Completely unlike mainland Tanzania, a trip to Zanzibar will dazzle and delight even the most well-traveled visitors!
While this semi-autonomous archipelago, situated just over 20 miles off the mainland coast, is officially part of Tanzania, in most aspects (culture, cuisine, religion, and politics) it couldn’t be more different. The local culture was heavily influenced by its rich past as a hub for traders from all around the world — and it is almost entirely Muslim!
To visit Zanzibar, you will either take a ride in a shaky Cessna plane, or take the ferry for a cheaper and more enjoyable experience. The high speed boats from Dar Es Salaam run four times per day each way and they take around two hours to complete.
reach Zanzibar, you will immediately relax into the slow, laid back pace of life on the island. Here, everything moves at an unhurried pace. Things might not make sense or work as you would expect them to — but don’t worry too much about it! Just sit back and relax, enjoy the sunshine, and trust that everything will happen eventually.
The ancient area of Stone Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its abundance of beautiful and historic buildings. The old palaces and mosques are artifacts dating to a more opulent time. Make sure to visit some of the most historically significant buildings in the town, such as the Arab Fort and the House of Wonders. Also, the market in Stone Town is huge and vibrant, offering a wide range of dazzling treasures for sale.
You will want to spend hours wandering through the labyrinthine of winding alleys. You can feel comfortable and secure knowing the town is small and safe, and if you get lost the friendly locals will always be there to help you get to your destination.
Zanzibar has been ruled by many different cultures over the years, which has led to a complex and diverse local cuisine. The food here is a fusion between African, Portuguese, Chinese, Arab, and Indian cooking traditions. Everything is seasoned with fragrant, spicy, and potent flavours — these are known as the “Spice Islands”, after all!
Make sure to try as many of the delicious local dishes as you can, from Swahili curries to fresh seafood to Urojo — a coconut and turmeric-based soup. It is even possible to visit a spice farm during your trip to Zanzibar, so that you can see how the local spices are grown and produced.
The beaches of Zanzibar are simply breathtaking. Known for this brilliant white sands, warm teal waters, and soothing ocean breeze, you will never want to leave! You can head to Kendwa Beach on the North Western Coast to swim in the low or high tide (just make sure you watch out for the sea urchins). On Jambiani, a beach on the Southeast Coast, you can arrange a ride in a local dhow — a wooden carved boat. You can also visit Kizimkazi, which is famous for its Dolphin Tour.
These are just a few reasons why a trip to Zanzibar will be an unexpected yet very pleasant surprise that you will never forget!
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