Africa

Zanzibar – a Passport to Paradise

Zanzibar is an archipelago of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, along with several other islets, located in the Indian Ocean, 25 miles away from the Tanzanian coast. The main island is Zanzibar, locally known as Unguja and the main characteristics of this heavenly place are: the gold sandy beaches, the fringing coral reefs, the turquoise water and the magic of Stone Town – the only functioning ancient town in Eastern Africa. Zanzibar is called “The Island of Sensations” and it deserves its name.

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Being located just 6 degrees south of the Equator, Zanzibar is an ideal holiday location all year round. With warm weather the island has an average of 7-8 hours of sunshine daily, interrupted by some short showers in November or by long rains in April and May, months often referred to as the “Green Season”.

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There are more than 25 beaches all over the island that seem to be pieces of paradise. Interspersed with peaceful fishing villages, the only sound that might break the silence on the Zanzibar beaches could be the sound of the ocean itself. Some recommend the beaches near Matemwe and Nungwi as the best places for snorkeling and scuba diving.

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If you get tired of soaking up the sun, although this seems almost impossible here, you can get tours on spices and coconut plantations. Near Nungwi, you can see most of the island’s craftsmenat work, so if you’re interested in local traditions, take some time to visit them.

Image by mattk1979

Stone Town, the major city of the island, is the cultural heart of Zanzibar. Recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the city is a place with winding alleys, bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses. More than 500 different examples of handiwork can be seen in the house’s doors. Once one of the most important trade centers in the Indian Ocean, the city is a blend of Moorish, Middle Eastern, Indian and African traditions and architectures.

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Although the island does not offer much cheap accommodation, make sure you double check the location and quality of the hotel before booking it. Hotels in Zanzibar can get a bit pricey when they are located in a good area and the service quality is better than average.

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