Zanzibar is a unique island and is a semi autonomous part of
the United Republic of Tanzania. Unlike the mainland, it has
a rich history that has been influenced by the fusion of the
Arab, Indian and African cultures. When Vasco Da Gama, passed
through the East African coast in 1498, the Arabs had already
an established commercial presence, trading between India, Africa
and Persia. It is this rich history that makes Zanzibar an ideal
destination not just for the lovers of ancient history and the
diverse architecture but also for those looking for beach destinations.
Zanzibar island is the main island but it is also part of other
smaller island that are either inhabited by small populations
or have just one lodge or two. The main islands are Pemba in
the North, Mnemba in the North East, Prison Island, Bawe, and
Chumbe in the West and Mafia further South of the Island. Each
of this islands is unique in its own way, from the large tortoises
in prison island to the dolphin diving sites in Kizimkazi.
The main island of Zanzibar can be divided into five distinct
regions, stone town, north east, north west, south east and
south west. The reason that stone town is different from the
other regions is because it forms the first Arabic settlements
in the island with the sultans building their castles and mosques.
Some of the castles that the sultans build for themselves or
for their wives are still standing and are part of historical
buildings, ruins or converted to hotels. The centre of stone
is marked by narrow alley ways that meander among the residential
buildings, coffee houses and markets.
For accommodation in stone town, please click here.
The North East is as different as it is from the north west.
The private island of mnemba island is the main feature of the
north east. The mnemba atolls is a unique diving spot for those
who are diving and snorkeling enthusiast. Mnemba island is an
exclusive private island offering a world class accommodation
in the only lodge in the island. For accommodation in Mnemba
island please click here. On the main Zanzibar island, there
are various accommodation options along the beach. One thing
to note is that due to the tides, the beaches are not as prinstine
and have weeds that are washed onto the beach by the tides.
The beaches are constantly swept and cleared off the sea weeds
by the various lodges that line the coastline.
For accommodation on the North East, please click here.
Unlike the North East, the North West is a complete contrast.
The beaches on this side of the island have the picturesque,
white sands. They are not affected as much by the tides that
wash the sea weeds onto their eastern neighbours. Another selling
point for the north western beaches is that they afford the
visitor with an interrupted view of the sunset in the evening.
There are several excursions that can be arranged through the
hotels or lodges for a dinner on a dhow. There are various accommodation
facilities in the North West ranging from budget to five star
Take a look at the various options, for accommodation here.
While it is relatively unknown, there is a national park as
one drives from the North to the South past Stone Town. The
Jozani Forest is home to the rare Red Columbus Monkey. The extensive
forest that covers an area of about five kilometers, provides
a unique experience of walking amongst the flora and fauna.
Unlike in the mainland where walking is hindered due to the
presence of dangerous animals, in Jozani national park there
are no dangerous animals, and visitors can walk freely observing
the many species of bird life and a variety of unique plants.
The only dangerous animal is the Zanzibar leopard that is thought
to be extinct as it has not been seen in years.
After the Jozani national park, further down to the west is
the little village in the island of Kizimkazi. Around this region,
the main features are the excursions to watch the dolphins in
the southern point of the island of Zanzibar. The beaches on
the South West are as good as the one in the North West, but
it also varies with the lodge location. The lodges offer various
excursions from diving to snorkeling and watching the dolphins.
Please check here for accommodation in the South West of Zanzibar
What the Eastern lacks in beaches, it makes up with great accommodation
facilities. The South East is unique in this aspect that it
has been able to attract five star facilities that are at par
with the standards offered in other parts of the world. The
service and product presentation is offered by well trained
and presentable personnel that come from the different parts
of the world.
These facilities in the South East can be viewed here.