WELCOME TO ZANZIBAR
Jambo! This is the Swahili greeting that you will hear on arrival when you are welcomed by the warm and inviting locals. Zanzibar is the name of an archipelago in the Indian Ocean just off the coast of East Africa. There are many small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, sometimes informally referred to as 'Zanzibar'), and Pemba Island. As the number one beach location in East Africa, Zanzibar is a wonderful island, with classic tropical beaches, lush plantations, an incredible history and a fascinating culture. Apart from historic Stone Town, with its labyrinth of narrow streets, Zanzibar is known for its beautiful palm-fringed beaches and pristine coral reefs.
Zanzibar was inhabited by Portuguese navigators at the end of the 15th century. They were ousted 200 years later by the Omani Arabs and Zanzibar became a major centre for slave trading. The island became an Arab state and was an important centre of trade and politics in the region. European explorers, including Stanley and Livingstone, began their expeditions into the interior of Africa from Zanzibar in the late 1800’s. In 1964, the sultan and the government were overthrown in a revolution and in the same year, Zanzibar and Tanganyika combined to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
The indigenous language spoken throughout Zanzibar is Swahili (called Kiswahili locally). English is widely spoken and understood. Jambo Rafiki – Hello my friend!
Most of the people in Zanzibar are Muslim and all towns and villages on Zanzibar Island have mosques. Visitors to Zanzibar Town (Stone Town) will hear the evocative sound of the muezzins calling people to prayer from the minarets, especially for the evening session at sunset. There are also small populations of Christians and Hindus.
Zanzibar is a few degrees south of the equator and enjoys a very tropical climate. The average daytime high is between 28°C and 32°C and the night-time lows are between 20°C and 25°C. Temperature wise – this island is an all-year-round winner. February is very hot and very humid (just leave your hair straightener at home!) and March to May are the wettest months.
The local currency is Tanzania Shillings (TSH) but the currency cannot be bought outside of the country. Cash (US Dollars) and credit cards are accepted at hotels and at any Bureau de Change. We strongly recommend that you take USD cash in small denominations for incidental purchases, tips etc.
220/230 V. square pin adapter (same plugs as UK). It is advisable to take along an international adaptor.
As Zanzibar is situated in a malaria zone, it is recommended that you consult your physician on the correct preventative medication required before you travel.
WHAT TO DO IN ZANZIBAR
Whether you spend your days lazing by the pool, sipping cocktails on the beach at sunset, diving in warm waters or enjoying a Dhow cruise around small islands, your Zanzibar holiday will be a memorable experience.
Setting sail on a traditional dhow will be one of the highlights of your trip. Safari Blue is a full day excursion which takes you out into Menai Bay – a haven of beautiful uninhabited islands where the waters are frequented by humpback and bottlenose dolphins. The anchor is dropped on a sandbank which makes for some spectacular snorkelling. Drinks are served throughout the day and lunch is a buffet of grilled fish, lobster, calamari and chicken. Make sure this one is on your itinerary.
WHAT TO PACK
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