Zanzibar is a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa. On its main island, Unguja, familiarly called Zanzibar, is Stone Town, a historic trade center with Swahili and Islamic influences. It’s winding lanes present minarets, carved doorways and 19th-century landmarks such as the House of Wonders, a former sultan’s palace. The northern villages Nungwi and Kendwa have wide beaches lined with hotels. The name Zanzibar is an Arabic word that is translated as ‘the coast of black people The Island has the best beaches in the world!
1. Stone Town – the vibrant and enchanting capital
2. Nungwi – at the northern tip of the island. Very popular with tourists since swimming in the ocean is possible even at low tide. Quite overcrowded with tourists in season.
3. Kendwa – a few km south of Nungwi, also very popular with tourists.
4. Matemwe – a small traditional village in the North East.
5. Paje – the liveliest village on the South East coast known for excellent kiteboarding conditions, Great diving, a stunning beach and excellent restaurants.
6. Jambiani – a small fishing village on the southeast coast, 10 km south of Paje, with lots of small guesthouses and hotels – a quieter option than Paje with plenty of restaurants to chose from
7. Michamvi – the remotest village on the South East coast known for great sunset beach and the coolest bar on Zanzibar, Kae Beach.
8. Makunduchi : at the south east tip of the island. 70 km from Stone Town. It has its own hospital, magistrates court, secondary school. The village is famous for the “Mwaka Kogwa” festival which happens in July. The beaches are some distance away from the village and are quiet, away from it all. For travelers who are looking for peace.
9. Kizimkazi : small fishing village famous for the Dolphin tours. The most antic mosque in Africa is to be found in Kizimkazi Dimbani.
Zanzibar’s coastline offers some of the best beaches in the world, but sand and surf vary depending on what side of the island you’re on. On the east coast, waves break over coral reefs and sand bars offshore, and low tide reveals small pools of starfish, small minnows, and anemones. Up north, ocean swimming is much less susceptible to the tides, and smooth beaches and white sand make for dazzling days in the sun.
The port city of Stone Town dominates the west coast, and although the beaches of Mangapwani, where slave caves are visible at low tide and nearby Bububu are less than half an hour’s drive away, a night or two spent on the east or north cost is well worth the extra hour it takes to drive there. That said, the Chole Island Marine Park just off Stone Town – and nearby Prison, Grave, and Snake Islands – make a refreshing day-trip and a good break from exploring the winding passageways of the old city.
On the south coast of Zanzibar lies the Menai Bay Conservation Area, a sea turtle protection area for the endangered species that come to breed on the island. Roads to the southeast coast take visitors through the Jozani Forest, home to Zanzibar’s rare Red Colobus monkeys and a number of other primate and small antelope species.
ACTIVITIES IN ZANZIBAR
Here are some of the activities that can be performed when you arrive in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar Stonetown is a hugely important historic town is situated on the west coast of Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania.
This wonderfully atmospheric old town is registered as a World Heritage Site and is certainly one of the most culturally fascinating places in the region.
For many centuries Stonetown was the home of the Sultan of Zanzibar, who ruled over a huge portion of sub-Saharan Africa. Caravan routes ran from Bagamoyo on the mainland coast opposite, deep into the heart of the continent, over 1000km to Lake Tanganyika and with influence deep into the Congo beyond, trading for slaves, ivory and various exotic produce. The sultan even controlled the trade routes via Sofala into Mozambique and the silver mines of Great Zimbabwe.