Set like a jewel in tranquil coral waters, and only 20 minutes flight from Dar es Salaam is one of the world’s most beautiful islands and beach vacation destinations. It is called Zanzibar.
This island is also referred to as the Spice Island. These terms evoke a romantic, if not enviable past. Zanzibar has been a travel destination for centuries, receiving visitors from many places, far and wide. This beautiful island still attracts visitors from far and wide even today!
To the shores of Zanzibar came the Sumerians, Assyrians, Hindus, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Arabs, the Chinese, the Malays, and the Portuguese. All the visitors of the early centuries sailed in on monsoon winds.
It is also from the shores of this island that the great European explores like Richard Burton, John Speke, David Livingstone, Krapf and Rebman, set out on their voyages of discoveries into the East and Central Africa hinterland.
The different races of people that today inhabit Zanzibar are sort of a representation of all the past visitors that have had contact with the island over the centuries. It is like an imprint, only presented in the form of the culture, the people and the architecture. The “House of Wonders” and the narrow streets of the Stone Town are just some of the vivid reminders of Zanzibar’s long and colored history.
Zanzibar is also the birthplace of the fascinating language of Kiswahili – a Bantu/Arabic language that today dominates the entire East African coast. Kiswahili also serves as the national language of the east African countries.
Zanzibar also gave birth to the richly artistic Swahili culture with its elegant architecture, which manifest in the beautiful designs of the balconies, courtyards, hand–carved doors and mosques.
For centuries the historic Spice Islands of Zanzibar has evoked a mystical and magical dream. Fascinating history, exotic spices, sandy beaches and hospitable people…this is the enchantment of Zanzibar that discerning holidays makers can never ignore.
Today, visitors to Zanzibar can see the many faces of the island with the help of tour operators. These may include taking visit to spices plantations in the countryside where a variety of seasonal spices, tropical fruits and medicinal herbs are grown. Your guides will give detailed descriptions of the spices and their uses in cooking and cosmetics. Visitors could also choose to combine a wildlife safari on mainland Tanzania with an island beach relaxation tour in Zanzibar. See a sample trip here, designed for such a holiday package.
While at the island, visitors will be fascinated by the sheer number of spices produced, and by their incredible value for many ailments. This is also the cheapest place to purchase spices and oil extracts.
Another popular excursion is the “Zanzibar Stone Town Tour” which is literally a travel into history of this old capital of the Omani Sultans. Other excursions will include the old slave cave, the prison island, ruins of what was the palace of the the Sultan, the old slave market and many other historical places.