Or paradise whitesand beaches and cultural crossroads.
The historical past, the colonial architecture, the exoctic colors, the cultural mix between Swahili and Muslims (as well as Catholic & Anglican cathedrals), and luxury, modernity and poverty is striking.
Zanzibar is actually the archipelago consituted Unguja and Pemba islands, but Unguja is wildly know as simply Zanzibar.
A little bit of History
Stone Town is the heart of Zanzibar Town.
Throughout the centuries, it has been a main trades crossroad, and was occupied by many, such as Oman, Britain, Portugal, shaping the architecture and cultural mix.
Slave trade was a big part of the economy until the 19th century, when it was abolished by a treaty between the English and Zanzibari Sultan.
Islam is the main religion, but there is a small Christian minority.
In the 20th century, the union between mainland Tanganyika and Zanzibar was settle and the new country became Tanzania.
The best thing to do in Stone Town is, well, getting lost in the labyrinthic streets.
Take time to look at the architecture, the mix of people, etc…
Markets & Shops
One of Zanzibar’s main industry is spices, the exotism and colors of which you will be reminded of in many shops.
Don’t miss the big Darajani market, with many sections, the impressive fresh fish area, where you’ll probably be able to see entire fish arrive for cutting, as well as meat, vegetables, fruits, etc… All very colorful.
At sundown, the waterfront at Forodhani gardens livens up, with vendors serving grilled food, local omelets and fresh fruit juice, which you can appreciate while looking at the sunset on the water.
Scattered all around the island, of course, are pristine whitesand beaches you have to pick from. Here’s a quick look at the two we’ve been to.
More of the party destination for westerners.
But the beach and the water are magnificent, and the dhows (boats) offer a nice vista.
Quiet, with many wooden guest-houses next to one another.
The tide has high amplitudes, so you might have to wait for the sea to come up. But low tide offers also great white sand stretches.
How to get there & around
Ferry from / to Dar-Es-Salaam.
Several companies, about 2 hours, VIP: 20 000 Tsh / 50 US$
By tickets at the company counter
We actually traveled on a dhow boat from Pangani by night. It was a 6 hour long a bit shaky ride, and I wouldn’t advise it, comfort wise nor security wise. But the arrival on Nungwi beach was a magical moment.
You could also take an airplane, from Dar-Es-Salaam, Mombasa or Nairobi.
Inland, buses route on the main roads, and also Dalla-Dallas.