"Zanzibar" Top 5 Page for this destination Zanzibar Island by grets
Zanzibar Island Travel Guide: 420 reviews and 957 photos
Zanzibar - the name alone conjurs up images of exoticism and a far-away forgotten destination. Spices and slave trade. Idyllic beaches.
I have to admit that Zanzibar was not our first choice of destination. Another holiday had been cancelled at the last minute (the company went bust), so we had to find a replacement, and quickly.
If you are into glorious beaches, excellent food, lazy days with a good book and doing nothing for a week or two, then Zanzibar may be for you. We made the wrong choice of hotel, instead of being in an all-inclusive resort on the east coast, we should have chosen to stay in Stone Town. We both like exploring and have a low boredom level, so being miles from anywhere without any public transport, was far from ideal for us.
Don't get me wrong, we did enjoy Zanzibar, its gentle and beautiful people and its slow pace of life.
Zanzibar lies 25 miles off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, and belongs to Tanzania. It consists of two large and several small islands, located about 6 degrees south of the equator.
The main island is 85km long and 30km wide, and the area is generally flat and low-lying.
There are two seasons in Zanzibar - wet and dry. The main wet season if from March to May, with a shorter rainy season in November. Dry season is from December to February and June to October. We went in June, but still had some rain. Humidity is generally quite high, but moderated by sea breezes. Temperatures between 26-28 degrees C.
Estimated population of Zanzibar is 900,000 to 1,000,000.
The language is Swahili, although English is widely used and understood in the tourist areas.
Most Zanzibari are practicing Muslims.
Fishing, farming and tourism are the mainstay of the economy. Cloves and other spices are the major export products.
The currency is the Tanzanian Shilling.
The people of Zanzibar are a mix of Indian Merchants, Persian settlers and freed African slaves.
In 1840, during Omani rule, Sultan Said moved his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar, and the island was of great strategic importance for export of ivory and of course the slave trade.
- Pros:Idyllic beaches
- Cons:For us: the choice of hotel
- In a nutshell:Maybe not my idea of paradise
At the end of the spice garden tour was the usual "shopping opportunity". I adore spices and use a lot in my cooking, so... more travel advice
Built in 1882 for Sultan Barghash and although it was once reputed to be the most ornate building on the island, the... more travel advice
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