Zanzibar – off the coast of mainland Tanzania – is without doubt the number one beach location in East Africa. It is an archipelago of islands with tropical white-sand beaches, fringed by coral reefs, greened by lush, fertile plantations, and with an incredible history and a fascinating culture. The warm tropical air is suffused with the intoxicating aroma of fruit and spices. The islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper and, for this reason, the Zanzibar archipelago is sometimes called the Spice Islands.
The main island of Zanzibar and the other islands, which have exotic names like Mafia Island, Pemba and Mnemba, are a rustic, unspoilt paradise, enabling you to experience an exotic and luxurious Indian Ocean island holiday without the crowds. The coastline is dotted with resorts, where the focus is on snorkelling and diving. The crystal clear tropical waters surrounding the islands of Zanzibar are home to some of the world’s most diverse sea life and colourful reefs. At Mnemba Atoll Marine Park, turtles are a common sight. Dolphins are seen on almost all boat trips and the majestic whale sharks migrate past the island twice a year.
The monsoon winds of the Indian Ocean enabled a triangular trade route to spring up at the beginning of the 11th Century between Zanzibar & mainland Africa, Arabia & Persia, and India. Many Arabs settled in Zanzibar and intermarried with the local people, leaving the archipelago with a long history and a rich cultural mix. Stone Town, the historical centre is a World Heritage Site and is claimed to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. With its labyrinth of alleyways, charming city centre and ancient harbour, this is worth a visit.