Zanzibar Holiday Experience
The name alone is likely to conjure up images of spice markets, palm-fringed beaches and white-sailed dhows on a turquoise sea – and happily the reality doesn’t disappoint. Lying only a short distance off the Tanzania coast but at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Zanzibar has long been at the centre of the Indian Ocean experience in East Africa and a Zanzibar holiday is a sensory experience par excellence.
Go on spice tours, taste local dishes and walk the cobbled streets of the capital’s old quarter Stone Town, now a World Heritage Site buzzing with colourful back-street markets and local flavours. And then of course there are the Zanzibar beaches: perfect for anyone who simply wants to enjoy a lazily luxurious beach vacation - Zanzibar and its outlying islands are home to some of the finest beaches in East Africa as well as a number of its best dive sites.
You won’t want for somewhere to stay either: one of the world’s most romantic honeymoon destinations, Zanzibar has accommodation that ranges from luxury beachfront cottages to exclusive boutique hotels and elegant spa resorts; parents on the other hand will be delighted by Zanzibar's family-friendly hotels and safe-swimming beaches.
Zanzibar has the prerequisites of an exotic island - sun, sand and exotic charm. Even the name holds a magical tone. As the last stronghold of the African slave trade and the main growing area for cloves, the island has a ruthless side and yet the other side is the fragrance of paradise. The ruling sultans of this magical Zanzibar spice island used their wealth to build grandiose palaces and bath houses.
Zanzibar is a beautiful island, dotted with amazing beaches and secret coves while the interior is green; covered with growing cloves and cinnamon tree plantations. Ruins of palaces, baths and ancient mosques are scattered throughout the island and are a reminder to a bygone era of Sultans and slavery. The whole coast is surrounded by coral gardens that are embedded in turquoise tropical waters.
After independence, unfortunately, several high-rise apartment buildings were built in Stone Town, whereby the former charm of the city has suffered somewhat. Nevertheless, the atmosphere of the old town is not lost, especially in the western part of Stone Town. There you can still stroll through the narrow streets, where the Swahili houses are close together, decorated with beautifully carved wooden doors and wooden balconies.
The three-story "House of Wonders" is an interesting palace, built by Sultan Barghash. Also worth a visit is the Arab fort from 1700, the slave market, the old British Consulate and the Livingstone House.
Additional highlights of the island:
For nature lovers, a trip to Jozani Forest, the last remaining rainforest on the island is recommended. It is also the habitat of the rare Red Colobus monkeys.
From the port of Stone Town you can take a boat to the Changu Island, also known as Prison Island, because there is still the ruins of an abandoned prison.On the island you can snorkel and admire giant tortoises. A popular destination is the Persian Baths of Kidichi, of Sultan Sayyid Said built in the early 1800's as a gift for his second wife.
Also interesting are the Mangapwani slave caves where slaves were loaded onto ships through an underground tunnel network, primarily heading to the Middle East. The most famous tour is the Spice Tour, here you are driven to the spice gardens and plantations on the island. You will see cinnamon, cocoa and pepper trees and shrubs as well as many other spices. The guide explains the particular fruit as well as their processing and local uses. This scenic excursion should not be missed.
On the way is the old Sultan's Palace (Palace Maruhubi), a truly intersting site including the Sultuns personal harem for 99 ladies. It is worth a trip to the south coast of the island, more specifically, to the fishing village of Kizimkazi. From there you can take a boat trip to the reef, where wild dolphins often frolic in the immediate vicinity of the boat. The Captain will allow you to jump into the water and swim with the dolphins