If your idea of vacation is a blend a jungle safari and idling on the beach with abundant sunshine to give your skin that delicate tan, then Zanzibar should top your list as it is tourists’ number one island paradise.
This semi-independent part of Tanzania in East Africa reputable for its clusters of Islands (archipelago) gives the nerves that soothing therapy with its brilliant white beaches and warm crystal blue waters.
The dignified palm trees by the beaches swaying rhythmically, the water font exercises like scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, waterskiing and the diverse coastline with rich culture in the south to tranquil luxury in the north all points to the fact that Zanzibar is a tourist destination by nature.
Sites to See in Zanzibar
What comes to mind when Zanzibar is mentioned is Unguja most known as Zanzibar Island undoubtedly the largest and most famous but there are much smaller islets renowned for their beauty.
A tour to Pemba and Mafia Island are a treat for beach enthusiasts. Other tourist preferences include Kendwa Beach and Nungwi Beach, by the northwestern tip of the island, Paje Beach, a spot on for kite surfing; Nakupenda Beach known for its serenity, a true paradise beach; and the beaches of Changuu Island, also known as Prison Island where beach lazing can be combined with a visit to the old quarantine centre and the giant tortoises.
Away from beaches which justifies tourists attraction to Zanzibar, if you are a historical aficionado there are historical sites in Stone Town that will fill your gnawing.
The gigantic Anglican Cathedral in Stone Town will show you the exact spot where the former largest slave market was situated before it was closed in 1873. The House of Wonders (Beit el-Ajaib) 134 years old is Zanzibar’s first building to have electricity and the first building in East Africa to have an elevator will help you appreciate the fine art of ancient architecture.
Jozani Chwaka Bay Conservation Area will show you first hand the home of the hairy apes, the Red Columbus Monkeys. Don’t fret when one jumps at you as it part of the fun.
The steep lawns, bathhouses and water lily pools that remains of Mtoni Palace, first built between 1828 and 1834 will show you the wealthy lives enjoyed by the palace residents almost two centuries ago.
The Old Fort, Built at the turn of the 17th century, Old Dispensary (Aga Khan Cultural Centre), built between 1887 and 1894, Palace Museum and Peace Memorial Museum will all make you appreciate the ancient civilization of Zanzibar.
Least I forget, Zanzibar is famously called spiced island. I am sure that leaves your mouth watery. If you are a fan of tasty spiced meals, you will not be disappointed by Zanzibar’s Cuisine.
The spices from Middle Eastern and Indian cooking blended with the breathtaking natural ingredients and sea foods make Zanzibar cuisine tantalizing.
Trying out all of Zanzibar’s cuisine may be too ambitious within a short period of time; however, you would not want to miss out on these;
Pilau Rice has the capacity to make your eyes and nose water at every scoop. It is Zanzibar’s spiced rice cooked with a mixture of spices (garlic, ginger, cumin, cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, and herbs) and a selected set of meat or vegetables. It is best eaten with a piece of deep fried fish.
As opposed to pilau, biryani is the style where the rice and curry dishes are cooked separately and then combined together to make the dish complete. You would want to ask for more after a dish of Biryani.
You certainly will want to ask for Octopus Curry (mchuzi wa pweza), a favorite seafood in Zanzibar. Slices of octopus are cooked in a mix of rich spices like turmeric, coriander, and then simmered in a thick coconut cream. Please ask for Octopus Curry whenever you visit Zanzibar.
You will never go wrong ordering a plate of well spiced lobster on green papaya salad in Zanzibar neither will Tambi prawns with grilled mango or coconut chili king fish baked in banana leafs cease to be evergreen.
Places to Stay
As a natural tourist’s hub, Zanzibar will treat you well with deluxe hotels that will indulge you and if you are working with mean budget, there are tons of modest ones that will be worth your investment.
We have combed out top 5 hotels and resorts for you to explore.
Night view of Melia Zanzibar is scintillating. This inclusive luxury resort on an amazing beach of white sands located at Mchangani, Kiwengwa, by Kiwengwa-Matema Road, a few feet away from Gabi Beach gives tourists a touch of romance and solitude.
Emerald Dream of Zanzibar
At Emerald Dream of Zanzibar, you create your dream while they chisel out the paradise. This hotel will fill your days with invigorating water sports. It is also a renowned spot for kite surfing, diving on reefs or swim with dolphins. The hush of the sea breeze will rock you to sleep after a fun filled day at Emerald Dream of Zanzibar.
Neptune Pwani Beach Resort & Spa
Neptune Pwani Beach Resort & Spa promises African memory and keep to its word. If you are planning a family vacation to Zanzibar, this is a good accommodation option to consider as it is an all Inclusive 4-star private beach resort that provides a playground, a kid’s pool and a coffee bar with variety of outdoor activities, including snorkeling, windsurfing and scuba diving.
Fruit & Spice Wellness Resort
Fruit & Spice Wellness Resort offers a perfect blend of modern and traditional as it is nestled between a nature reserve and the sea. This jungle spa offers a variety of massages and beauty treatments; water sport activates such as diving, snorkeling, kite surfing and fishing can be arranged and true to its name, it offers mouth watery Zanzibar Cuisine.
Baraza Resort & Spa
A fusion of Arabic, Swahili and Indian design, with Swahili arches, intricate hand carved cement décor, beautiful antiques, handmade furniture and intricate brass lanterns; Baraza will cater for all your needs no matter the generation you belong. Their imaginative menus and restaurants, the elegant public areas, the stone walkways lined with many colors of lush bouganvelia will help you experience Zanzibar in a remarkable way.
Zanzibar will continue to be a natural tourist’s hub of all times!
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