Zanzibar is an archipelago located in the Indian Ocean, about 40 kms from the Tanzanian coast, formed by Unguja, generally called Zanzibar, Pemba and several small islands around. It is renowned for its exotic spices, tropical fruits, sumptuous sultans, white sand beaches, coral reef and magnificent scuba diving.
It is the result of a fusion of Swahili, Arabic, English and other cultures. It was influenced by the Europeans, notably the Portuguese who took control of the island between 1503 and 1698, then by the Sultan of Oman until 1887, when most of the territories were lost to the colonial powers. English, German and Italian. The British Empire then took control of Zanzibar which became a protectorate of Great Britain in 1890.
After the shortest war in history (45 minutes), in 1896, Sultan Hamoud, supported by the British, was appointed sultan. He ended the slave trade in Zanzibar. The British granted independence to Zanzibar in June 1963 and control of the islands passed to a constitutional monarch. But the new monarchy did not last long as in January 1964 a violent revolution led to the creation of a people’s republic of Zanzibar, and on April 26 of the same year, Zanzibar merged with the mainland state of Tanganyika, to form Tanzania.
The historic city of Stone Town is a must to visit with its narrow and winding streets, its stone constructions mixing Indian and Arab influences, its charming balconies, its painted windows, its carved window frames and its famous doors. However, it is important to keep in mind that some buildings may be in ruins or poorly maintained.
Zanzibar is known for its fruits and spices, and a spice tour shouldn’t be missed.
The beaches are exceptional with white sand and turquoise blue waters.
The climate is tropical and the coolest period to visit it is from July to October, with pleasant temperatures and little rainfall.