Zanzibar is mysterious, exotic and romantic. It is the evocation of the exotic, an archipelago nestled in the Indian Ocean, 37km offshore from Tanzania. A destination both legendary and mysterious.
From this remote outpost, at the hub of the Monsoon trading routes, history was enacted, journeys of discovery were planned, Sultanate empires were established and the first mediaeval global village was founded. Zanzibar retains the imprint of its historic legacy in the tumbling streets of Stone Town, in the Arabic-inflected Swahili language and the rare antiques of the bazaars and markets.
The historic charms of Stone Town, the picture-book, palm-fringed beaches, colourful reefs and the cultural pride that exudes from every beach hut, every temple and every courtyard continues to lure visitors from around the world.
The total population of Zanzibar is around 1 million. Around two thirds of the people, are living on Unguja (Zanzibar Island), with most settled in the densely populated west.
Besides Zanzibar City, other towns on Unguja include Chaanai, Mbweni, Mangapwani, Chwaka, and Nungwi (Where Divine Diving dive club is situated).
Outside of these towns, most people live in small villages and are engaged in farming or fishing.
The haloes of idyllic beach that adorn the island’s coast, and the fragrant spice plantations that blossom in the interior make Zanzibar the ultimate Indian Ocean destination, the jewel in East Africa’s crown.
Zanzibar’s main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. For this reason, the Zanzibar Archipelago, together with Tanzania’s Mafia Island, are sometimes called the “Spice Islands”.
The heat of summer (corresponding to the Northern Hemisphere winter) is often cooled by strong sea breezes associated with the northeast monsoon(known as Kaskazi in Kiswahili), particularly on the north and east coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm year round. Rains occur in November but are characterized by brief showers. Longer rains normally occur in March, April, and May in association with the southwest monsoon (known locally as Kusi in Kiswahili).