The land area of the two main islands is approximately 2 332 square kilometers of which Unguja is 1 464 square kilometers. Zanzibar (Unguja) is mainly a low lying island, with its highest point at 120 meters above sea level.
The people of Zanzibar Island and Pemba have been welcoming travelers to their country since the first Greek and Phoenician ships blew into their harbours on the north-west monsoons of 600BC. Ancient visitors to Zanzibar came to trade gold, silks, ivory, spices, animal skins and most notoriously slaves.
While the Western world was still sunk in the darkness of the Middle Ages, Zanzibar was already a meeting place for traders from the great Oriental cultures from China, Persia and Arabia. The inhabitants of Zanzibar were known ass the Swahili – the people of the coast.
They traded with visitors from across the Indian Ocean, build stone Houses and had well developed systems of government.
The first Europeans to discover Zanzibar were the Portuguese, who arrived in the late fifteenth century. While they had little in Zanzibar beyond keeping it out of the hands of their enemies, they build forts, introduced the sport of bullfighting, and added a few choice words into the Swahili language.
Among the trade visitors to Zanzibar Island were the Omani Arabs, who had developed one of the most powerful navies in the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar became the hub of this commercial empire, a handy storehouse for slaves from the mainland, confined on the island until the ships to transport them north were ready.
By 1890 the British had put an end to the once-great empire of the Omani sultanate. With a combination of bribery, diplomacy and the odd judicious naval bombardment, Britain abolished the slave trade in East Africa and ultimately declared Zanzibar a protectorate. The then Sultan, Ali, became a British vassal, and between them Britain and Germany carved up the Sultan’s domains. While still remaining on the throne, the Sultan’s power was ended and their wealth used up. The ear of the British on Zanzibar, which saw the salve market destroyed and an Anglican cathedral built in its place, lasted until 1963, when power was formally handed back to the Omani Sultans. A violent revolution one year later however saw the end of the new Sultan’s reign. After the revolution the new Zanzibari government joined with the post-independence government of mainland Tanganyika to form a single state, renamed Tanzania. The first half of the 1990s saw the rise of a multi-party system of government and the development of Zanzibar’s newest industry – tourism.
Stone Town, the capital city of Zanzibar, was once and island of its own, separated from the rest of Zanzibar by a muddy, foul-smelling creek. Over the centuries, Stone Town developed into pleasant place with its architecture a distinctive bland of tall whitewashed Arabic houses, covered walkways dating from Swahili times, and more recent Indian dwellings with rows of intricately latticed balconies. The most distinctive features of Stone Town is the many carved doors that line the narrow streets. Decorated with brass studs and intricate carvings depicting abstract motifs or verses from the Koran, the doors vary in style according to the nationality of their original owners – wealthy Indian or Arab merchants. The British colonialists contributed to Stone Town by erecting the Anglican Cathedral. These days Stone Town is celebrated the world over for its architecture, style and uniquely exotic atmosphere, and around 2000 the buildings of the old town have been awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The coastlines of Zanzibar are a fantasy of turquoise water, gently leaning palm tress and miles of dazzling white sand. Today Zanzibar’s beaches are a worldwide tourist attraction, with visitors from around the world visiting to stretch out blissfully on the white sand and enjoying the calm turquoise water with its gently lapping waves. At sunrise, before the Island awake from its slumber, joggers enjoy the cool morning on the beach of this warm tropical island. During the day the sea is filled with sailing boats and old wooden dhows maned by fishing crews. At sunset you will see fisherman cycle home along the beach after a day’s fishing.
On Zanzibar you will find a variety of places to stay, from the budget friendly hotels that includes Amaan Bungalow, Cristal Resort, Langi Langi Beach Bungalows and Mnarani Beach Cottages, to the more upmarket resorts My Blue Hotel Zanzibar, Mapenzi Beach Club, La Gemma Dell est, Dream of Zanzibar, Karafuu Beach Resort, Sea Cliff Resort and Spa, Neptune Pwani Beach Resort and Spa, Gold Zanzibar Beach House and Spa. Also have a look at our Zanzibar Resorts section for more information.
For some information on Zanzibar specials have a look here.
You will be pleasantly surprised to see the variety of packages to Zanzibar that are on offer these days, from more affordable budget saver packages that includes breakfast to high value all inclusive packages.
Zanzibar honeymoon packages
So you just started planning your wedding, and not sue about your honeymoon. You will definitally not go wrong with one of our Zanzibar honeymoon packages.