Tanzania, Zanzibar Island: description, attractions and interesting facts
For many of us, the most incredible place to go on vacation is Africa. The island of Zanzibar, for example, is visited annually by several tens of thousands of tourists. And they all return home madly in love with this amazing corner of the planet, where you can realize almost all your dreams. So what is this magical place? What is so special about you, Zanzibar Island?
Zanzibar: a short description
In fact, the island of Zanzibar is only part of a vast archipelago, consisting of seventy-five large and small islands. The largest are the three islands:
The latter name is not very well known, because practically all Europeans, as well as the locals, call Ugundzhu "Zanzibar".On this large island is the capital of the archipelago and numerous hotels that provide services to the highest class.
Many mistakenly believe that the beautiful island is part of the state of Tanzania. Zanzibar Island, of course, is part of Tanzania, but has the status of semi-autonomy. The government and the president are in the capital, and any inhabitant of the island, if you ask about his nationality, will proudly say that he is Zanzibar. And only secondarily, the islanders consider themselves to be Tanzanians.
The total area of the island is just over two and a half thousand square kilometers, where more than one million Zanzibarians live. However, to this number of local people need to add a few thousand tourists who come here to rest at any time of the year. After all, the average air temperature on the island ranges from twenty-five degrees above zero. This allows you to relax in Zanzibar in any season, which is very convenient development of the tourism industry autonomy.
Zanzibar Island: where is African Paradise
Zanzibar Archipelago is located in the Indian Ocean.It stretches off the east African coast and is only forty kilometers from Tanzania. It is worth noting that millions of years ago, Zanzibar was part of the African continent and as a result of the movement of the earth's crust separated from the mainland.
Population of Zanzibar: features and national composition
The island of Zanzibar in different historical epochs belonged to the Persians, the Portuguese and the Arabs. This affected the religious beliefs of the islanders and the national composition of the population. More than eighty percent of Zanzibarians are Muslims, this religion entrenched on the island during the reign of the Persians. They gave the island their culture, the foundations of a world view and, of course, religion. Approximately fourteen percent of the islanders consider themselves to be Christians or adhere to local cults.
It is worth noting that Christian missionaries failed to win the respect of local residents and convert them to their faith. At the moment, most Zanzibar people are descendants of Shirazi, Swahili and people from the African continent, who were once brought here in large quantities to slave markets.There are few Europeans in Zanzibar, they mainly work in the tourism industry or come as volunteers to train and treat local people.
History of Zanzibar Island
Scientists believe that the first settlers from the African continent settled in Zanzibar about four thousand years ago. Very little is known about this stage in the history of the island, historians say that the first islanders spoke Bantu language and engaged in farming. About two thousand years ago, the locals began to contact with Arab traders who showed interest in these lands.
In the ninth and tenth centuries, several colonies of Persian immigrants settled in Zanzibar, they brought Islam and their cultural traditions to the island, which, however, quickly merged with the local customs of the islanders.
By the fifteenth century, Zanzibar had become a powerful state ruled by Arab settlers from Oman. They launched a trade in slaves, spices, glass, gold and ivory. Many inhabitants of the African continent were brought to the slave markets of the island, from where they were transported by ship to the new owners on plantations.
In the sixteenth century, the Portuguese came to Zanzibar, who took the slave trade in their own hands, but were quickly ousted by the Arabs from Oman. For some time they had to once again cede power on the island to the British. But the Europeans were not able to permanently gain a foothold in the archipelago, and by the nineteenth century, the Arabs had turned Zanzibar into a reliable stronghold of the economy of the sultanate. This was evidenced by the development of the main city of the island - Stone Town, to which the Sultan even transferred his government. It was during this period that spices were actively grown in Zanzibar, especially the huge plantations of cloves. This spice brought fabulous wealth to the sultan, who invested them in the development of the island. Most of the buildings of that period are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are carefully protected.
In the sixties of the last century, Zanzibar signed an agreement with Tanganyika on the creation of a unified state of Tanzania. Its name has become a combination of the names of both states. In 2005, a flag and a parliament appeared in Zanzibar, although since the formation of Tanzania, Zanzibar has been part of it on semi-autonomy terms.
Zanzibar through the eyes of tourists
Every year more and more travelers include Zanzibar Island in their itinerary. Reviews of tourists who have already been here, literally encourage others to go on this journey and finally get to know Africa more closely. What is so attractive for Europeans who are far from understanding the culture and lifestyle of Zanzibarians?
First of all, these are, of course, magnificent beaches that literally surround the island of Zanzibar. Reviews of these magnificent many kilometers of coastal areas, as if powdered with fine white sand, evoke an incredible longing for the sea and inspire a trip to a travel agency. The beaches on Zanzibar are really great, and many five-star hotels have their own piece of paradise coastal territory, which is very convenient for European tourists who prefer to relax in some privacy.
The turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean hide the rich underwater world, which can be seen with the help of professional diving instructors. There are more than twenty diving schools in Zanzibar, where tourists are offered to study or simply hire an instructor who knows the best places to dive.
Many tourists with admiration talk about spice plantations, nursery turtles and many, many other things, which together make a list of attractions of the island of Zanzibar, deserving a separate story.
Sights of Zanzibar
The main pride of Zanzibarians, which they strongly recommend to tourists, is Stone Town. This Stone City was founded by the first Arab merchants and is a fabulous labyrinth of streets, houses and squares. The main thing is not to get lost in this jumble of wealth and poverty, because, walking through the city, you can see the magnificent palaces of the Sultan and small shacks of local residents that resemble cells in stone houses. Many tourists say that walking in Stone Town is always very colorful.
The most visited building in the city is the House of Wonders. Once it was the residence of Sultan Said Ibn Bagash, who attracted the construction of the palace of the Scottish architect. The building towers over the city on three floors and has a high beautiful tower, but all the wonders of the palace to modern people do not seem something incredible.After all, at the end of the nineteenth century, plumbing, electricity and elevators seemed to be incredible magic to ordinary people. At the moment there are museums in the House of Wonders where you can get acquainted with the culture of Zanzibar.
On the sad pages of the history of the island recalls the area of the slave trade, where the monument to the slaves. Tourists can plunge into those times when the life of a black slave cost absolutely nothing for his masters. During the tour, the guides tell about the slave trade, show the slave market itself and the basements, where unwanted slaves were thrown.
All tourists should definitely go to the island Prizon, in fact, on geographical maps, it is designated as Chang, but everyone calls him "prison." Here for a long time there was a prison where cholera patients were brought in to prevent the spread of the disease. Now on Prizone is a real paradise for divers and lovers of beach holidays, every day dozens of boats stick to the shores with tourists who spend the whole day on the island. Just a storm of emotions is caused by a nursery of turtles on the Zone.These charming animals can be fed from the hands and photographed with them. The age of some giant turtles has already crossed the border in one century, and other individuals are still very tiny who have lived in this world for only a couple of decades.
It is difficult to leave Zanzibar without visiting the Jozani Nature Reserve. Here, tourists are offered to walk along barely noticeable paths and admire wild animals. Most of all the tourists are pleased with the colobus monkey, which lives only on this archipelago. In the reserve you can find more than a hundred species of exotic birds, most of them are not at all afraid of people. But keep in mind that the jungle is full of various creeping creatures, so you should wear closed clothes on the tour.
If you choose Zanzibar Island for your holiday, then you should definitely get a tour on the spice plantation. The pleasure and benefit of the time spent on the plantations cannot be overestimated, because tourists will be able to cut coconut on their own, learn how to cook a bread tree, and even try to make cinnamon for themselves. In addition, here you can buy a lot of spices, equal in flavor to which you will not get anywhere else in the world.
Most tourists interested in beach holidays often choose the island of Zanzibar for themselves. Where is the best beach on the coast? This is a very difficult question, because on the island a huge number of surprisingly beautiful and suitable places for recreation.
For example, in the north of the island is Mangapwani beach. It is suitable for couples who dream of solitude. And Fusi and Chuini, located near the Stone Town, are the most equipped and suitable for water sports.
The purest coral lagoons are in Nungwi, here you can admire the underwater world, just wearing a mask for snorkeling.
For divers in Zanzibar, two underwater reefs are suitable:
The first will be an excellent base for beginners, its depth does not exceed fourteen meters, but the second will make the hearts of even experienced divers quicken to beat, who have already managed to dive with scuba diving in many parts of the world.
Interestingly, in addition to natural coral reefs, the place where the British liner sank at the beginning of the last century was suitable for diving. Over time, it became houses for stingrays, moray eels and lobsters, so diving here is extremely interesting.
Choosing hotels in Zanzibar
A few decades ago, mostly wild recreation with tents and sleeping bags came to Zanzibar. They were located on the beaches and enjoyed the natural beauty of almost solitude. But now almost the most comfortable place to stay in Africa is the island of Zanzibar. Hotels here are built mainly on the coast, the most common are hotel complexes with four and five stars. They provide high service, but the prices for accommodation here can not be attributed to the democratic. For example, a double room in a mid-level hotel (three or four stars) will cost one hundred dollars per day. But a luxury hotel on the coast will already cost about five hundred dollars per night.
But in addition to luxury hotels in Stone Town there are many decent guesthouses at a price of fifty dollars per day. Such houses have air conditioning, a kitchen and often a pool. Living in them is extremely convenient.
Zanzibar Island: prices
If you are going to Zanzibar, keep in mind that this is not the cheapest holiday. First of all, you will encounter certain difficulties even at the time of purchasing air tickets.The fact is that there are no direct flights to Zanzibar, and you will have to search for connecting flights through Dubai. The cost of such a one-way trip can reach thirty thousand rubles.
We have already specified the cost of living in hotels, therefore, the excursion and meals remain in the expenditure item of tourists. The excursion program on the island is rich, and you can enjoy a trip to the plantations or Prizon Island for fifteen to twenty dollars.
Eating in Zanzibar is better in a hotel restaurant or in checked places that a guide can indicate. The average check in restaurants does not exceed thirty dollars. And local cuisine is always very tasty and fragrant.
Interesting facts about Zanzibar
Of course, Zanzibar is an amazing place, so you can gather a lot of interesting information about it. Something can be cited in our article:
- the famous Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar, now his house has been turned into a mini-hotel;
- in the seventies of the last century, Zanzibar became the only place in Africa where color television sets appeared;
- On the island, they managed to completely exterminate the tsetse fly, which caused serious damage to livestock;
- in the Guinness Book of Records brought the war in Zanzibar, which lasted less than half an hour.
And on the island there is a signature cocktail, identical to the name of the archipelago, consisting of ... No, no, we will not reveal this secret to you. Go on holiday to Zanzibar and plunge into the magic of these places. And at the same time be sure to try a delicious cocktail with the taste of the sun, sea and tart spices.