Zanzibar - Tanzania

World Map and Zanzibar

Hakuna Matata (= no problem) is the expression that more frequently you can hear since your arrival at Zanzibar. Whether in positive sense or, sometimes, with a sad smile expression on the face to justify all that is not good indeed.

Zanzibar is a small archipelago consisting of Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar Island), Pemba and several small surrounding islands. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast, and 6 south of the equator.

The name Zanzibar is a combination of two Arabic words, 'Zinj', meaning black, and 'barr', being the Arabic word for land, resulting in the ancient title 'Land of the Blacks'.

Zanzibar has a warm climate with an average temperature of 25C although it has been known to go as high as 39. February is the warmest month of the year while August is the coolest month of the year.
There are two rainfall seasons, the longest and heaviest rains (Masika) occurring from the middle of March to May and the short rains (Vuli) in November.
The best period to visit these islands is winter when the temperature is about 33 degrees by day and 25 degrees by night.

Unguja is a flat and covered with vegetation country. There are majestic baobabs and a large variety of fruit trees as banana trees, coconut palms, pineapples, orange trees and so on.
Fishing and agriculture are the main economic activities of the local people. Tourism is the primary foreign exchange earner, with more visitors coming to Zanzibar each year.

The population is estimated at about one million people. 98% are Muslims, other religions include Christian, Hindu and traditional beliefs.
Zanzibaris speak Swahili (known locally as Kiswahili), a language which is spoken extensively in East Africa.
The local currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh); US dollar and euro are taken everywhere.

The main town is Stone Town. This name let us understand that the other villages are mainly made with canes, mud and straw.
Surely Stone Town is worth of a visit. To stroll about the narrow streets, markets, little shops, churches; to admire thousands of carved doors, to observe the life of its inhabitants, let us bring back to the same daily scene repeating themselves since many centuries.

In the eastern part of Unguja there are wonderful beaches everywhere with large spaces, coconut palm plantations until the horizon and the reef in sight. The main beaches are Kiwenga, with its modern resorts, Matemwe, Pwani Mchangani, Michamwi, Bwejuu, Paje and Jambiani.
In these beaches there is a wide tide. During the low tide it is necessary to walk hundreds meters to reach the water, while during the height tide the ocean brushes the palms surrounding the coast.
If you are looking for a beach life similar to the western taste, the best place is Nungwi at the North of the island where you can find accommodations, restaurants, shops and a diving center. Furthermore the tide is not remarkable.

Worthy of a visit are:
- the Jozani Forest where you can see a model of tropical humid forest, mangroves and different types of endemic vegetal and animal species. The most important are the red Kirk's monkeys (Piliocolobus kirkii).
- the spices plantations (cinnamon, cardamomum, clove, lemongrass, coriander, cumin, curcuma, nutmeg, pepper, paprika, vanilla, saffron, ginger)
- a white sand islet, off Fumba, emerging only during the low tide.
- Changuu (Prison Island) that was a prison for rebel slaves and a quarantine place. Nowadays is inhabited by the Aldabra big turtles (Geochelone Gigantea) imported from Seyshelles in the eighteenth century for ornamental purpose.

The Dalla-dalla, always full with forks and goods, connect all the main villages and beaches. No run costs more than Tsh 1000 (less than one dollar) but all of them take much time.
Taxis do not have the taximeter and so it is necessary to fix the price in advance.

However the best way to visit Zanzibar is to go along with the "beach boys". These boys that you will find in the beaches will propose you to be your guide. By jeep or by boat they took us everywhere there was something interesting to see at a very low price in comparison with the tourist agencies offers.

Sea Wallpapers: Zanzibar

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