I am a member of several online travel groups. I like to use them for travel tips and inspiration. It was in one of these groups where I learned about Zanzibar, Tanzania. This archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean, a mere 25 – 50km/15 – 30mi off the Tanzanian coast. Historically the island grew spices which continues on today and retains its moniker of the ‘Spice Islands’. It was also a location ideal for traders to make contact for commerce with those living on the Swahili coast. Centuries later the islands fell under Portuguese, Arab, and then British rule. It was in the mid-20th century that Zanzibar sought independence and merged a union with Tanzania, today remaining an semi-autonomous region.
The islands consist of many small ones and two larger ones, Unguja (a.k.a. Zanzibar) and Pemba Islands with its capital of Zanzibar City located on the former. Zanzibar City is considered the heart of Zanzibar and has much to offer. It is divided into two – the modern Ng’ambo and the historic Stone Town. An interesting tidbit about Stone town is that musician, singer and songwriter Freddie Mercury was born there.
Want to check out Zanzibar? Well this is what I found about its activities and sights:
- Historic Stone Town is good for wandering its storied streets, seeing quaint shops and visiting cafes. Time spent at Forodhani Market is a must.
- There are amazing beaches with stunning sunsets
- Snorkeling and diving at Mnemba Atoll for a fun adventure
- Visit Prison Island for a somber trip to the Slave Museum and to see giant turtles at the turtle sanctuary
- Visit Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park to get back to nature and see some monkeys
- Take a spice tour to learn more about this important trade
These are just a handful of sights and activities that await you in Zanzibar. I can say these islands have moved high up on my bucket list, that is for certain!
Red Colobus monkeys in Zanzibar’s Jozani Forest – Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Taken and owned By Olivier Lejade from France (P8200036.JPG) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons