The island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania is exotic, beautiful and full of history. The island's location means that it was a central trading location between Arabia, India and Africa. For hundreds of years, it was one of the main centers of the spice trades and thousands of feet have trodden the narrow alleyways of Stone Town. Those that came included Arab traders, African princes, Middle Eastern Sultans, Portuguese explorers, British soldiers and those unfortunate enough to become slaves traded in the marketplace. As well as its fascinating and evocative history, Zanzibar has some fantastic beaches making it a great place for a romantic break.>
What to Do in Zanzibar
The main attraction is Stone Town. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Africa, built to defend the lucrative island marketplace. Saffron, the world's most expensive spice, is grown in Zanzibar, along with many other aromatic and mysterious spices. It has a colourful and noisy market, and some beautiful architecture – you should definitely visit the palace and the House of Wonders. There are darker historical buildings too, including the slave market and dungeons. You can take a tour of spice plantations, and find out more about the modern-day spice trade.
Zanzibar is also a very popular location for beach and sea related activities. There are some excellent scuba diving sites around the island and some lovely beaches too.
The local food is excellent, as you'd expect from somewhere that thrives on trading spices – Zanzibar is a very good place to try seafood, too. The island is predominately Muslim, although it's possible to find small bars dotted around town and in resorts – try the local ginger beer.
Accommodation-wise, you'll find something for everyone in Zanzibar. There are some luxurious offerings available that are perfect for a romantic break, and there are also a range of other hotels and hostels that will suit every budget. Nungwi is a popular holiday town, and is a popular destination for sailing; it also has an aquarium, and Kendwa is a quieter alternative.
Zanzibar has its own airport, and can also easily be reached from Dar-es-Salaam.