Zanzibar, or Unguja in Swahili, is situated in the Indian Ocean, some 40km (about 25 miles) off the coast of Tanzania, just six degrees south of the Equator. This magnificent island is known for its dazzling white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, lush forests, and spice farms.
Zanzibar is a perfect holiday destination and is commonly visited by tourists looking to relax after a tiring Kilimanjaro climb or a long safari. Apart from soaking up the sun on its pristine beaches, visitors to Zanzibar can enjoy a number of activities, including snorkelling, dolphin tours, dhow cruises, waterskiing, parasailing, kayaking, jet skiing, windsurfing, kite surfing, and scuba diving. The diving is superb; a number of companies offer PADI and NAUI courses, which are great for beginners who want to learn how to dive and for experienced divers who wish to improve their diving skills and increase their experience.
Zanzibar is famous for cultivating over 50 spices, including ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, aniseed, garlic, fennel seeds, dill seeds, curry leaves, cumin, coriander, chilli, turmeric, black pepper, and bay leaves. Spice tours are very popular and will take you to the island’s spice plantations, while also enabling you to see some of the island’s historical sites. Visiting Jozani Forest is another popular activity, known for being home to the rare and endangered red colobus monkey, in addition to other small animals. With a population estimated at less than 2,000, the red colobus monkey is one of the rarest monkeys in Africa and can only be found on the main island of Zanzibar.
Stone Town is Zanzibar’s main town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built of stone (hence its name!), it is known for its mix of Indian and Arab influences. This town is rich in culture and history, and is a beautiful place to explore, with its ruins, narrow alleyways, hidden cafes, street markets, and road-side stalls. In the 19th century, Stone Town was one of the main slave- and spice-trading ports in East Africa.Due to its heritage, Stone Town is one of Tanzania’s major tourist attractions.
The combined population of Zanzibar and its neighbour, Pemba Island, is approximately 1,000,000. Muslims represent 97% of this total, with the remaining 3% made up of Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs.
Zanzibar has ideal holiday weather for most of the year, with a sunshine average of 7-9 hours daily. The hottest month is February, when the average temperature rises to 28°C (86°F), while July is the coldest, with an average temperature of 24°C (75°F). April and May are the wettest months of the year, with an average rainfall of 401mm (16 inches), although it does not rain every day. March is the best time for swimming, with an average water temperature of 30°C (86°F). Zanzibar is generally warm all year round, given the island’s location close to the equator.
Note: When visiting villages or Stone Town, we recommend dressing modestly; this is out of respect to the local culture, and their religious values. (beachwear is completely acceptable, while on the beach). Also, before photographing people, be sure to obtain their permission.
Whether you are interested solely in Zanzibar, or combining Zanzibar in your tailor-made package, be rest assured that Good African Tours have personally visited all hotels and locations recommended. Feel free to contact us for professional advice to suite your budget and personal interests.