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Zanzibar Island Tanzania

Zanzibar Island Tanzania

Zanzibar is everything you imagine of an Indian Ocean island – mile upon mile of beautiful White Sand beaches lined with palm trees and turquoise waters. The island’s capital, Zanzibar Town, is a hive of activity. This honeypot of local culture attracts tourists into its central ‘Stone Town’, a myriad of narrow streets where travelers explore the town’s compelling architecture, haggle at market stalls, and learn about the island’s fascinating history.

A trip to the island is not complete without a night in Stone Town to appreciate the importance of this little place. The Name Zanzibar is derived from a combination of two Arabic words, ‘Zenj’, meaning black, and ‘bar’, being the Arabic word for land, resulting in the ancient title ‘Land of the Blacks’. As Zanzibar absorbed peoples from as far as the Orient and Iberia, Assyria, and India.

Zanzibar, Swahili: Zanzibar; Arabic: زنجبار,) is an insular semi-autonomous province that united with Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. It is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 km (16–31 mi) off the coast of the African mainland, and consists of many small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, referred to informally as Zanzibar) and Pemba Island. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja. Its historic center, Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site.

Zanzibar’s main industries are Spices,  raffia, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. For this reason, the Zanzibar Archipelago, together with Tanzania’s Mafia Island, is sometimes referred to locally as the “Spice Islands”. Tourism in Zanzibar is a more recent activity, driven by government promotion that caused an increase from 19,000 tourists in 1985, to 376,000 in 2016. The islands are accessible via 5 ports and the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, which can serve up to 1.5 million passengers per year.

Zanzibar’s marine ecosystem is an important part of the economy for fishing and algaculture and contains important marine ecosystems that act as fish nurseries for Indian Ocean fish populations. Moreover, the land ecosystem is the home of the endemic Zanzibar red colobus, the Zanzibar servaline genet, and the extinct or rare Zanzibar leopard. Pressure from the tourist industry and fishing as well as larger threats such as sea level rise caused by climate change are creating increasing environmental concerns throughout the region.

Zanzibar, Swahili Unguja, island in the Indian Ocean, lying 22 miles (35 km) off the coast of east-central Africa. In 1964 Zanzibar, together with Pemba Island and some other smaller islands, joined with Tanganyika on the mainland to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Area 600 square miles (1,554 square km). Pop. (2007est.) 713,000.

The History of Zanzibar Tanzania

The presence of microliths suggests that Zanzibar has been home to humans for at least 20,000 years, which was the beginning of the Later Stone Age. A Greco-Roman text between the 1st and 3rd centuries, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, mentioned the island of Menuthias (Ancient Greek), which is probably Unguja. Zanzibar, like the nearby coast, was settled by Bantu speakers at the outset of the first millennium.

Archaeological finds at Fukuchani, on the northwest coast of Zanzibar, indicate a settled agricultural and fishing community from the 6th century at the latest. The considerable amount of daub found indicates timber buildings, and shell beads, bead grinders, and iron slag have been found at the site.

Zanzibar’s history was greatly shaped by its geography, the prevailing winds of the region placing it directly on the Indian Ocean trade routes and making it accessible to both traders and colonists from Arabia, south Asia, and the African mainland. The first immigrants were the Africans; the next was the Persians, who began to land in Zanzibar in the 10th century and who, over a brief period, became absorbed into the local population and disappeared as a separate group. Their influence was left in the gradual consolidation of disparate villages and rural populations into what came to be recognized as two peoples, the Hadimu and the Tumbatu.

This African-Persian population converted to Islam and adopted many Persian traditions. (Even today, most of Zanzibar’s African population calls itself “Shirazi,” in an echo of the ancient Persian principality of Shīrāz, from which the earliest Persians came.) Arabs had the deepest influence on Zanzibar because the island’s position made it a perfect entrepot for Arabs mounting slave expeditions into Africa and conducting oceangoing commerce. Arabs from Oman became especially important, for they began establishing colonies of merchants and landowners in Zanzibar. Eventually, they became the aristocracy of the island.

The Portuguese then came in the 16th century and conquered all the seaports on the eastern African coast, including Mombasa, the richest and most powerful, as well as such islands as Zanzibar and parts of the Arabian coast, including the Omani capital of Muscat. The purpose of the Portuguese, however, was largely commercial rather than politically imperial, and, when their power dwindled in the 17th century, they left few marks of their stay.

The Omani Arabs, who expelled the Portuguese from Muscat in 1650 and were the leading force against them in the entire region, gradually established at least nominal control over many settlements, including Zanzibar. After a lengthy turmoil of dynastic wars and losses and gains on the African coast, the ruling sultan of Oman, Saʿīd ibn Sulṭān, decided to relocate his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar.

The rapid expansion of the slave trade in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, caused by the demand for plantation slaves in North and South America, made Zanzibar central to the slave (as well as the ivory) trade routes into the interior of Africa. Zanzibar itself also had significant resources of coconuts, cloves, and foodstuffs. The Sultan of Oman made it his capital in 1832.

In 1861 Zanzibar was separated from Oman and became an independent sultanate, which controlled the vast African domains acquired by Saʿīd. Under the sultan Barghash (reigned 1870–88), however, Great Britain and Germany divided most of Zanzibar’s territory on the African mainland between them and secured economic control over the remaining coastal strip. In 1890 the British proclaimed a protectorate over Zanzibar itself, which lasted for more than 70 years; the sultan’s authority was reduced and the slave trade was curtailed.

During that time most sultans were aligned with the British. One notable exception was Khālid ibn Barghash, who seized the throne upon the death of his uncle, Hamad ibn Thuwayn, on August 25, 1896. The British, interested in installing their candidate as sultan, issued an ultimatum to Khalid either stand down by 9:00 AM on August 27 or be at war with Great Britain. Khālid refused to step down, and the Anglo-Zanzibar War began. The brief battle between Khālid’s supporters and the British Royal Navy took less than an hour and is considered the shortest war in recorded history. After Khālid’s defeat, the British-supported Hamud ibn Mohammed was installed as sultan.

In 1963 the sultanate regained its independence, becoming a member of the British Commonwealth. In January 1964 a revolt by leftists overthrew the sultanate and established a republic. The revolution marked the overthrow of the island’s long-established Arab ruling class by the Africans, who were the majority of the population. In April the presidents of Zanzibar and Tanganyika signed an act of union of their two countries, creating what later in the year was named Tanzania.

Surfing on the Southeast Coast-

Surfing is getting more popular on the island. The Southeast Coast offers a variety of surf spots for different level surfers. Guaranteed uncrowded surf in crystal clear warm waters with a consistent waist-high wave for beginners and shoulder-to-head high wave for advanced can be found on the island. The reefs are flat and beginner friendly in some sections and can be gnarly with sea urchins if you do not know the spots. Self-exploring missions are not recommendable. For a good surf experience in Zanzibar, a guide is essential. We Have a surf school on the island of Zanzibar that offers information for beginners, intermediates, and advanced surfers. A variety of surfboards is available to rent.


Stone Town

Stonetown of Zanzibar also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for ‘old town’), is the old part of Zanzibar City, the main city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania. The newer portion of the city is known as Ng’ambo, Swahili for ‘the other side’. Stone Town is located on the western coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago. A former capital of the Zanzibar Sultanate, and a flourishing center of the spice trade as well as the slave trade in the 19th century, it retained its importance as the main city of Zanzibar during the period of the British protectorate.

When Tanganyika and Zanzibar joined each other to form the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar kept a semi-autonomous status, with Stone Town as its local government seat. Stone Town is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying the Swahili culture, giving a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian, and European elements. For this reason, the town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Due to its heritage, Stone Town is also a major visitor attraction in Tanzania, and a large part of its economy depends on tourism-related activities.


At the northern tip of the island. Very popular with tourists since swimming in the ocean is possible even at low tide. Quite overcrowded with tourists in season. There are multiple activities you can do in Nungwi, Deep Sea Fishing with “Hooked on Fishing” in Nungwi on the North Coast. Kitesurf. They also offer Kendwa Beach and Matemwe kite beach.

Zanzibar Cycling Adventures takes you to some of the island’s hidden treasures, offering cycling tours around the Northern region of Zanzibar. You get a bit of culture, history, exercise, and fun… all on a bicycle!

Do not miss out on one of the best dives in East Africa with Spanish Dancer Divers, We daily arrange trips to the famous Mnemba Atoll Marine Park for divers and snorkelers. Mnemba Atoll is known for having clear warm waters. Dolphin and Green Turtle encounters are very common, though not guaranteed.


A few km south of Nungwi, also very popular with tourists. Kendwa Beach On the North Western coast is beautiful. Here you can swim during low and high tide, which is not always possible on the East side of the island. Just beware of the “Sea Urchins” that give a powerful sting if stepped upon during low tide. Kendwa offers lots of beach bars and restaurants serving everything from pizza to local curries.

Kendwa Beach is also known for the Full Moon Party, arranged Saturdays just before or after a full moon. While not as big or extreme as those arranged in Thailand, the parties in Zanzibar attract quite a large group of people, especially when the full moon coincides with public holidays in Europe and North America (eg Easter and Christmas).

The Beaches on the South East coast are popular among travelers. The sand is brilliant white, and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean are a deep teal. Here, you can


Matemwe is a traditional village on the North East Coast of Zanzibar. At the long beach, there are several small hotels and lodges. The famous Mnemba Island is very close. Matemwe is a village on the northeastern coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, between Mwangaseni and Kigomani. Its economy is mostly based on seaweed farming and fishing.

The village is the seat of an education project aimed at providing computer literacy to the population of the area, as well as the Dada (in Swahili: “sister”) cooperative that is intended to create job opportunities for Zanzibari women involving them in the processing and preparation of handmade cosmetics and food products such as jam, mustard and sweets that are sold in Stone Town.


And of course, on the East Coast, you have Paje. For many, the best beach on the island is if you travel with kids or to practice kite-surfing; it is an idyllic place to relax, for walking and enjoying the tropical feeling in shallow waters.

The town itself, however, has grown and offers an excellent variety of activities, shopping, and nightlife, so every traveler will find in Paje just what he or she is searching for. It is also probably the best spot to sleep because of its centric location that will make shorter any trip to any other point of the island.

The liveliest village on the South East coast is known for excellent kiteboarding conditions, great diving, a stunning beach, and excellent restaurants. Kitesurf is a popular sport in Paje Beach, where the crystalline lagoon waters and reef protection offer ideal conditions for both advanced and beginner kitesurfers. At full moon, the lagoon may be very full and conditions may be suboptimal, Find plenty of opportunities for scuba diving.


Jambiani is a small old fishing village on the southeast coast of Zanzibar,10 km south of Paje, Jambiani has a beautiful 7 km long beach with swaying palms, It is still really authentic with only a few small lodges and guesthouses. a quieter option than Paje with plenty of restaurants to choose from. Jambiani has a laid-back vibe with friendly local people who mix with tourists. Their main source of income is fishing and seaweed farming. This is a great place to get a good insight into the local way of life and everything is within walking distance


The East Coast of Zanzibar is broken, and the sea infiltrates into the land on Chwaka Bay, right into the mangroves of Jozani Forest. Enclosing this bay, you find the Michamvi Peninsula, which should be a must for you: dreamy beaches, several landscapes with the Indian Ocean on one side and the mangroves and the bay on the other, and one of the most picturesque restaurants of the island, placed upon a rock! The remotest village on the South East coast, a small picturesque fishermen’s village with Zanzibar’s greatest sunset beach.


At the southeast tip of the island. 70 km from Stone Town. It has its hospital, magistrate’s court, and secondary school. The village is famous for the “Mwaka Kogwa” festival which happens in July. The beaches are some distance away from the village and are quiet, away from it all. For travelers who are looking for peace.


A small fishing village famous for the Dolphin tours. The most antic mosque in Africa is to be found in Kizimkazi Dimbani. Kizimkazi – officially Kizimkazi Mkunguni, also known as Kizimkazi Mtendeni – is a fishing village on the southern coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania, and was once a walled city. It is three miles southeast of the Kizimkazi Mosque (located in Kizimkazi Dimbani, commonly known just as Dimbani). In recent years, Kizimkazi has become a major tourist attraction, as daily boat tours are organized to bring visitors offshore to watch bottlenose dolphins, while on a boat tour. You can also jump and swim with these beautiful creatures.


Zanzibar has a tropical monsoon climate (Am). The heat of summer (corresponding to the Northern Hemisphere winter) is often cooled by strong sea breezes associated with the northeast monsoon (known as Kaskazi in Kiswahili), particularly on the north and east coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm year-round. The rainfall regime is split into two main seasons, a primary maximum in March, April, and May in association with the southwest monsoon (known locally as Kusi in Kiswahili), and a secondary maximum in November and December. The months in between receive less rain, with a minimum in July

Getting to Zanzibar

Direct flights to Zanzibar: Condor, Jetfly, Ethiopian Airways, Kenyan Airways, Oman Air, Qatar Airlines, Arkia Israeli Airlines, KLM, FlyDubai, Meridian, Fastjet, Mango, and Turkish Airlines. There is talk that other international airlines (like Emirates) might get permission to land in Zanzibar soon. Other airlines fly to Dar es Salaam.

ZANZIBAR is served by many international direct flights that are ever-expanding. Zanzibar International Airport which is also named Kisauni Airport and is the only airport on the island of Unguja. Zanzibar is served by several airlines offering convenient flights from the United States and Europe.

Ethiopian Airlines offers the most comprehensive flight schedules and most convenient service from the U.S. mainland Africa, Asia, and Europe via Addis Ababa to Zanzibar, it regularly operates approximately 21-hour, one-stop flights from Washington D.C with a short stop in Addis Ababa.

The airline also offers convenient alternative routes at a low cost with stops in other US or European cities for passengers traveling from smaller airports. Cheap and convenient flights to Zanzibar are available on many other airlines operating flights to Zanzibar.

Airline choice is great and ever-expanding, including major US and international carriers like KLM, Lufthansa, British Airways, and American Airlines in cooperation with Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, and Fly Dubai in partnership with Emirates. These major carriers offer multiple flights and schedules which can be customized to your needs.

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