Zanzibar is the place to go to if you are looking for relaxation. Although it is rich in history and culture, there is not that much that will keep you busy on a daily basis.
- Spending 7 nights in Zanzibar is ample time. I suggest staying 6 nights at an all-inclusive resort alongside the coast and 1 night in Stone Town. Either stay in Stone Town at the beginning of your trip or during but never at the end.
- Book your tours beforehand as it will save you time and energy when arriving at your hotel. We booked our transfers and tours with The Holiday Factory.
- Be prepared to spend money! Even though this is a small island, make no mistake that it is one big tourist trap. A 500ml coke can easily cost up to R50, so do not be shy to pack some treats from home when visiting Stone Town or going on tours.
The history of Zanzibar would be incomplete without the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and many other spices which are essential ingredient in a Zanzibari’s everyday life, it is the island’s connection to spices and herbs. Zanzibar and Spice is a romantic entanglement that dates back to the 16th century. Apart from being an important commodity on the trade routes. They can be seen in the plantations just outside Zanzibar town, this is also a fantastic opportunity to see the countryside and rural areas of Zanzibar and also connect with local people.
Mnemba Island and Snorkeling
Mnemba Island is a single small island located about 3 km off the northeast coast of Unguja, the largest island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania, opposite Muyuni Beach. It is the ideal place to go snorkeling as the water is crystal clear and is home to thousands of fish. The journey to get to where the boats leave is very bumpy, so pack your travel sickness pills.
Stone Town Tour
The Stone Town tour covers a lot. What interested me the most was the Slave Tour. Zanzibar was one of the largest slave ports in the vast Indian Ocean slave trade, which was dominated by Arab slave traders. Although best known today as an island paradise, there are many prominent reminders of Zanzibar’s dark history in the slave trade around Stone Town and across the island. The market where slaves were confined in dark, airless, underground chambers before being sold still contains the chains bolted to the concrete. A moving memorial now stands where the market once was, reminding visitors and locals alike, of the atrocities committed on that very spot centuries before.
Culture and Artifacts
Stone Town is famous for its carved doors and interesting alley ways. The most well-known feature of Zanzibari houses are the finely decorated wooden doors, with rich carvings and bas-reliefs, sometimes with big brass studs of Indian tradition. Two main types of doors can be distinguished: those of Indian style have rounded tops, while those in the Omani Arab style are rectangular. Carvings are often Islamic in content (for example, many consist of verses of the Qur’an), but other symbolism is occasionally used, e.g., Indian lotus flowers as emblems of prosperity.
Did you know? Stone Town was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2000.