris from the Game Parks or reserves across Tanzania. It covers an area on 1464sq kilometers, 36 kilometres away from the Tanzania coast in the Indian Ocean and is 76 kilometres from Dar es Salaam
Zanzibar Town is made up of two sections, the “old city” known as Stone Town and then the newer part of town called Ng’ambo. The entire Island comes with a deep, exceptional history which happens to be written on its winding streets, through the pretty ancient architectural designs, food, music and within its people too. The breathtaking beauty of its coastline and the magnificence of the historical Stone Town make Zanzibar one of the world’s famous touring destinations for honeymoons and beach holidays
With the vibrant celebrations to the unique heritage, and fresh environment this place undeniably has a thing or two for all! Stone Town is the capital of the island Zanzibar and even offers plenty of the attractions over the island.
One of the very first sights in this town is the House of wonders which also is the main island museum. This 130 year old building is a former mansion of one of the Sultans of Zanzibar and was the first site to have running water and electricity. The balcony of the house is a good place to have an overview of the town.
The old fort is another sight in the town. The fort is a famous art and craft centre-a good place to shop for antiques and gifts cheaply.
The old slave market of Zanzibar is not far way from here. The market gives you a bigger picture of the slave trade times. Across the market is the Anglican church which statues and a monument to commemorate the trying times of slavery in Zanzibar. The church was built in the courtyard where slaves were auctioned before they were shipped to mainland Tanzania port of Bagamoyo and later sold to the Arabs.
Other interesting sights in the town include the central market. This market is known for its freshly sold spices and food grown on the island. You probably want to buy some of these excellent spices to take home for yourself or as gift for your parents.
A stroll through the narrow alleys in the town takes you back in time-times of the explorers and slave trade. Afternoons in the countryside are best ways to relax on the island away from the noise of the port and the buzzing markets. There are many farms on the island growing sugarcane, coconuts, palm oil plantations and finally spices such as nutmeg, turmeric, black pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and many others.
Although this island is not as gifted as mainland Tanzania in Africa safari adventures, you’ll surely find a few extraordinary forest reserves that have remained pristine for many years.
Jozani Forest reserve boasts the Red Colobus monkey an exceptional primate distinct by the distinctive coat pattern, feeding habits and then noises. There are several sights including bush babies, Sykes monkey, duikers besides chirping birds and more 50 species of colorful butterflies. Ngezi Forest reserve is small safari gateway for Zanzibar holidays with sights like the local flying fox, duikers and hotting owls. You do not want to miss the Pemba fox, which is extinct specie only found in Kidike Root Site.
Shopping in Zanzibar
For those that love shopping, the markets have fresh fruits, great tasting seafood, beef, spices and lots other goods that are suitable souvenirs as well as gifts.
Different types of carvings of pots, models of dhows, silver necklaces, clove pomanders, crafted baskets and coffee spoons are some of the distinct items you have to purchase. There are so many things that you can be lured to get.
Zanzibar and Tanzania rhyme for spices and delightful cuisine. The food at the island has a distinctive taste with a blend of home grown spices. Some of the foods you’ll be served include potatoes, pilau (spiced rice), chappati, peas, fish, chicken, beef stew and many other Tanzanian delicacies. Be sure to ask the guide to help out with identifying the food on the menu-Believe me you’ll need the help.
There is an option of passing on your recipe for dinner to the chef at the restaurant but this comes at an extra cost. Remember that we are on an adventure and tasting the different dishes of Zanzibar is no exception.
Some of the best restaurants to have dinner include Mercury Restaurant where tables are set a deck overlooking the beach.
When you mention beach holidays in Africa, Zanzibar is one the destination top of the list. The turquoise waters are dramatically lined with saying palms and pristine sand. If you are the kind that likes peace and quiet…Zanzibar is your home. Adventures are endless here with surfing, sport fishing, scuba diving or even take a boat ride to mainland Tanzania for Serengeti safaris and tours of the neighboring islands of Lamu and Pemba.
Book your Zanzibar Holidays here and you not miss a thing about Zanzibar, Kenya and Tanzania. We will have your tours privately tailored, hotel accommodation booked and flights arranged on time.
There is a ferry that leaves the port at Dar-es-salaam at 7am. It is advisable that you the departure times right because you might find the ferry gone. Besides, an early arrival and boarding is good enough to get the best seats for the cruise.
The ferry has first class section and the economy class. Alternatively tourists and travelers can use the deck for best views of the turquoise waters of the Indian ocean. The ferry ride to the island’s port is roughly a two hour ride.
As you draw closer to the big island, there is sight of the island’s capital Stone town which is the biggest attraction on the island. Your arrival at the port is not spared of the hustlers and travel agents looking for tourists or travelers with no agenda. If you have visited most capital cities around Africa and Asia, you must be familiar with what I am talking about here.
What kind of accommodation would you expect on island? Believe me Zanzibar is quite exceptional in the range of accommodation to choose from. Of course there are many backpacker’s options in motels and Inns such as St Monica’s guesthouse, Princess Samle Innn and others.
There are also some luxurious hotels and resorts near the beaches to spend the night.
Zanzibar Tour Add-ons
Trips to Zanzibar islands are not isolated with tours of Pemba Island which forms part of the Zanzibar archipelago. Pemba island is about 50 km long from the mainland coast of Tanzania and is the second largest island off the Tanzania Indian Ocean coast. The two islands share a long history of Early explorers and traders an was thus known as ‘Al Jazeera Al Khadura‘-the green island regarded more fertile than its neighbor Zanzibar.
Other interesting islands to tour off the Tanzanian coast include Lamu, Seychelles, Mombasa and many others.