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.
When is he best time to visit Zanzibar?
Zanzibar is blessed with a typically tropical climate, and this makes for year round hot and humid weather.
Having said that, the best time to visit Zanzibar is during the slightly cooler spring months of August to October.
You will probably want to avoid the rainy season. The rains fall from March to May and are so heavy in April that some hotels close.
It is best not to go to Zanzibar during the fasting month of Ramadan as eating, drinking, and smoking in public become a contentious issue for visitors. At this time of year most restaurants are closed during the day, and even those eating establishments that are open will make you feel a little awkward. The commencement and ending dates for Ramadan change by a few weeks every year so it is best to check carefully before you visit Zanzibar.
Zanzibar tours combine laid-back, luxurious Zanzibar accommodation with interesting activities and Zanzibar locations to create an exotic African island experience.
Many people choose Zanzibar tours that combine the beaches of Zanzibar with classic safari destinations in Tanzania and Kenya , After all, why not wash off the dust of the bush with a swim in the sapphire waters of the Indian Ocean?
Once in Zanzibar, remember to explore the spice island and its culture by including one of our Day tours.