Zanzibar Archipelago / Islands
Zanzibar is an island partner within the United Republic of Tanzania, located in the Indian Ocean about 38 km off the coast of mainland Tanzania at six degrees south of the Equator. Zanzibar is made up of many islands, the main two being Unguja (sometimes called Zanzibar) and Pemba. The highest point is 390 feet above sea level.
For centuries the Arabs sailed with the monsoon winds from Oman to trade primarily in ivory, slaves and spices. The two main islands, Unguja (normally known as Zanzibar Island) and Pemba, provided an ideal base for the Oman Arabs, being relatively small, and therefore fairly easy to defend.
Indeed, in 1832, Sultan Seyyid Said, of the Busaid dynasty that had emerged in Oman, moved his Sultanate from Muscat to Zanzibar, perhaps making it easier to protect, where he and his descendants ruled for over 130 years. Most of the wealth lay in the hands of the Arab community, who were the main landowners at that time.
The population of Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim with a rich Swahili culture. Because of religious and cultural traditions dress code is important, and men and women should dress appropriately when away from the beach, ie covering shoulders and legs too below the knees. Beachwear on the beach is fine, although nude or topless bathing is not tolerated. When in villages or in Stone Town wearing beach wear would (and does) cause offense. Try to wear loose-fitting, non-transparent clothing when in public. Zanzibar people are generally very warm, open and hospitable, and your respect for permission before taking photographs or filming local people is appreciated. Do not take photos or film at sensitive government sites including the State House, seaport, airport or military sites. If uncertain, it is always better to ask. Public consumption of alcohol is not permissible, except in hotels and tourist areas, bars and some restaurants, where it is no problem. Public displays of affection such as kissing are not customary and generally considered offensive, unless behind closed doors. Local customs should respected. Mosques are sacred places an there is generally no entry to non-Muslims, unless accompanied by a person of the faith who can show you around except during the times for congregational prayer, which are five times daily. When offering or accepting things, try and remember to offer and receive with your right hand. This is the hand which should also be used for eating.
What you can see and visit during your Holiday Tour in Zanzibar
- BIG GAME FISHING – expansive fishing grounds ideal for game fishing
- DIVING – one of the best diving sites in the world are found in Zanzibar
- SNORKELING – clear waters very rich in unspoiled coral reefs
- SAILING – sailing for fun takes you back in time during the days of booming Persia – Zanzibar trade
Excursions Available Are Detailed Below:
Zanzibar has earned its reputation over the centuries as the spice island. Four hour guided tour, which starts at Kibweni Palace through to Kidichi. Here are the Persian Baths built by Seyyid Said Sultan for his wife the Princess Shehrzard, one of the family member of the Shah of Persia. You will then proceed to Kizimbani spice plantations. Here you can see, touch and sometime taste a wide variety of spices, fruits, herbs and ornamental plants and flowers.
Jozani forest tour
The Jozani forest reserve, lies between Chawaka bay and Uzi bay and it is the only remaining natural forest of Unguja and represents a very important refuge for the fauna of the island. The most interesting animals include the rare red Colobus monkey, two small antelope species (Zanzibar duiker and sunni)
- and the small Zanzibar leopard.
- A day out in the Jozani forest reserve is no doubt a well worth while and rewarding experience.
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 spend many idle hours and days just wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways.
Situated on the southern point of the island, Kizimkazi fishing village is home to several schools of bottle-nosed dolphins and Humpback dolphins, which can often be sighted following a short boat trip from the village. If you are lucky, you may be able to swim quite close to the dolphins, which can be a very rewarding experience. We are doing this trip in the afternoon to avoid the crowds of tourists in the morning, which in big numbers disturbing the dolphins. Kizimkazi is also the site of a 12th century mosque, the earliest evidence of Islam in East Africa, and is thus worth a visit for both natural and cultural reasons.
Prison Island Boat Trip
It is a relaxing excursion that takes half-day to the beautiful island from Stone Town. Although it was originally built as a prison it was never put into use. Later it was used as a quarantine of slaves for the whole of East Africa. The remnants of the built are still visible. The island offers a stunning view of Stone Town. There is very beautiful minor sandy beach where swimming in the crystal waters is marvelous. The coral reefs surrounding the island provide an opportunity for snorkeling. This is also a home of the giant tortoise, which is now under strict conservation. A short-guided tour around the island will provide the real picture.
Safari Blue – “The best boat excursion in Zanzibar”
Safari Blue departs from the fishing village of Fumba in South West Zanzibar and we will take you to see the dolphins, sandbanks, islands and coral reefs of Menai Bay, a beautiful conservation area. Safari Blue is a full day trip and includes use of top quality snorkeling equipment with guides and instructors, ice cold sodas, mineral water and beers, a delicious Zanzibari seafood lunch with grilled fish and slipper lobster, gastronomic fruit tasting, coffee and Amarula liqueur. There is also an opportunity to sail in an “Ngalawa” – a traditional outrigger canoe-swim in a stunning mangrove lagoon and climb a huge and ancient baobab tree. We around the day off by returning to Fumba by traditional lanteen sail.
North Coast – Nungwi
A full day excursion to the extreme north of the island via Marahubi, and Mvuleni where you can visit the Portuguese Ruins. There are a number of very interesting things to see and do including the traditional fishing village itself with resident speaking a peculiar Swahili dialect. Then the turtle aquarium with various species. A traditional boat yard and local market are amazing. At the end of the walk you can either relax on the sandy beaches or go swimming in the natural sea. Lunch and refreshments are arranged there to taste local delicacies or international food.