Do you sometimes feel like treating your soul to an intimate, fun and secluded adventure, far away from the noise and strife of everyday life? Zanzibar is just the perfect place for your escape. It is a paradise of islands, crystal clear waters, white beaches, romantic coastlines and sunsets like no other.
Zanzibar is located off the coast of Tanzania, East Africa, and it consists of a cluster of islands main ones being Unguja and Pemba. This part of the Indian Ocean has a little bit of everything for everyone ranging from beautiful sceneries, different culture, perfect adventure and eco-tourism destination.
Whether you are a family, a couple, a group or just an individual looking for a perfect holiday destination, Zanzibar will meet your expectation and here is why;
The first thing you will notice about Zanzibar is how idyllic it is, the beaches, the warm tropical waters etc. The cluster of islands has coral reefs, clear warm waters, and lagoons plus if you love diving or exploring life underwater, this is your perfect destination. There are many clean and breathtakingly beautiful beaches for you to choose from, the breeze carelessly lifts the palm leaves rhythmically swaying along the coastline, and the waves that keep lapping the shoreline will soothe and refresh your soul.
You will find local dwellers selling trinkets ranging from handwoven bracelets, sarongs and some offering to paint henna patterns on your skin- hands and feet, it is beautiful once completed. Zanzibar is excellent for you if you love adventure, exploring different cultures and love nature; there is no dull moment here; everyone has a place at this side of the Indian Ocean.
Stone Town is regarded as the heart of Zanzibar, you will find it slightly too ancient for the hype, but you cannot judge a book by its cover. The town was named a UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 2000, and it has several winding alleys meaning you will find yourself getting lost here a couple of times. Still, it is a small and safe town, getting lost leads you to a different discovery you would have otherwise missed.
The streets are marked, but locals rarely use the street names. They are amiable people and will patiently direct you to where you are going although this includes hand gestures, mouth pointing etc. which can get confusing and will not get you to where you are going any faster but, it is worth the experience. The stone town has a heavy Arabic influence, and Swahili is the language mostly used, you can tell this from the intricate wooden door designs, local cuisines which are heavily spiced, the architecture etc. The city is full of life with bazaars, mosques and a market where you will find almost anything and everything. Do not miss visiting the old fort; it is an exciting place.
Flora and Fauna
Zanzibar has the Jozani forest, which is a home to different kinds of birds, plants, butterflies and animals. The forest is also known for housing the red colobus monkeys, which is a rare breed you will find in Africa. The monkeys were almost extinct, but the management has set up conservations means to ensure their protection and livelihood.
You will find butterfly farming at the Zanzibar butterfly center which is the largest butterfly sanctuary in Africa located one kilometer from Jozani forest, locals are trained to farm them sustainably. This has become a source of income to the dwellers by exporting butterfly pupae butterflies. You can also spot the wild dolphins, tortoises and turtles in the clear waters of Zanzibar.
Honey ‘Mooners’ Nest
Zanzibar has a reputation of its own. It is a famous destination for couples on honeymoon and weddings, the beaches are breath-taking, and for people who love outdoors, this has been a perfect destination. Let your feet feel the warmth of the white sand, take leisure walks on the beach, watch kids play football, enjoy a smoothie or cocktail and catch the most scenic sunsets.
Zanzibar has several lodges for you to choose from, the place is less crowded, and you can pick an island to call your home for the duration of your stay. You can select from Mnemba, Mafia, Chumbe, Pemba etc.
The Vast Culture
Zanzibar has a fascinating history with ties to the Arabic world, India, Portugal, England and Africa, giving it a cultural mix that is vivid in the dressing, the food, architectural designs etc. It is primly located on the East coast of Africa making it a hub for many traders from the Middle East, India and Africa; this could be attributed to its history of being a major slave trading point in East Africa.
With the cultural mix, the locals are so friendly, they will be stopping you to say hello in Swahili, they are not going to rob or forcefully sell you something, it is just in their culture to stop and greet, and it is polite to say hello back. You might get overwhelmed with this greeting- thing, but on a brighter side, it is beautiful to learn that a stranger has the time to notice your presence and ask about your day and how your visit is going.
The Spice Island
If you are interested in cooking, are a spice ‘hunter,’ Zanzibar is your perfect destination, the spices range from cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, pepper, curry, turmeric, lemongrass etc. You will also learn why these spices are essential in this area.
The spices are in several colours, scents and you may as well sample the delicious taste of their food after blending most of the spices. The open markets sell various kinds of food and traditionally prepared dishes; if you are not interested in the spices, sure everyone loves some tasty food, and you will have just this in Zanzibar.