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Zanzibar Island


Over time Zanzibar Island has seen the transformation from an ancient trade center to a romantic island where people come to seek the tranquility of the blue-waters, lie on the sandy beaches, go diving or snorkeling. It is reputed to have some of the most magnificent diving locations in the world. Temperatures range up to 27 all year round ensuring that the dive is fun all the way with the warm waters. The coral reef structures that surround Unguja and Pemba ensure that marine life is present and in abundance.

The 'Spice Islands' of Zanzibar consists of two main islands, Unguja and Pemba with some 50 smaller islands surrounding the archipelago. Unguja is the main island and most developed of the two and many people refer to it as Zanzibar. There is an estimatedone million people, of which 350,000 are found on Pemba. The majority of people inhabit Stone Town (which is the "capitol" of Zanzibar). Stone town is the old city of Zanzibar consisting of old Arab grand houses whose original owners competed with each other over their dwelling's extravagances. It is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar. It is reputed to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. You can spend many wonderful days just exploring the fascinating labyrinth of the narrow streets and alleyways.

Zanzibar triggers a mix up reactions of early clove farming in Pemba and Zanzibar in the 1880's, which became the world's largest producer of cloves. This was a measure of success for the early traders who also came to buy slaves. The slaves were also used for cultivation and harvesting of cloves especially in the Sultans 45 plantations. Slave trade, spices and ivory speeded up the prosperity of Zanzibar and the island became a central business district.

All trade in the east African coast passed through Zanzibar Island. It became to be known as the 'spice 'island' because of all the spices that were grown here. Other spices were introduced to the Zanzibar plantations, among them cinnamon, cumin, and cardamom among others.
It is here in Zanzibar that the famous German missionary John Krapf in 1844 arrived and was later joined by John Rebbman who became the first European to see Mount Kilimanjaro. These are just a few of the first Europeans to arrive and explore East Africa. All these intermixing of the Arab traders and first explorers left what are today's Zanzibar's local people, an incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds. Main religion is Islam but there are a good majority of Christians and Hindu.

Zanzibar is part of the United Republic of Tanzania but administratively there is an autonomous government for matters that are not part of the union agreement. This island is 60 miles and 20 miles wide. It is made up of several islets, beautiful sandy beaches with fringing cliffs and enriched by the history of Stone town.

Zanzibar, Pemba and are part of a coral reef barrier along the Tanzania coast. The resorts here are becoming recognized as among the top in the world. The crystal clear water, beautiful beaches and luxurious vegetation form a paradise that provides a wonderful combination of Swahili culture, superb diving and wonderful cuisine. A visit to any of these islands is easily added to yours holiday.

Large animals do not exist in Zanzibar but there are forests inhabited by bush pigs, small antelopes and monkeys. The island is rich in bird life and butterflies.

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