Zanzibar, Tanzania Travel Guide
Tanzania is really an interconnection of two areas; Tanganyika, as we know it as the mainland, and Zanzibar. The latter consists of two large islands, Pemba and Unguja and a lot of small belongings. Zanzibar is without a doubt an exotic paradise for tourists.
The island also houses as many as 1,303,569 inhabitants, of which 99 per cent. have Islam as their religion. The exotic white sandy beaches, as well as the historically famous areas of Zanzibar, are without a doubt an experience you will soon forget.
According to programingplease, Zanzibar is a collection of islands located just off Tanzania on the east coast of Africa. The two largest islands are called Pemba and Unguja, where the latter is informally called Zanzibar. The capital of the islands is Zanzibar Town, which is historically enriched and an exciting city to explore.
Experiences on Zanzibar
The oldest part of Zanzibar City is Stone Town. Hence the city’s Swahili nickname Mji Mkongwe ” , which means old town . Stone town is based on a special and somewhat sad story. In the middle of the 20th century, the district was used as a center for the slave trade.
The narrow streets of Stone Town form a somewhat fraudulent maze, which takes you around to the town’s small shops, markets and mosques. The vast majority of streets are so narrow that cars cannot drive on them. Therefore, Stone Town is relatively free of these In turn, it abounds with bicycles as well as motorcycles.
In addition to the history that Stone Town can tell, the architecture of the city is also worth a visit. Here the many different nationalities are mixed together, which over time have left their mark on the city. The buildings are characterized by Arabic, Persian, Indian, European and of course African elements. An important building material used here is the reddish characteristic coral stones.
Due to its history and the many amazing buildings found in Stone Town, the district is today on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A few hours can be set aside to explore this historic mecca. A visit to the old slave chambers or to the city church will surely impress you.
Freddie Mercury’s childhood home
During your visit to Stone Town, you should definitely also make a stay at Mercury House . If you love 80’s rock music, this is an attraction you will not miss. The building has been home to Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury.
The world-famous artist was born in Stone Town back in 1946, but moved to the UK with his family in 1964, due to political reasons. Mercury sadly passed away at an early age of 45, but the locals in Stone Town still remember the great singer with pride in his voice. To this day, Mercury’s home has been transformed into a small cozy restaurant.
Most people associate Zanzibar with sunbathing on one of the island’s exotic white sand beaches. Paje Beach is a great example of a great beach where relaxation is at the center. Here there is chalk-white sand and azure sea in all shades, as far as the eye can see.
There is a good grip on the waves on the beach. Therefore, the area is also superbly well visited by kitsurfers, some of whom believe that Paje is the best kite place in the world! When you have finished lazing and soaking up the sun in the fine sand, you can satisfy your hunger at one of the small cozy bars. The food is good and the drinks are cool.
On Zanzibar there are no lush nature reserves with a wild and varied wildlife. In return, the island has its very own little gem, for those who want to interact with the uncrowned kings of Africa. Cheetah’s Rock describes itself as being something completely unique – somewhere between a zoo and a safari park.
In the park you get the opportunity to get really close to the majestic animals, however, the meeting always takes place on the animals’ terms. The park does not allow anesthesia of the animals, removal of their teeth and claws or training with violence. Therefore, it is important to respect the regulations for visits to the park.
During your visit to Cheetah’s Rock, you will be well taken care of from start to finish. Before your meeting with the animals, you will be offered coconut juice at the reception, where the friendly guides will give you all the information you may need. The trip will then take its start, where your first encounter will be with the zebra Chaka.
Besides Chaka, you will also be introduced to the striped hyena Gismo and the white lion Aslan. A meeting you will soon forget will be with the King of Cheetah Rock’s, the cheetah Tyson. Behind each animal is a story that the guides are passionate about telling further. Some of the animals have come to the park as gifts, while others have been rescued from captivity. One thing is for sure – the love between animals and guides is immense.
At Cheetah’s Rock, the animals come first. Therefore, only a limited number of tourists are admitted at a time, and children under the age of 15 are unfortunately not welcome. Likewise, the park makes some demands regarding attire, but it is important to remember that these rules exist for your own safety.
Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Pond
In Zanzibar, it has been a tradition in the past to catch turtles and resell their beautiful shells. The green turtle in particular has been an endangered species, due to the demand for its meat. Therefore, the Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Pond was formed in 1993, in order to protect the stunningly beautiful animal.
In addition to the fight to preserve the turtles and their environment, the group behind the site and a number of other activities. Among other things, the team cleans up several of Zanzibar’s beaches and also trains fishermen in the safe release of turtles if the fascinating animal sneaks into the net. So far, the group has managed to save more than 200 sea turtles from fishermen’s nets. In addition, they have secured about 20 local jobs in the group.
A visit to Mnarani will be an educational experience about the nature and way of life of turtles. You will have the opportunity to get really close to the animals and see them unfold in an environment adapted to them. Furthermore, here you get a fantastic insight into the group’s work and everyday life.
By finding a special kind of stone tool, it has been possible to trace human habitation on Zanzibar 20,000 years back. Another confirmation of this theory is found in Greco-Roman texts from somewhere between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, where the Zanzibar area is mentioned.
The exotic islands of the Indian Ocean, were in the 16th century a recognized and well-visited area for the slave trade. Particularly Persian, Arab and Indian traders were major consumers of Zanzibar. Many of these specifically use the island as a base for travel in the Middle East, India and Africa.
In the year 1499, the Portuguese explorer, Vasco Da Gama, visits Zanzibar. Vasco’s visit marked the beginning of European influence in the East African islands. Around the year 1504, Zanzibar became part of the Portuguese Empire, after a visit to the island by Captain Ruy Lourenco Ravasco Marques, who was actually heading for India. Upon entering the islands, the captain demanded tribute from the then sultan in exchange for peace.
This is how Zanzibar was transformed into a Portuguese trading post with a Roman Catholic mission. 200 years later, however, the sultan got enough, and therefore took power, by killing all the Portuguese on the islands.
Rubber and ivory
In the 20th century, the British caught sight of the islands, but they wanted to stop the slave trade, which at that time was extremely well-established on the island. In 1873, the British explorer John Kirk finally succeeded in concluding a treaty with Sultan Bargash. The abolition of the slave trade also removed Zanzibar’s largest industry. The islands had to find another source of income, and became an important export center for rubber and ivory.
German / British showdown
in the year 1885, Zanzibar gets to feel for the first time the British and Germans’ internal struggle for African domain. On August 7, five German warships attempted to penetrate the shores of Zanzibar. Here it dawned on the British that something had to be done to maintain their power over Zanzibar. After long negotiations, Sultan Bargash entered into an agreement with the British in the year 1890. With this, Zanzibar was a protectorate of Great Britain. 73 years later, Tanzania becomes an independent government.