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Zanzibar is a team-up of Zanzibar and Pemba islands located in the Indian Ocean. It is 25 Kilometers from the Tanzania coast, 6 degrees south of the equator. Unguja is the original name but it is know as Zanzibar world wide. This island is 60 miles and 20 miles wide. It is made up of several islets, beautiful sandy beaches with fringing cliffs and enriched by the history of Stone town. Zanzibar triggers a mix up reactions of early clove farming in Pemba and Zanzibar in the 1880’s, which became the world’s largest producer of cloves. This was a measure of success for the early traders who also came to buy slaves. The slaves were also used for cultivation and harvesting of cloves especially in the Sultans 45 plantations. Other spices were introduced to the Zanzibar plantations, among them cinnamon, cumin, and cardamom among others.
Slave trade, spices and ivory speeded up the prosperity of Zanzibar and the island became a central business district. All trade in the east African coast passed through Zanzibar Island. It became to be known as the ‘spice ‘island’ because of all the spices that were grown here. Just like the spices grown here, Zanzibar really spices your African safari. Stone town is the old city of Zanzibar consisting of old Arab grand houses whose original owners competed with each other over their dwelling’s extravagances. It is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar. It is reputed to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. You can spend many wonderful days just exploring the fascinating labyrinth of the narrow streets and alleyways.
It is here in Zanzibar that the famous German missionary John Krapf in 1844 arrived and was later joined by John Rebbman who became the first European to see Mount Kilimanjaro. These are just a few of the first Europeans to arrive and explore East Africa.
All these intermixing of the Arab traders and first explorers left what are today’s Zanzibar’s local people, an incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds. Main religion is Islam but there are a good majority of Christians and Hindu. Large animals do not exist in Zanzibar but there are forests inhabited by bush pigs, small antelopes and monkeys. The island is rich in bird life and butterflies. Over time Zanzibar Island has seen the change from the trade center to a romantic island where people come to seek the quietness of the blue-waters, lie on the sandy beaches, go diving or snorkeling. It is reputed to have some of the most magnificent diving locations in the world. Temperatures range up to 27 all year round ensuring that the dive is fun all the way with the warm waters. The coral reef structures that surround Unguja and Pemba ensure that marine life is present and in abundancce.