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Zanzibar, Tanzania by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash.

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Zanzibar Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Embark on a journey through Zanzibar's vibrant culture and storied past. Explore spice markets, ancient ruins, and immerse yourself in local traditions.

About Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a fascinating destination known for its cultural diversity, historical significance, and natural beauty.

It offers visitors a unique blend of experiences ranging from relaxation on pristine beaches to exploring centuries-old spice plantations and vibrant markets.

Travel Map Mapping Zanzibar

Map of Zanzibar

Map of Zanzibar

Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of East Africa, part of the United Republic of Tanzania.

It consists of two main islands, Unguja and Pemba, along with several smaller islands.

Zanzibar Overview

Zanzibar has a rich history influenced by various cultures, including Arab, Persian, Indian, and European.


Zanzibar's culture is a blend of African, Arab, Indian, and European influences.

The majority of the population is Muslim, and Swahili is the primary language spoken.

The island is known for its vibrant music, including Taarab, a unique style that combines elements of Arabic, African, and Indian music.


Historically, Zanzibar's economy relied on spice production, particularly cloves.

Today, tourism is a major contributor to the economy, along with agriculture and fishing.

The government has also been exploring opportunities in sectors such as renewable energy and infrastructure development.


Zanzibar was an important trading hub for spices, ivory, and slaves in the 19th century.

It was controlled by various powers, including the Portuguese, Arabs, and British.


Zanzibar has a semi-autonomous status within Tanzania, with its own government and president.

The archipelago has experienced political tensions, particularly regarding issues of governance, elections, and the relationship between the islands and the mainland.


Zanzibar is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning beaches, clear waters, and rich marine life.

Visitors can enjoy activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, spice tours, and visits to historic Stone Town; a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its winding streets, bustling markets, and Arab-infused architecture.

Visiting Zanzibar

Zanzibar is known for its stunning beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture.

Zanzibar Highlights

Beach Time

Zanzibar is renowned for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters.

Head to popular beach destinations like Nungwi, Kendwa, or Paje to relax on soft sands, swim, snorkel, or try out water sports like diving and kiteboarding.

Cultural Experiences

Immerse yourself in Zanzibar's diverse culture by attending traditional music and dance performances, visiting local villages, and trying authentic Swahili cuisine at local restaurants and markets.

Island Hopping

Consider exploring other islands in the Zanzibar archipelago, such as Pemba Island or Mafia Island; known for their untouched natural beauty, excellent diving spots, and serene atmosphere.

Jozani Forest

Visit Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park to explore its unique flora and fauna.

This is one of the last remaining sanctuaries of the rare Red Colobus monkeys, which are endemic to Zanzibar.

Take a guided walk through the forest to spot these charismatic primates and other wildlife.

Prison Island (Changuu Island)

Take a boat trip to Prison Island, just off the coast of Stone Town.

Explore the island's historical prison, relax on its beautiful beaches, and don't miss the chance to spot giant Aldabra tortoises; which are a highlight of the island.

Spice Tours

Zanzibar is often referred to as the Spice Island due to its history of spice cultivation.

Take a spice tour to visit local plantations and learn about the island's spice trade; tasting fresh spices like cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg along the way.

Stone Town

Explore the historic centre of Zanzibar City, known as Stone Town.

Wander through its narrow streets lined with ancient buildings, bustling markets, and mosques.

Don't miss attractions like the House of Wonders, the Old Fort, and the Sultan's Palace.

Responsible Tourism

Respect the local culture, traditions, and environment during your visit.

Consider supporting local businesses, hiring local guides, and practicing responsible tourism practices to minimise your impact on the delicate ecosystem.

Travel Advisories

Remember to check travel advisories and entry requirements before planning your trip, and consider visiting during the dry season (June to October) for the best weather conditions.

About Zanzibar

Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast, and south of the Equator.

Zanzibar Island, known locally as Unguja, is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide; occupying a total area of approximately 650 square miles.

The island is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of historic Stone Town - said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa.

Stone Town

Stone Town, an old city and the cultural heart of Zanzibar, has changed little in the last 200 years.

Map of Stone Town

Map of Zanzibar City

It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses; whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This one-upmanship is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors - there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork.

You can spend many idle hours and days just wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways in Stone Town.

It is also home to many grand Arab houses, which were built in the 19th century - when Zanzibar was one of the most important trading centres in the Indian Ocean.

Key attractions in Stone Town include the Old Dispensary, Livingstone's House, the Peace Memorial Museum, the Palace Museum, the Arab Fort and the House of Wonders (which translates from its local name, Bait el Jaib).

The Old Fort - Ngome Kongwe in Swahili

The Old Fort - Ngome Kongwe, Zanzibar

The 18th century fortress was built on the site of Portuguese chapel, by Omani Arabs.

An open air amphitheatre is home to evening film screenings and the Mambo Club serves as the main live stage.

House of Wonders - Beit el-Ajaib

House of Wonders - Beit el-Ajaib, Zanzibar

Built in 1883, by sultan Barghash, and bombarded by the British Fleet in 1886, Beit el-Ajaib became the first building in Zanzibar with electricity and a lift.

The House of Wonders is now the National Museum of Zanzibar and venue for the photography and Zanzibari painters exhibitions.

Peace Memorial Museum

Peace Memorial Museum, Zanzibar

With its distinctive dome, arabesque windows and white washed walls, the museum looks like a mosque or a basilica church.

Located at the southern end of Stone Town, the museum’s annex has a small library and natural history sections including a skeleton of a dodo.

The museum also serves as a venue for the Children’s Panorama workshops and exhibition.

Zanzibar and Other Islands

Zanzibar is the largest coral island off the coast of Africa; an island paradise in the Indian Ocean, some 20 miles off the coast of Tanzania.

As well as Zanzibar, Tanzania boasts many smaller islands which are just a short trip from Stone Town, including Prison (Changu Island), Chapwani, Chumbe and Bawe Islands.

Travel Zanzibar & Safaris

Regular ferries operate between Dar es-Salaam, Zanzibar and Pemba.

Community Travel Trips By Jefferson Mbaga of Travel Zanzibar Safaris.

Zanzibar and other islands, off the east coast of Africa, were initially controlled by Arab traders, the Portuguese, and then Omani sultans.

Most people visiting Zanzibar stay in a number of locations in order to get a real feel for the place. A few nights in Stone Town is an essential element of a good trip though.

Mafia Island

Mafia is a wonderful little island at the centre of the largest marine park in East Africa. It is a real sleepy backwater, a remnant of the old Swahili coast and the place to visit for a reminder of how Zanzibar was thirty years ago.

Pemba Island

The island of Pemba is a remote, untouched paradise of clove plantations, traditional villages, broad sandy beaches and superb marine life. This is the place to come if you are into hiking, sailing, fishing and especially diving.

Stone Town

The transport hub and general centre of activity on the islands, Stone Town is a fascinating historic city and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Zanzibar City

The largest town on Zanzibar Island, the port of Zanzibar is situated on the south-western coast.

Vasco da Gama visited the island in 1499, when it was already an important trading centre between Africa, the Middle East, and India.

Arabs from Oman ousted the Portuguese in 1698, but didn't begin to develop the island until the mid-19th century. It was made a British protectorate in 1890, and merged with Tanganyika to form Tanzania in 1964.

Zanzibar Commission for Tourism

Zanzibar's mission for tourism development is 'to be the most exotic, diverse island destination in the Indian Ocean region'.

Tanzania Travel Notes

Zanzibar Hotels - Zanzibar Tours.

Maps and Travel Guides

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