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About Zanzibar Zanzibar Town - Stone Town
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about Zanzibar 
About Zanzibar 
About Zanibar Island The word "Zanzibar" is derived from the old form "Zengbat" which initially meant the Eastern Coast of Africa.  It is probably a Persian word "Zeng" meaning black and "Bar" means land or region.  The Arab version was Zinjibar.

Zanzibar is a Semi-autonomous part of the United Republic of Tanzania in East Africa.  It is the Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, which comprises two main island, Unguja (Informally referred to as Zanzibar) and its sister island Pemba as well as about fifty smaller islets.  The land area of the two main islands is approximately 2 332 square kilometers of which Unguja is 1 464 square kilometers.  Zanzibar (Unguja) is mainly a low lying island, with its highest point at 120 meters above sea level.

A white sandy beach encircles the island which is full of palm trees and dotted with huge ancient baobab trees.  Long stretches of beaches are found at the East and North Coast of Zanzibar Island.

The Capital of Zanzibar, located on the island of Unguja is Zanzibar Town (also well known as Stone Town) and its historic centre; it is located about 35 kilometers off the coast of mainland Tanzania.

Until 2002 Zanzibar had a population of about 981 754.  In Zanzibar Island of Unguja the total population is about 620 957 and Pemba 360 797.  The population growth is about 2.7% - 3.1% annually, the current population is estimated to be more than 1 200 000.

 The most commonly practiced religion is Islam.  80% of Zanzibar’s population follows the laws of Islam. The remainder is a mix of Hindus and Christians.  Zanzibar’s history was influenced by the Arabs, Persians, Indians, Portuguese, British and the African mainland.

Zanzibar’s local people are an incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds, indicative of her colourful history.  Zanzibaris speak Kiswahili (but English is also widely spoken), a language which is spoken extensively in East Africa.  Many believe that the purest form is spoken in Zanzibar as it is the birth place of the language.

Zanzibar is a few degrees south of the Equator and enjoys a tropical climate that is largely dominated by the Indian Ocean monsoon.

   
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Zanzibar Town Stone Town
Zanzibar Town - Stone Town

Zanzibar Town, also well known as Stone Town, is the oldest functioning Town in East Africa.  Stone Town was declared a World Heritage Stine in 2001, is home to a mixture of cultures, architectures and languages.

Over time Stone Town has developed from a small fishing village on the peninsula of Unguja’s west coast to a bustling town rich in history.

Highlights that Stone Town offers is the main City market which was opened in 1904, the Anglican Church of Christ built in 1897, the Sultan’s Palace Museum built in the late 1890’2, the House of Wonders, the Africa House formerly the English Club, Forodhani Park and the Old Fort that was built by Arabs for defense against the Portuguese.

Zanzibar Town Stone Town

The International airport is also situated about 10 minutes drive from Stone Town.  Stone Town also offers some good hotels like Hotel Chavda, Dhow Palace Temho Hotel etc.  Great hotels like Mtoni Marine and Mbweni Ruins are also found a couple of minutes drive outside of Stone Town.

   
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Zanzibar Beaches
Zanzibar Beaches
Zanzibar beaches

Zanzibar Island offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  The white beaches with the warm turquoise water of the Indian Ocean make Zanzibar a perfect holiday destination.
 Some of Zanzibar Island's best beaches are found on the North Coast and on the East Coast of Zanzibar.

On the North Coast you can stay at Mnarani Beach Cottages or Langi Langi Bungalows, all part of our budget saver packages.  One of the best Resort hotels found on Zanzibar, Diamonds La Gemma Dell 'est is also situated here.  Azanzi Beach Hotel is also located on the Northern part of Zanzibar.

On the East Coast of Zanzibar you will find a large variety of budget saver hotels like Kilima Kidogo Guest House, Cristal Resort, Arabian Nights and Coral Rock Hotel.  Up market resorts like Sandies Mapenzi Beach Club, Sandies Neptune Pwani, Diamonds Dream of Zanzibar are on the North Eastern coast of Zanzibar.
   
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Zanzibar day trips
Zanzibar day trips
 
Historical Stone Town Tour

This is a wonderful introduction to Zanzibar and gives you a feeling of the rich cultural heritage.  One gets a comprehensive view of the history of Stone Town, the magnificent architecture, narrow alleys, and the sand and stone ancient built houses where some of them are over 200 years old that have Arab/Indian carved doors.

The tour starts at the main City market which was opened in 1904, where tropical fruits, vegetables, spices and fresh fish from the island are sold.  Our next stop will be at the Anglican Church of Christ built by Bishop Steers in 1873 on the site where slaves used to be auctioned.

Historical Stone Town Tour
Historical Stone Town tour the Anglican Church

Other highlights of our historical stone town tours are visits to:

  • Sultan’s Palace Museum – Built in the late 1890’s for members of the Sultan’s family.

  • House of Wonders – Built in 1883 as a Royal ceremonial function Palace

  • The Africa House formerly the English Club

  • Forodhani Park where you spend your evenings leisurely watching the African sunset while you are enjoying the locally made dishes.

  • Visit of the Old Fort – Built by Arabs for defense against the Portuguese.

Spice Tour

The Spice tour’s primary objective is to give you a complete picture as to why this beautiful island is known as “The Spice Island”.

Our tour starts with a drive through a profusion of greenery in the countryside seeing, smelling and tasting a variety of spices and mouth-watering tropical seasonal fruits such as jack fruit, pineapple, banana, green coconut juice, durian, love apple, litchi, soursop and many more.

Spices such as cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric, nutmeg are as exotic as there flavours.

A full tour involves much more than spices and you will also have a chance to see the iodine plant, heena bush, ylang-ylang, the lipstick tree, cocoa and coffee trees.

Spice Tour on Zanziar Island
Spices on Zanzibar Island

The tour also includes a visit to:

  • Kidichi Persian Baths built in 1850 by Seyyid Said bin Sultan for his Persian wife Princess Sheherezade granddaughter of the Shah of Persia.
  • Maruhubi Palace Ruins built by the third Sultan of Zanzibar Seyyid Barghash for his concubines.
  • Dr Livingstone’s House built in 1860 for Sultan Majid. Dr David Livingstone lived here before commencing his last journey to the mainland interior.
   
Dhow Sunset Cruise
This tour starts from the shore of Stone Town an hour before sunset.

After you step onboard the vessel, the skilled crew on board take the dhow about 1km away from the shore by means of an engine, once out in the sea the engine is shut off and during a tense moment the skilful crew put up the sail, once the sail is in favour of the wind, the guest can sit back, relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the ocean as you hear the ripple of water on the sides of the dhow as it glides swiftly through the clear turquoise water.
Zanzibar Dhow Sunset Cruise
One can savour a glass of chilled wine, cocktail, beer or soft drink as you watch the magnificent Stone Town shore line as you glide by silently.
Your breath will be taken away by the wonder of the fiery golden-sun setting beyond the horizon as it makes the sky a magical canvas of shades of pinks, purples, blues and orange. As you head back for stone town the wind gently blows into the Latin sail which is truly mesmerizing.
 
Jozani Forest
Red Colobus Monkey in Jozani Forest on Zanzibar

Jozani Forest lies 35kms South-East of Zanzibar Town with an area of about 1,000 hectares, it is the only remaining natural forest on Unguja island where long ago you could find leopards and antelopes.

At present it is the habitat for the Red Colobus Monkeys and the Blue Sykes Monkey.

The Red Colobus monkey is one of the most endangered and rarest species on this planet. The Red Colobus monkeys that are found in this Forest are very friendly and love to be photographed and can be viewed at close quarters by the help of your guide.

Other interesting features in this forest include the coastal evergreen bushland, mangrove forest, saline grassland and ground water forest, though these may require longer walks to reach.
   
Prison Island Tour

Prison Island or by another name Changuu Island is the middle islet of the three visible from the Stone town, it takes approximately 30 minutes to get there by a wooden boat powered by and outboard engine. The prison on this island was built in 1893, which was later used as a Quarantine Hospital.

Please note that the only interesting part on this island is to see the giant tortoises that were brought to this island from Seychelles by Sultan Said in the 1820’s.

One can also swim, snorkel, sunbath or just relax and enjoy the peacefulness that this beautiful island has to offer. The owner of the hotel built on Changuu island do not allow the day visitors to move or go around the island.

Prison Island on Zanzibar
   
   
Dolphin Tour at Kizimkazi
Dolphin Tour at Kizimkazi

The drive from Stone Town to Kizimkazi a small village to the southern point of the island takes one hour. The surface of the Kizimkazi channel is broken by the skimming arcs of wild bottle-nosed dolphins.

Here you are taken by an outboard engine boat into the sea to see the dolphins, and if lucky you will be able to swim quite close with them, as they are very friendly and playful.
Please note that: the dolphins at Kizimkazi are wild but there is an 85% chance of seeing these mammals.

Snorkeling is also part of this tour (snorkeling equipment can be hired at the site). Kizimkazi is also the site of a 12th Century Mosque, the earliest evidence of Islam in East Africa, and the return trip includes a visit to this Mosque which still contains the famous Kufic scripts in its walls.

Please do not forget to take your towels, shorts and swim wear when you take this tour. Although lunch is not included on this tour but can be obtained at the site.
   
Safari Blue

Experience the boat excursion at Minai bay in Zanzibar.

After breakfast we will drive you to Fumba Village on the South West of Zanzibar where you will board a traditional dhow with other guests to experience the beauty of the Minai bay conservation area, and get a chance to see the dolphins, swim at one of the pristine sandbanks, visit the islets and snorkel at the coral reefs.

Safari Blue is a full day trip and includes use of snorkeling equipment with guides and instructors, ice-cold sodas, mineral water and beer, buffet lunch of delicious Zanzibari seafood that includes grilled fish, slipper lobster & calamari. Seasonal fruits and coffee will also be served.

Safari Blue tour on Zanzibar

When the tide is high you will also explore the natural lagoon found on Kwale islet, this lagoon is surrounded by a mangrove forest where you will swim for an unforgettable experience.

We round the day off by returning to Fumba by a traditional lanteen sail.

   
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Useful Swahili Words
Useful Swahili Words
Hello Jambo
How are you? Habari?
Welcome Karibu
Please Tafadhali
Fine Nzuri
Thank you Ahsante
Sir Bwana
Mrs Mama
Yes Ndio
No Hapana
No problem Hakuna matata
Ok Sawa
Where? Wapi?
How much? Beigani?
Shop Duka
Water Maji
   
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