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Zanzibar Tourist AttractionsRSS

Spice Island


Zanzibar Island is an archipelago made up of Unguja (Zanzibar) and Pemba Island and several islets. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 40 km from the Tanzanian coast and 6° south of the equator. The island is 96 km long and 32 km wide. Zanzibar is a province of Tanzania.

The island has played a part in local history out of all proportion to its size. The reason is its easy access to traders and adventurers exploring down the east coast of Africa from Arabia. The Assyrians, Sumerians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch and English have all been there at one time or another. Some, particularly, the Shirazi Persians and Omani Arabs, stayed to settle and rule. With this influence, Zanzibar has become predominantly Islamic (95%), the remaining 5% is made up of Christians.

In the 19th century, Zanzibar's sultanate controlled East Africa's major slave and ivory routes. Caravans started out from Bagamoyo on the mainland coast, travelling as much as 1,000 miles on foot as far as Lake Tanganyika, buying slaves from local rulers on the way, or, more cheaply, simply capturing them. The slaves were chained together and used to carried ivory back to Bagamoyo. The name Bagamoyo means 'lay down your heart' because it was here that slaves would abandon hope of freedom. Slaves who survived the long trek from the interior were crammed into dhows bound for Zanzibar, and paraded for sale like cattle in the Slave Market. The long road to the abolition of the slave trade started in 1920, but it took almost 100 years before this came to reality.

For pragmatic reasons Zanzibar became the starting point of all expeditions into the main land. Most followed the long established caravan routes. Burton, Speke, Grant, Livingstone and Stanley all started their expeditions with the help of the Sultanate and penetrated the mainland via Bagamoyo and Kilwa.

Fishing and agriculture are the main economic activities of the local people. Zanzibar was once the world’s largest producer of cloves. Although cloves are still a major export along with coconut products and spices, tourism is developing each year.

Zanzibar has beautiful sandy beaches with coral reefs and the magic of historic Stone Town. The beaches in Zanzibar are a paradise, interspersed with picturesque fishing villages where the people live a simple way of life, unchanged over the years.


Swahili: Swahili is the most extensively spoken language in sub-Saharan Africa. Swahili is an amalgamation of Arabic and several Bantu languages and is thought to be derived from Arabic for the word 'coast'. Moreover it has its roots in Zanzibar, historically the largest Arabic settlement on the East African coast. As such, the purest Swahili is said to be spoken in Zanzibar, and there is a well-known Institute of Swahili studies on Zanzibar island.

Spice Island: The spices were brought into Zanibar by the Sultans of Oman and since the 16th century, they were an important commodity on the trade routes. Zanzibar was once the world’s largest producer of cloves.Today you can visit the plantations and find cloves, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, ylang-ylang, and cardamom.

The Carved Doors: A real treasure of Zanzibar, anywhere you look at, you can find this wonderfully carved doors. You can see old and new doors, little and huge. Take your time and wonder around and, if you dare, cross the doors and meet the people inside; they are friendly and helpful. Indian and Arabic influence can both be seen in these ornately carved wooden doors. Each door is unique and was meant to reflect the socio-economic status and religious beliefs of the house or store owner. Some doors have koranic verses on them, some others with brass ornamentation were imported from India. One of the most impressive doors is one of gigantic proportions that serves as the entrance to the Sultan's Palace (now a museum). It has impressive brass spokes in it and distinctly Indian in design.

Traditional Zanzibar Beds: Traditional Zanzibar beds are essentially very large 4 poster/canopy beds. The canopy holds your mosquito net (essential), where it can be pulled back during the day. The head board and foot board are very high and have decorative panels. Most of the panels have paintings of simple objects like fruit. These beds are truly original and it's reasonable to assume that they are from Omani origin. Today the Zanzibar beds are part of the typical Zanzibar style used in most of the accommodation on the island.

Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey: One of Africa's rarest primates, the Zanzibar red colobus may number only about 1500. Isolated on this island for at least 1,000 years, the Zanzibar red colobus is recognized as a distinct species, with different coat patterns, calls and food habits of colobus species on the mainland. Today it has become the symbol of conservation in Zanzibar!

The beaches: The beaches in Zanzibar are a paradise, interspersed with picturesque fishing villages, where the people live a simple way of life, unchanged over the years. There are more than 25 fantastic beaches in Zanzibar, and some are so peaceful and remote that the only noise breaking the silence is likely to be the ocean.

The seaweeds fisherwomen: A harvest in the ocean... it is a new source of wealth for Zanzibar. Sea weeds are grown well all around the coast of Zanzibar with the exception of some area where there is cold water from rivers and result in lack of enough salinity for sea weed to grow. After having been picked up, cleaned and dried, the seaweeds are exported to Japan and Europe in order to be used as jellifying and emulsifying agent. In the clear waters of Zanzibar archipelago, seaweeds open out like flowers.

The dhows: The traditional dhows became the maritime symbol of East Africa. The art of sailing was allready known for two millenia to the east Africans. The main dhow building centre was at the north coast of Zanzibar Island, where the teak forests were. In Stone town you can book an one-day cruise at a dhow, visiting a sandbank, a reef and two islands. Also common are the 8 M long mashua dhows, that shuttle between Zanzibar and the mainland.

Ngalawa: At the beaches of Zanzibar you will see a lot of the traditional dug-out canoes with outriggers to balance the canoe, the so-called ngalawa. This type of canoes is used by the by the Swahili fishermen allready for centuries.

Tinga Tinga: Widely available in Zanzibar, Tinga Tinga paintings are becoming well-known in the Isles and mainland Tanzania. Tinga tinga paintings have been named according to Edward Said Tinga Tinga (1937-1972). He was born in Mozambique, but during the 1960s he established an art form that became associated with his new homeland, Tanzania. Today, "Tingatinga" is the Tanzanian term for this form of art, known mostly around the world.

Over the years, knowledge about Tingatinga has spread to other parts of Africa and Europe, as well as to other English-speaking parts of the world. Tingatinga is a concept that development assistance workers and African tourists alike have been drawn to, but which, over time, has lost its uniqueness.

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Zanzibar Travel Information

ZANZIBAR IN BRIEF The Islands can be described as the ancient Island at the same time known as the (SPICE ISLAND) of the Indian Ocean. The clove trees which were introduced to the Island in 19th century, between 1820 – 1830 proved successful and in short period of time, the Island became an important commercial center internationally. Today there are still large clove trees which perfumes the Island evening breezes. In the Long run the Island has been renamed as Zanzibar from its original n ...

Telephone+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
Zanzibar Stone Town

Stone Town of Zanzibar It may not have a particularly romantic name, but Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar, little changed in the last 200 years. It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This one-upmanship is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors - there are more than 500 different examples of this Handiwork. You can s ...

Telephone+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
Zanzibar Historical Sites

HISTORICAL SITES The Old Dispensary (now known as the Stone Town Cultural Centre) is a grand four story building with a set of decorative balconies. It served as a dispensary during colonial times but fell into disrepair in the 1970's and 1980's. It is one of the Stone Town buildings that has been successfully restored, in this case with funding from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. It can be found on Zanzibar's seafront on Mizingani road. Zanzibar Town market is a great place to visit even i ...

Telephone+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
The dolpins of Kizimkazi > Menai Bay Conservation Area

The dolpins of Kizimkazi - Menai Bay Conservation Area Menai Bay was gazetted in 1998 and is a conservation area with a sea-turtle breeding area, several coral reefs, an abundance of marine life and dense mangrove forests. It is also famous for its humpback and bottle-nose dolphins. The conservation area includes Fumba peninsula and several small islands. Parks & places Safaris featuring this park Menai Bay is a community based conservation project and Kizimkazi fishing village falls ...

Telephone+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
The beaches of Zanzibar

The beaches of Zanzibar No visit to Zanzibar is complete without some time on the beach. The island has some of the most picturesque beaches imaginable and there are more than 25 beaches! Long stretches of palm fringed, white sands with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean make this, the perfect place to relax after a safari. The dilemma for those visiting Zanzibar is that they have to choose were to spend most of their time. Every coast on the Island has different charms! To help you with your ...

Telephone+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
Stone Town>Zanzibar

Stone Town Since the Arab traders first arrived in as early as the 8th century, Zanzibar has been famous for the slave trading, the spices and for being the base-camp and origin of many British expeditions in the 19th century. It's from Stone Town that in 1857 Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke started their expedition to the main land in search of the Source of the Nile. The Old Stone Town (the old city of Zanzibar) has several monuments and churches, but its main attractive a ...

Telephone+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
Prison Island (Changuu Island)

Prison Island (Changuu Island) In the 1860s, the desolate island was given to two Arabs by the Sultan Seyyid Majid. They used it as a detention centre for rebel slaves. In 1893, after Zanzibar became a British Protectorate, General Sir Lloyd William Mathews bought Changuu Island for the Zanzibar Government from its former Arab owners with the objective of building a prison. The island was sold by the Arabs especially because slave trade had been abolished. A prison to serve Zanzibar ...

Telephone+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
Jozani>Chakwa Bay National Park

Jozani-Chakwa Bay National Park Jozani forest lies about 35 km south-east of Stone Town in the south of the Island and lies between the Chwaka Bay in the north and Uzi Bay. Jozani was officially declared a forest reserve in 1960 and until recently only the forest was gazetted. The conservation area has been expanded in 1984 to a gazetted area over 2512 ha that includes the whole ground water forest, coral rag forest and salt marsh area. The reserve contains about 100 tree species from a ...

Telephone+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450
Chumbe Island Coral Park

Chumbe Island Coral Park Chumbe Island is a nature reserve and a marine protected area that encloses one of the richest coral gardens in the world. From the beginning, the island recruited local fishermen from adjacent villages. It’s important that they support the nature conservation and benefit from the project. They are trained as rangers and will guide visitors for snorkeling in the Reef Sanctuary. Parks & places Safaris featuring this park You may explore the nature reserve u ...

Telephone+256.392.897.704, +44.790.863.9450

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