The main island of the archipelago is known as Unguja. This main island sees the most tourists annually and foreign travelers visiting Zanzibar will land in the international airport located here. Zanzibar is located off Africa’s eastern coast in the central Atlantic Ocean and is partially governed by the country of Tanzania.
The archipelago was discovered by European explorers and merchants hundreds of years ago, however, the indigenous people of the island have lived there for well over 20 000 years. Settlers who started to live on the island turned it into a supply station for ships traveling to the Indian subcontinent and Asia.
One of the largest sources of revenue for the GDP in Zanzibar is it’s thriving tourism industry. The capital, aptly named Zanzibar City is the largest city found on the chain of islands. It’s a large and prosperous city with many locals and foreigners calling it home. Many tourists visit the city annually to explore the island, experiencing its natural beauty and splendour.
In this article we will look at some of the best things to do if you plan to visit Zanzibar. This includes things such as exploring its tropical beaches, lush forests and idyllic countryside.
What To Expect When Visiting Zanzibar
These islands are peppered with beaches, resort towns, small villages and a bustling city. There’s something to suit every niche here and you’re sure to have a fantastic time during your holiday.
Over the years Zanzibar has solidified itself as a truly wondrous tropical getaway destination. It can easily fall within a decent budget if the right research is done beforehand. There are many types of accommodation found within the islands that suit a wide variety of tourists. From beachside chalets to guest houses and smaller hotels you’re sure to find something that suits your tastes.
The local people of Zanzibar are wonderful and friendly. They are warm and welcoming to foreigners and are more than willing to help. If you ever need directions or information about something you’re unsure of, feel free to ask someone near you, they’re sure to help. Being respectful to the local traditions and beliefs is also important. By showing your respect for the culture you’re sure to receive smiles and warm responses in kind.
Due to Zanzibar being located close to the equator the seasons remain largely the same throughout the year. Warm and dry days are the most common, with the short humid and wet months between March, April and May.
Be sure to pack loads of sunblock, water and a hat if you’re planning to spend a lot of time outdoors while on holiday here. It’s much better to be well prepared for a long day of sun and fun rather than catching a sunburn accidentally!
Zanzibar Island History
Due to the old European occupation of the island there are many old castles and fortresses that can be found in the city and along the beaches. These bastions are the last remaining remnants of a bygone era but have kept in great condition despite their years. One of the largest forts, named The Old Fort, is located in Zanzibar City’s Old Town Quarter.
The Old Fort, a remnant of Arabic occupation of the island, is the oldest building in Zanzibar City’s Old Town. The views of the surrounding countryside and ocean horizon from the top of it’s walls is utterly breathtaking to say the least.
Over the years the fort has been adapted to house a curio shop and hold concerts in its main grounds. It also serves as a cultural center for the city and a main attraction for Zanzibar’s tourism.
There are tours that can take you through the castle complex with professional guides explaining the history of the building. These guides can also answer any questions you may have about the history of the fort.
The main language spoken in Zanzibar is Swahili. With some locals also speaking French, Italian and Arabic. This hotpot of languages is mainly due to the country’s long history. In the present day Zanzibar and Tanzania are officially one country.
Many of the locals are able to understand and speak a decent amount of English and will be able to converse with you relatively easily during your Zanzibar travel experience.
Other Interesting Facts For A Trip To Zanzibar
Many of the beaches found along Zanzibar’s shores are beautiful and perfect if you’d like to kick back and relax. However depending on the season and the weather, heading to the leeward side of the island for a beach day might be best.
Some of the islands found in the Atlantic have windward and leeward sides to them. The side of Zanzibar that is sheltered from the ocean winds by the island itself will usually have calm, crystal clear waters perfect for a day relaxing at the beach.
These beaches are usually incredibly warm and welcoming. On the windward side of the island you can experience more windy days that cause larger waves on the beaches making the water darker and choppy as well as slightly colder, perfect for a surfing day.
There are many different types of activities to keep you active and occupied during your holiday on the islands. The nightlife in Zanzibar City is thriving and you’re certain to find interesting clubs where you can dance the night away. There are also beachside pubs and bars to socialize and meet new people in.
Hiking trails can also be found throughout the countryside with many paths being relatively easy and short. Much of the island is made up of lush foliage and dense tree canopies. This shade can help you to keep cool while trekking through the countryside.
Final Thoughts On Zanzibar
There is loads to see and experience while visiting this beautiful archipelago. If you’ve been looking to have a tropical holiday destination getaway why not look at visiting Zanzibar?
There’s something for everybody here and you’re sure to make fantastic memories and have an unforgettable vacation during your stay here.