6 Reasons To Visit Zanzibar
In Zanzibar Town, the narrow alleys of historic Stone Town meander between ancient buildings decorated with balconies and gigantic carved doors. Meanwhile, on the coast, fishing boats set sail, and in the countryside farmers tend fields of rice or the clove plantations that give Zanzibar its 'Spice Islands' moniker. Beyond these little-changed traditions of African, Arabian, Indian and European, visitors see a very different landscape. The idyllic beaches are dotted with hotels, and the ocean becomes a playground for diving, snorkelling and kitesurfing. With its tropical mix and unique culture, plus an active beach-party scene for those feeling squirrelly, the movie set that is Zanzibar offers a fascinating and highly enjoyable East African Indian Ocean experience. Say that five times fast!
Take a peek at more than just the Coral Reef...
When in Stone Town, it’s criminal not to embark on a spice tour which takes you on a journey through the centuries and intoxicates each of your five senses. The ever present scents of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and peppers intermingle with the tales you’ll be told about local trade history. These also happen be extremely sexy spices...
Walks through the various spice plantations outside of town will give you greater insight into the day to day lives of spice traders of yesteryear and today. You’ll learn as you navigate the densely vegetated plantations to avoid walking under certain trees to avoid the danger of falling fruit. At some point, you’re certain to stare in wonder at the oddly shaped fruits and seed pods around you. Years later, when you catch a whiff of aloe vera, cinnamon bark, fresh cloves, and even vanilla pods, you’ll be swiftly transported back to your adventures in Zanzibar.
For the absolute in pristine and luxuriously exclusive, a white sand freckle of an island adrift in the Indian Ocean, with just ten barefoot-luxe bandas to call home, Mnemba Island will give you a true taste of private island life. Handcrafted from raw African materials, yet decked out in modern comfort and overlooking stunning views of white sands lapped by crystal clear waters, Mnemba Island promises days filled with luxury and tranquility. With a whole host of watersports available and dives amid coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, you can be sure never to tire of days spent on Mnemba – even if you choose to spend them simply basking in the sun. By night, set out on romantic sundowner dhow cruises before returning to beachfront dinners beneath star-studded African skies. It may be a world away from trekking gorillas through the jungle, but that’s what makes it the perfect combination.
Relax at Forodhani Gardens
Though the name has changed several times, from Jubilee Gardens to Forodhani Gardens and finally Forodhani Park, this lush garden area with a pavilion is an idyllic sanctuary where you can recharge and soak in the sunlight as you watch dhows sailing past the seafront of Zanzibar.
The gardens are found opposite the House of Wonders, the tallest and largest building in Stone Town, which is also the museum of culture and history, and is well worth a tour. Stick around until sunset where you can watch local chefs at a pop-up night market prepare local delicacies – it’s a culinary treat you don’t want to miss!
A great way to relax with locals is at Nungwi Village; found an hour away from Stone Town on the islands northern tip. On a village tour you’ll discover how dhows are made and can watch women weaving baskets as they chat and sing softly.
For centuries Zanzibar has bee a pale of trading from all corners of the earth. The island imported and exported gold, ivory, spices and slaves to Asia and beyond. From these trades, you can see many of the Islamic and Arabic, European architecture that were introduced and still lend character to the island today. With the abolition of slavery, Zanzibar became part of the British Empire albeit briefly. Like 45 minutes... #ShortestWar This has aided in the making Stone Town an UNESCO World Heritage Site. And with good reason.
Being the crossroads of the earth's spices means you can taste the multi-cultural influence - Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, Indian, Arabic, and African as well as Italian (Venice), and Japanese. The Spice Island on the Spice trail is extremely self explanatory. Seafood like you wouldn't believe. An absolute foodie paradise. From the Forodhani Night Market to the delights of the sea and tasty fruit trees - You will never go hungry or bore your tastebuds in Zanzibar.
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