"Zanzibar - more than just The Spice Island" Zanzibar Island by janiebaxter
Zanzibar Island Travel Guide: 418 reviews and 948 photos
Zanzibar is only 35 km offshore from Dar es Salaam, and has a combination of fabulous beaches, distinctive culture and a bit of wildlife.
Persian and Omani sultans, followed by Portuguese merchants, made this the slave- and spice-trading capital of the world. The spice trade still flourishes, with clove and coconut plantations covering the interior.
A small area of indigenous forest remains today, at Jozani. This forest was declared a reserve in 1960 and visitors may see the red colobus monkey, smaller than the black-and-white colobus, and endemic to the island.
Stone Town is the old quarter of Zanzibar Town, the island’s capital with bazaars, mosques, palaces, forts, fruit markets, and winding streets with a traditional Swahili atmosphere.
Stone Town was ruled by Omani Arabs from the 18th century, became a key port in the slave trade, and an important trading centre in the 19th century and most of its buildings date from this time. One of the features of the architecture are the large elaborately carved doors.
Other places of interest are House of Wonders, a splendid white balconied building situated on the seafront, the former Sultan’s palace, restored and re-opened in 2002 as a museum. Built of steel, it was the first building on Zanzibar to have electric lights and a lift – hence its name. Below the House of Wonders, by the pier, is the popular Forodhani Gardens, where locals gather in the evening and market stalls sell food and drinks. By the gardens, there is a massive Arab fort, known as the Old Fort, built at the end of the 17th century by Omani Arabs after they had taken Zanzibar from the Portuguese. Also Livingstone House, the Old Dispensary, the Old Custom House, the Palace Museum.
Parts of Stone Town were very run down at the time of my visit but this added to its charm.
Emerson and Green Hotel and Restaurant is Stone Town's second highest building and is romantic and a bit quirky. It was the first of the boutique hotels on Zanzibar and the rooftop restaurant has great views over Stone Town
Another great romantic hideaway is Mnemba island, just off the coast of Zanzibar. It has simple but luxurious rooms right on the beach and there is fishing, snorkelling, diving and relaxing on offer. Turtles come here to nest at certain times of year and the island is so small I could swim all round it
- Pros:Charming, historic and plenty to see
- Cons:A bit dirty and run down in places
- In a nutshell:Very Swahili
Mnemba Island is a typical desert island only two km northeast of Zanzibar and is 1.5km around. It has a pristine beach... more travel advice
A small area of indigenous forest remains today, at Jozani. This forest was declared a reserve in 1960 and visitors may... more travel advice
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