The Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of East Africa evokes images of turquoise lagoons, soft sandy beaches, delectable cuisine, aromatic smells of spices, and strong cultural traditions. With multiple options for hotels and flights, travel packages are generally recommended for the best prices.
Below are the top 10 reasons to love Zanzibar.
Beaches and Romance
Crystal-clear lagoons, warm Indian Ocean waters, and soft white sand beneath your feet – this describes the coast of Zanzibar in a nutshell. Prepare to feel completely relaxed under a beach parasol while listening to the gentle sound of the water crashing softly on the shore. With exclusive, secluded beaches and gorgeous resorts, Zanzibar is also the perfect place for a romantic getaway.
Situated along the equator, Zanzibar offers warm weather all year round. The driest months are from June to October, and are the best time to go if you want to take maximum advantage of sunny weather and clear blue skies.
Affordability and Accessibility
While Zanzibar is home to many luxurious resorts, it also has plenty of affordable accommodations and activities to offer to the budget traveller. You will easily find holiday packages offering flights and boutique hotels in beautiful areas of the island, with direct access to the beaches and main attractions.
Zanzibar cuisine is incredibly diverse and has been greatly influenced by Arab, African, Bantu, Portuguese, Persian, Indian, Chinese, and British cultures and traditions. In Zanzibar you will find everything from chapatis and curries, pilaf rice, biryani, Boko Boko, shurba, cassava, plantains, sarapatel, and an abundance of seafood grilled with coconut milk and spices.
Also known as Spice Island, Zanzibar is home to many exotic spices, such as nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper. Spices and herbs were originally brought to the island by Portuguese traders, dating back to the 16th century. Take a few hours to go on a spice tour in Stone Town and visit spice farms and villages to learn about their history and trade routes.
The history of Zanzibar is deeply rooted in slavery which still affects the Zanzibari society today. A trip to Zanzibar is incomplete without a visit to Stone Town, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which served as a major slave-trading port as well as a base for anti-slavery campaigns. In Stone Town you can visit the slave memorials and dungeons where slaves were kept. Afterwards, visit Bwejuu to witness a day in the life of a fishing village, after which you can take a trip on traditional dhows and cruise the ocean at sunset.
The buildings and monuments of Zanzibar, particularly in Stone Town, reflect a heterogeneous mixture of different cultural influences, with Middle Eastern, Swahili, Indian, and European reflections. The cultural fusion is demonstrated in the Christ Church and mosques that co-exist right next to each other. Building materials, architectural designs, and street layouts are all remnants of a rich diverse history.
Surrounded by coral reefs and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the marine life in Zanzibar is a diver’s dream. Whether you want to snorkel over shallow waters or dive to explore further, you will not be disappointed. Prepare to swim among all kinds of fishes, corals, and sea creatures, including sea turtles and the bottlenose dolphin. During August and September, you can witness the migration of Humpback whales. Zanzibar is also popular for being one of the top places in the world for wreck diving.
Fauna and Flora
Nature lovers will delight in the diverse fauna and flora of Zanzibar. A main attraction is the red colobus monkey, indigenous to the main island (Unguja), and usually found in Jozani National Park. Wildlife forest reserves and protected areas are home to many species such as the flying fox, dik-dik (small antelope), giant tortoises, chameleons, and a variety of bird species. Important flora include coconut palm trees, baobabs, and spice plants.
A perfect ending to a thrilling safari
Zanzibar is a favourite travel package for those looking to combine a safari with a laid-back beach holiday. A few relaxing days laying on the soft sand in Zanzibar is the perfect way to finish off an exciting trip tracking wild animals in the African bush. For more info and excellent value package deals, take a look at Destiny Holidays.
**Pic of ladies credit MyBlue Hotel and aerial shot Hershel Supply Store.