Zanzibar Island is locally known as Unguja. This is one of two main islands that make up the semi-autonomous state of Zanzibar. It is a partner state in the United Republic of Tanzania. Tanzania is the largest country in the east coast of Africa. Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean. The distance from the island to the coast of Tanzania mainland is about 35. Zanzibar lies in a Longitude of 39 degrees East and Latitude 6 degrees south of the Equator. The highest point of the island is 150 meters above sea level.
The Island's capital, also known as Zanzibar, is one of the oldest cities in Africa. It is a World Heritage Site with a collection of some of Africa's most valuable ancient architecture. Zanzibar was established and for centuries ruled by Omani Sultans who reigned supreme in the east coast of Africa before the Portuguese and later the British came calling. Zanzibar is also well renowned for its spices. Excellent quality cloves, cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg are available in the city and the primary economy in Zanzibar is based on these spices. These spices are exported to other countries for earning foreign exchange. Zanzibar is still the pre-eminent spice market in eastern Africa hence the name ‘Spice Island’.
Zanzibar also has beautiful beaches, palm-fringed islands and extraordinarily beautiful coral reefs as tourist attractions. Various water sports are also popular in the city. The Stone Town is a historical heritage site. The ton has colorful markets, meandering roads and extravagant bazaars. The city has a rich and varied culture. Zanzibar is very rich in both flora and fauna. There are rich diversities of animals and birds found in the various forests of Zanzibar. People of Zanzibar come from a mixture of ethnic backgrounds with Islam as the main religion of the city. Apart from Islam, Hinduism and Christianity are also followed in Zanzibar. Swahili is the mother tongue of Zanzibar.
Zanzibar beaches are the places where one can unwind and surrender oneself to nature carelessly. A wonderful holiday at the beaches in Zanzibar will shed all the anxieties and breathe new life into an individual. The beaches of Zanzibar are clean and tranquil and help to reach a blissful state. Strolling on the quiet beaches while sipping exotic cocktails, takes one to paradise.
The turquoise waters of the sea welcome one to explore the depths of the sea. There are also awesome coral reefs that make the beaches more beautiful. Watching sunrise or sunset from a Zanzibar beach can become a memorable experience for lifetime, which can be cherished long and forever. The sun-kissed beaches in Zanzibar are places for relaxation. Many people are seen sun-tanning themselves on the beaches, while children enjoy beach football and beach-volley.
There are around 25 exotic white sand beaches in Zanzibar, which have small fishing villages in close proximity to the beaches. Some of the well known beaches in Zanzibar include Nungwi, Mangapwani, Pwani Mchangani, Uroa and Jambiani. Most of the beaches have extravagant beach resorts, which offer world-class facilities to the tourists. Various water sports activities are common in the Zanzibar beaches. There are options for diving, scuba diving and snorkeling along with deep water fishing options. Swimming in the warm waters of the sea is also a pleasant experience. The peace and solitude with the un-spoilt beaches will keep calling tourists for more.
The best time to visit Zanzibar, Tanzania
Here is a broad guide to the climate of Zanzibar. Please remember that this comes from records and our experience, not from a crystal ball. Weather patterns across Africa are becoming increasingly unpredictable, probably due to global warming; we're seeing downpours in the middle of deserts and damaging droughts when rains should be falling.
Just south of the equator, Zanzibar's weather pattern follows that of Tanzania very closely – although always tends to be a little more humid – and occasional rain in the dry season is less uncommon than in the heart of the mainland Tanzania.
Generally the main rainy season, or the 'long rains', last during March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which can be heavy on any of the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.
The long dry season, when rainfall is fairly unusual, lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it's usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – it's a great time to visit Zanzibar. During November and December there's another rainy season: the 'short rains'. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable.
If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months, January and February, which is Tanzania's 'short dry season', before starting to rain again in earnest in March.
Things to Do in Zanzibar
There are so much more than just the below five things to do on Zanzibar, but we've highlighted a few of our favorites to get you inspired.
When planning your Zanzibar trip, be sure to let ASTHO Vacations know what kind of activities you like. They're sure to have some great ideas!
Spot Red Colobus Monkeys in Jozani Forest
You don't have to fly to the mainland to go on safari! The endangered red colobus monkey happens to call the 2,512-hectare Jozani Chwaka National Park at the heart of Zanzibar home. One of the few remaining sanctuaries for this rare primate, Jozani Forest is an easy day trip from almost anywhere on the island.
Trade the beach for the steaming jungle as you enjoy a guided tour through the towering palms and mangroves of Jozani Forest.
While the red colobus monkeys are wild animals, they've become used to seeing tourists in the park, so you'll have a good chance to snap some photos as you learn more about the ecosystem. You'll also have the chance to spot a huge variety of birds and butterflies and if you're lucky, shy bushbabies.
The jungle is also said to be home to the rare Zanzibari Leopard, although sightings are incredibly rare. Nobody has seen one in several years!
Taking just half a day, a visit to Jozani Forest can be combined with the Spice Plantation Tour or enjoyed in isolation.
Spice Plantation Tour
Zanzibar is sometimes known as 'spice island' and with good reason! For much of the region's history, its primary industry has been the export of flavourful spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper.
Even today, with tourism being such big business, spice farming remains a huge part of the Zanzibari economy.
Taking a spice tour might not sound like everybody's cup of tea, but believe us when we say it is a truly fascinating, fragrant, and flavorsome experience!
You'll be doing far more than simply visiting a spice plantation and learning about the spices, you'll also be tasting, smelling, and touching the spices that help to flavor cuisine from around the world.
Along the way, you'll also learn about the medicinal uses of some of these spices, sample tropical fruits, and enjoy a locally prepared lunch. It's a treat for foodies and the culturally curious alike!
Intrigued? Learn more about the Zanzibar Spice Tour.
Zanzibar is paradise for people who love the water. From scuba diving to water sports to snorkeling, there's no shortage of ways to experience Zanzibar's warm waters.
For those who want to experience a little of everything that makes Zanzibar so special, the popular Safari Blue is a perfect choice.
This full-day experience takes you on a day of sailing, sunbathing, snorkeling, and feasting as you explore the fabulous Zanzibar coast. Along the way, you'll have the chance to sunbathe on isolated sand banks, spot dolphins playing in the waves, and feast on delicious BBQ seafood.
You'll also have the chance to trade the comfort of your sailboat for a traditional dhow and/or outrigger canoe along the way, so you can experience how the locals have plied their trade for centuries.
If you've only got one day to take a tour on Zanzibar, you can't go wrong with Safari Blue.
Go on a Flying Safari
While you're on Zanzibar, it only makes sense to combine your beach escape with the mainland to create a Zanzibar safari experience. With flights direct from Stone Town to the heart of the Serengeti, it's never been easier to experience the wilderness from the comforts of your resort.
Flying safari itineraries vary in length, but we can arrange everything from a two day escape to an extended safari adventure.
Zanzibar has a long and fascinating history, and it would be a shame to visit the Spice Island without experiencing a little of that often dark story.
There are a variety of ways to learn more about Zanzibar's history as a slave port, British protectorate, and former independent nation.
One popular option is to take a half-day Stone Town tour in which you'll wander the labyrinthine alleys and bustling market bazaars of the Zanzibari capital. Highlights of this tour include the National Museum of Zanzibar, the House of Wonders, the Old Fort, and the haunting ruins of the former slave market.
For those with a little more time, the Zanzibar Prison Island tour combines history with a little leisure. You'll not only visit the prison island to observe its new turtle inhabitants, but also enjoy some time snorkeling around the gorgeous former prison island.
|Languages spoken||English, Kiswahili|
|Currency used||Tanzania Shillings (TSh)|
|Area (km2)||2650 km²|