Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Beautiful Zanzibar : Zanzibar Island is a wonderful tropical paradise and one of the best beach destinations in the world located off the coast of East Africa, the island features palm leaves which you will hear as they rustle, various species grown all over the island and the iconic dhows which you will watch as they sail and an interesting and mouth watering cuisine which is a mixture of African and Arabian cultures which will add on your adventure and make you fall in love with the island more.
Zanzibar Island is an archipelago of four islands with Zanzibar also referred to as Unguja as the main Island, the island is strategically located along the spice and slave trade routes in the Indian Ocean and because of its location it has become a stronghold for many countries throughout its history. In 1832, Oman declared Zanzibar its capital for 30 years, the island later became a British protectorate until it joined Tanganyika in 1960s to form the present day Tanzania.
Today, Zanzibar is one of the leading beach and marine destinations in the world, below is everything you need to know before visiting this dreamy island.
How To Get To Zanzibar
The main hub to use to connect to Zanzibar is Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the mainland, unfortunately there are no direct US airline to connect to Zanzibar from United States of America. However there are direct flights from Middle Eastern airports such as airports n Doha, Qatar, Dubai and UAE, you can also connect to Zanzibar is through Johannesburg, South Africa.
If you fly into Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, you can connect to the island by a short flight or go by ferry.
Why You Should Visit Zanzibar
Zanzibar island is a paradise on earth made up of Indian Ocean Island with palm- fringed white sand beaches, the island is dominated by plenty of indigenous forest inhabiting several species of cute monkeys only found on Zanzibar Island. Zanzibar city the capital of the Island is flooded by amazing architecture that is a mix of Omani palaces, Arabian arches and Indian wooden balconies and studded doors.
Zanzibar city/ Town features narrow streets bustling with life and offering visitors a heady mix made up of local women offering henna tattoos, Maasai warriors playing games such as pool in a corner cafes, colourful markets, delicious foods/cuisines, plenty of varied history, fabulous shopping centers and amazing beach resorts.
As a travel consultant, the best way to experience Zanzibar Island while on a Zanzibar safari is having a 2 stop vacation that is a Stone Town to enjoy all the town has offer a few days then drive through the interior of the island to one of the many beach resorts for a few days of relaxation on the beach. Spending a week or two would not be long of a stay on Zanzibar Island.
Best Time To Visit Zanzibar
Zanzibar Island is situated very close to the equator and because of its location, the temperatures are steady throughout the year, ranging from warm to quite hot that is 77 degrees to slightly above 85 degrees, with the advantage of a fresh sea breeze reaching nearly everywhere on the island.
Between March and the end of May, the island experiences heavy rains but even in this period, the days are mostly dry with only odd heavy showers. In November the island experiences short rains.
Zanzibar Island is a predominantly Muslim region which is why it is important to check the dates on which Ramadan and the two Eid Celebrations fall on to when planning your holiday to Zanzibar. During the Ramadan and Eid Celebrations, you might find most of the shops and cafes on the island closed, although the beach resorts still function as usual even in this period.
Note: There is malaria on Zanzibar Island so while planning your beach holiday, you will need to get a suitable combination of malaria prophylaxis. Also check with your nearest tropical diseases institute or your doctor for the recommended brands for the time you are planning to go for a Zanzibar holiday.
Best Things To Do In Zanzibar
The House Of Wonders
The House of Wonders is one of the best places to visit in Zanzibar, the house is situated in the Stone Town and it was once the ceremonial palace of Sultan Bargash bin said, the Omani sultan who ruled over Zanzibar between 1870 and 1888.
House of Wonders incorporates most of the typical Zanzibar architecture including enormous wooden doors – a reminder of boath Arab and Indian Craftsmanship, the tall columns that create shady verandas around the building and rooms located on the outside of the building, creating an airy and cool courtyard inside.
The House of Wonders is now a museum showcasing intriguing and electric mix of artefacts representing various parts of Zanzibar history.
Next door to The House of Wonders is the Old Arab Fort dating back to the 17th century and you can also explore it.
Though Zanzibar Island is dotted with many markets, Darajani Market is the main market where most of the people on the island go for their food shopping and in so doing, they exchange gossips, hangs out and meet with friends.
Darajani Market is filled with electric and colorful atmosphere, noise and smell of various foods and spices which are displayed. In the market, there is a small souvenir market situated next to the Old Fort with local arts and crafts on sale. At night the food market in the Forodhani Gardens which is just outside the House of Wonders is a must visit to get a taste of the mouth watering cuisines.
The Jozani Forest
Jozani Forest is a beautiful inland of Zanzibar Island which is part of the Jozani Chwaka Bay national park, the forest is the only home of the rare red colobus monkeys. During the visit on Jozani Forest, you will spot animals such as chameleons, elephant shrews and bush babies, Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Beautiful Zanzibar.
The Spice Plantations
In Zanzibar Island, there are several Spice plantations which are worth visiting while on a holiday. During the spice tour you will be amazed by several spices being grown such as cinnamon, ginger, lemongrass, chili, cardamom, vanilla, turmeric, curry leaves, nutmeg, cloves, bay leaves among others.
You will also find cocnut, jack fruit, durian, guava, papaya and 10 spices of banana grown on the island.
Shopping In Stone Town
The Stone Town is a must visit and do shopping while on a holiday on Zanzibar Island, Stone Town is filled with markets and street stalls. The locals display their wares by the side of the small lanes of the old Town, The Gizenga stree is filled with art galleries selling the typical native Tingatinga paintings, shops selling Africa cravings and colorful kangas with a typical saying imprinted on them and Maasai beaded jewelry.
Around the Shangani Street, there is a number of more – up market souvenir shops worth shopping at.
Best Restaurants To Try In Zanzibar
Best restaurants to eat at in Zanzibar include
- The Tea House At The Emerson On Hurumzi Hotel
- Forodhani Gardens
Best Places To Stay In Zanzibar
In Zanzibar, there is a number of accommodation options dotted around the island, these include
- The Serena Inn
- Emerson On Hurumzi Hotel
- Breezes Beach Club