Saturday, March 17, 2007


Zanzibar is the collective name of two islands Unguja and Pemba. The word "Zanzibar" derives from Arabic language Zinj-bar ("land of the blacks"). Zanzibar is an island paradise with fascinating historical stone town and magnificent beaches. Although Zanzibar enjoys a high degree of autonomy it is not an independent state and remains part of Tanzania.The population of Zanzibar is estimated at about One million people. Zanzibar key economic sectors are spices, raffia and tourism. Zanzibar is reported to have been the world's largest producer of cloves, and its history as a result was heavily influenced by this activity.

Ferries operate regularly between Zanzibar and many East African ports
Issa Michuzi Images

Location:Zanzibar is a small archipelago off the coastline of Tanzania is East Africa consisting of Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar Island), Pemba and several small surrounding islands.

Pemba:Pemba is the second largest island of the Archipelago, named Al-khudra "The Green Island” by the Arabic mariners. It is famous for its clove production and its channels offer some of best diving experiences in East Africa.

Map of Ugunja

Map of Pemba

Tourist Attractions

Some of the famous tours and excursions in Zanzibar include:

  • The stone town tour
  • The spice plantations
  • Jozani Forest reserve
  • Dhow Cruise and small island adventure
  • Scuba diving
  • A tour of the north and east coasts
  • Kizimkazi tour

Stone Town

Beit el-Ajib(House of Wonders)

For centuries Zanzibar has lured travellers, traders, slave traders, and colonialists. Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar and little has changed in the town for over the past 200 years. Zanzibar is filled with winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. Stone Town was recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Stone Town Alley

The official languages in Zanzibar are Swahili and English. 98% population are muslim whereas the remaining 2% comrpise of other religions include Christian, Hindu and traditional beliefs.
Zanzibar provides a shoppers wonderland from brass covered chests, colour bearing fabrics commonly referred to as 'Khanga' which adorns the life of everyone in Zanzibar. Natural well-being products abound; Clove oil, ylang-ylang soap, cinnamon cream and henna to colour and embellish.

Zanzibar market

There is a wide choice of accommodation in Zanzibar, ranging from town hotels to beach resorts and from local-style, budget accommodation to five star luxury. Prices for accommodation vary form hotel to hotel.

Zanzibar is famed for its wood carved doors

There are about 560 carved doors in Zanzibar. The oldest carved door discovered in Zanzibar is dated 1694 AD. When a house was built in Zanzibar, the door was traditionally the first part to be erected. The greater the wealth and social position of the owner of the house, the larger and more elaborately carved his front door. Many doors are studded with brass spikes.
More Information

Zanzibar is reputed to have some of the best diving in the world, and the coral reef structures that surround Unguja and Pemba ensure that the marine life is abundant. Good visibility (20 - 60 metres) and a year-round average water temperature of 27°c ensure that you enjoy your Zanzibar diving experience.

Dhow Boat makers at work

Zanzibar's brilliant Sun-bleached sands, jade waters and palm trees provide the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun.

Windsurfing, kayaking and snorkelling sites can be found all over Zanzibar, in addition there are plenty of opportunities for those interested in big game fishing using international standard equipment. Diving is very popular and the Pemba provides some of the best diving grounds in the whole of East Africa.

Zanzibar is endowed with a rich history of music, religious practice and culture that has evolved over the centuries thereby providing a unique and varied selection of musical and cultural diversity.

Sauti za Busara Music festival in Zanzibar

Fun Facts on Zanzibar

The Shortest War in History was fought in Zanzibar in 1896. On 25 August, following the demise of Sultan Hamid bin Thuwaini within two hours a despot broke into the Palace and declared himself ruler. In a show of Victorian Gunboat Diplomacy, the Royal Navy was asked to evict him. At precisely 9 o' clock on the 27th, three warships opened fire and in 45 minutes reduced the Palace to rubble, and deposed the rogue leader. The bombardment has since been called the "Shortest War in History".


Zanzibar Tourism Official Web site


luihamu said...

unakumbuka ulewimbo wa marehemu Ndala Kasheba MARASHI YA PEMBA.

Africa is the best place in the world.

Liz what about Jamaica and Shashamane in Etiopia.Jah live.


Luihamu sema!

I will add shashamane in to my to do list...I will incorporate it when i post info on Ethiopia.


Rugo said...

Quite interesting facts about Zanzibar. What about the politics and its relations with Mainland Tanzania? That's another field mine of interesting information that your bloggers will appreciate



Hey Rugo,
Thanks for dropping by. Thanks for the suggestion and I will post Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania unresolved national autonomy issues soon.