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.
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).
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.
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.
Deep sea fishing
Saltwater fly fishing
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
tour of Stone town
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