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Zanzibar Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes
Find Zanzibar Travel and Tourist Information with
links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for
visitors to Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of Unguja and Pemba Islands,
and several islets.
Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the
Tanzanian coast, and south of the Equator.
Zanzibar Island, known locally as Unguja, is 60 miles long and 20 miles
wide; occupying a total area of approximately 650 square miles.
The island is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing
coral reefs, and the magic of historic Stone Town - said to be the only functioning
ancient town in East Africa.
Stone Town, an old city and the cultural heart of Zanzibar, has
changed little in the last 200 years.
It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab
houses; whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their
dwellings. This one-upmanship is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved,
wooden doors - there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork.
You can spend many idle hours and days just wandering through the
fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways in Stone Town.
It is also home to many grand Arab houses, which were built in the 19th
century - when Zanzibar was one of the most important trading centres in the Indian Ocean.
Key attractions in Stone Town include the Old Dispensary,
Livingstone's House, the Peace Memorial Museum, the Palace Museum, the Arab Fort and
the House of Wonders (which translates from its local name, Bait el Jaib).
The Old Fort - Ngome Kongwe in Swahili
The 18th century fortress was built on the site of Portuguese chapel, by
An open air amphitheatre is home to evening film screenings and the Mambo
Club serves as the main live stage.
House of Wonders - Beit el-Ajaib
Built in 1883, by sultan Barghash, and bombarded by the British Fleet in
1886, Beit el-Ajaib became the first building in Zanzibar with electricity and a lift.
The House of Wonders is now the National Museum of Zanzibar and venue for
the photography and Zanzibari painters exhibitions.
Peace Memorial Museum
With its distinctive dome, arabesque windows and white washed walls, the
museum looks like a mosque or a basilica church.
Located at the southern end of Stone Town, the museums annex has a
small library and natural history sections including a skeleton of a dodo.
The museum also serves as a venue for the Childrens Panorama
workshops and exhibition.
Zanzibar is the largest coral island off the coast of Africa;
paradise in the Indian Ocean, some 20 miles off the coast of Tanzania.
As well as Zanzibar, Tanzania boasts many smaller islands which
are just a short trip from Stone Town, including Prison (Changu Island), Chapwani, Chumbe
and Bawe Islands.
Regular ferries operate between Dar es-Salaam, Zanzibar and Pemba.
Jefferson Mbaga of Travel Zanzibar & Safaris.
Zanzibar and other islands, off the east coast of Africa, were
initially controlled by Arab traders, the Portuguese, and then Omani sultans.
Most people visiting Zanzibar stay in a number of locations in order
to get a real feel for the place. A few nights in Stone Town is an essential element of a
good trip though.
Mafia is a wonderful little island at the centre of the largest marine
park in East Africa. It is a real sleepy backwater, a remnant of the old Swahili coast and
the place to visit for a reminder of how Zanzibar was thirty years ago.
The island of Pemba is a remote, untouched paradise of clove
plantations, traditional villages, broad sandy beaches and superb marine life. This is the
place to come if you are into hiking, sailing, fishing and especially diving.
The transport hub and general centre of activity on the islands, Stone
Town is a fascinating historic city and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The largest town on Zanzibar Island, the port of Zanzibar is
situated on the south-western coast.
Vasco da Gama visited the island in 1499, when it was already an
important trading centre between Africa, the Middle East,
Arabs from Oman ousted the
Portuguese in 1698, but didn't begin to develop the island until the mid-19th century. It
was made a British protectorate in 1890, and merged with Tanganyika to form Tanzania in
Zanzibar Commission for
Zanzibar's mission for tourism development is 'to be the most exotic, diverse island
destination in the Indian Ocean region'.
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