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African Safari Home>>Tropical Islands>>More Info - Zanzibar
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zanzibar

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Trading under the name Spice Island, this paradise off Tanzania's east coast has lured travellers for centuries, some in search of cloves, some in search of slaves and still others in search of an idyllic home. While commonly called Zanzibar, the island's name is actually Unguja, and is part of the Zanzibar archipelago, which also includes Pemba. Zanzibar got engaged to Tanzania relatively recently, after a string of torrid affairs with the Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch and English. But it was the Shirazi Persians and the Omani Arabs who stayed to settle and rule - and it's their influence that lingers most strongly.

Zanzibar's Stone Town is one of the most fascinating places on Tanzania's east coast. It's a chaotic, and often crumbling, labyrinthine cluster of winding streets lined with whitewashed coral-rag houses with magnificently carved (but fast vanishing) brass-studded doors. There are endless little shops, bazaars, mosques, courtyards an old fort, two former sultans' palaces, two huge cathedrals, faded colonial mansions, a disused Persian-style public bathhouse and reminders of a once thriving slave trade. Dotted around the island are historical sites such as the ruined Maruhhubi Palace, built in 1882 by Sultan Barghash to house his harem. To take it all in, a 'Spice Tour' is recommended. Plenty of guides are on offer for such tours, which include palace ruins, the Mangapwani Caves, and various spice and fruit plantations at the island's heart.

Other attractions
There's also Jozani Forest, 24km (15mi) south-east of Zanzibar town, a sanctuary for the rare red colobus monkey and the Zanzibar duiker (small antelope).

Access
Air Tanzania operates one daily flight except on Thursday and Sunday in either direction between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, but the more adventurous travellers reach the island by ferry, catamaran or hydrofoil from Dar es Salaam. Dhows and other boats also run between Zanzibar and Kenya's Mombasa, usually once or twice a week in either direction.

Pemba is located not too far from Zanzibar and boast unspoilt beaches with excellent diving. Fundu Lagoon is the epitome of "bare foot paradise" with a distinct Robinson Crusoe air in a remote and not easily accessible spot. It is a place for guests to relax and unwind in casual, yet elegant surroundings. Fundu is on Pemba Island, the sister island to Zanzibar lying across the Pemba Channel to the north. The hotel is situated on a remote and beautiful beach on the southwestern side of the island and is only accessible by boat. There are nineteen rooms, all the same and consisting of designer tents, set under makuti (thatch) roofs on wooden decks and each with a view over the sea.

Activities:
Snorkeling
Scuba diving
Deep sea fishing
Saltwater fly fishing
Spice tours
Visit the slave quarters
Relaxing on the beach
Traditional dhow trips
Forest tours - see the Red Colobus monkey, a rare species found only on Zanzibar
Dolphin tours
City tour of Stone town

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More Information Zanzibar | Activities in Zanzibar | Tropical Island Zanzibar Vacation Holiday


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