Zanzibar in Brief
Size: 1,652 sq. km (637 sq. mt.)
Location: Indian Ocean, Tanzania Coast
The main islands of Zanzibar are Unguja, Pemba, Tumbatu and Mafia. Stone Town, on the western shore of Unguja Island, is the Capital of this region. The city gained its name from the many large multi-story “stone” buildings that fill the old town area. These structures are actually constructed with coral and mortar, not stone. There are currently about 1700 of these buildings in the Stone Town section of Zanzibar City. 1100 of these have been classified as having architectural significance. In this small area, which was originally a peninsula, almost an island at times, and which is only about 83 city blocks square, there are 23 “landmark buildings”, two cathedrals, over 50 Mosques, 157 balconies, verandas and loggias and more than 200 carved doors. Zanzibar’s Stone Town has been designated a “World Heritage Site” by the United Nations.
The age of Stone Town is in some dispute. Did it rise from a fishing village known to have existed on the point of the peninsula since the 12th century; or is it even older? Is it the result of 10th-century immigration from Persia? The visits of 9th century Islamic Disciples? A 1st-century outpost of the Queen of Sheba? All have been suggested by historians. Or must we look even further back, to five or six thousand years ago when indigenous Africans crossed the great Rift valley and first occupied the islands of East Africa? Was it they who truly created the Swahili Coast by conquering the reefs and tides of the Azania sea? Was it they who cultivated a civilization of Island City States from Lamu to Lindi, an archipelago of Stone Towns spanning almost a thousand kilometres?
As the site of the largest Swahili Stone Town in the world, Zanzibar is well worth a visit. Tourists are now welcome on Zanzibar and the infrastructure for guests has greatly expanded in the last few years. Hotels/Bungalows and Guest Houses are available in all price ranges. Accommodations extend from basic backpacker support to luxurious private islands. There is an international airport about 5 km. from Stone Town and many modern Ferry’s now ply the short sea routes between the Islands and the mainland.
Where to go on Zanzibar:
Different areas of the island have very different characteristics, so it is a very good idea to understand the dominant features of each area prior to deciding to spend the majority of your vacation in that area.
Zanzibar Beach Holidays
Many intrepid travellers who head out on Safari or to climb Kilimanjaro choose Zanzibar as a place to retreat to afterwards. With its beaches and water sports and the potential to be an idyllic place to unwind it is not hard to see why. However, this site is designed to make sure that Zanzibar holidaymakers know how to make the most of your trip and find either the excitement or the relaxation you are seeking.
Stone Town of Zanzibar:
The Stone Town of Zanzibar is a fine example of the Swahili coastal trading towns of East Africa. It retains its urban fabric and townscape virtually intact and contains many fine buildings that reflect its particular culture, which has brought together and homogenized disparate elements of the cultures of Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe over more than a millennium.
You cannot visit Zanzibar and not spend some time in Stone Town. Stone Town has UNESCO World Heritage status. There is a lot to see and do. The Town has a very interesting history. The buildings along the waterfront (The Old Dispensary, The House of Wonders etc) are some of the architectural highlights. The slave trade history can also be traced when you visit Stone Town. Good restaurants and cafes can be found all over Stone Town.
There more popular excursions we can offer include: Diving and snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, Prison Island Boat trip, Chumbe Island trip, Local game fishing, Sunset dhow cruise, Sandbank picnic, Safari Blue swimming with dolphins and visiting the Jozani forest and that is why many of our clients travelers who head out on Safari or to climb Kilimanjaro choose Zanzibar as a place to retreat to afterwards. With its beaches and water sports and the potential to be an idyllic place to unwind it is not hard to see why!