Zanzibar: General Information

Where is Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a Tanzanian archipelago, located off the eastern coast of Tanzania, Africa in the middle of the Indian Ocean, it is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, bursting with culture & history it is so much more than white sand beaches, clear warm waters with coral reefs perfect for snorkeling. Zanzibar is made up many small islands and two major islands Unguja (the main island, informally referred as Zanzibar) & Pemba

Zanzibar’s history

Zanzibar like mainland Tanzania was settled by Bantu-speakers at the outset of the first millennium, with trade rapidly increased & by the 10th century it was one of the central Swahili trading towns. Persians, Indians, and Arabs used Zanzibar as the base for voyages between the middle east, India, and Africa. Unguja, the larger island offered a protected & defensible harbor.

In the 14th century Zanzibar was controlled by the Portuguese, later came to the under influence of the sultanate of Oman. The Zanzibar archipelago developed an economy of trade and cash crops it was famous for its cloves and other spices that’s why to date it is also known as spice island as it was the center of the spice trade, ivory & slaves were other major products, Zanzibar at the time was more of the power & business capital of the Swahili coast (stretching from present-day Mozambique to Kenya), Zanzibar city was the Swahili coasts main port for the slave trade in the middle east. In the 19th century, as many as 50000 slaves passed annually through the port, the sultanate furthered its relationship with British who put pressure on the sultanate to abolish slave trade as time progressed Zanzibar became a British protectorate until 10th December 1963 when it was terminated by the United Kingdom and made provision for full self-government in Zanzibar, Zanzibar became a constitutional monarchy under the sultan

However, a month later, on 12 January 1964, the sultanate was deposed during the Zanzibar revolution & replaced by the people’s republic

In April 1964, the Zanzibar republic merged with mainland Tanganyika, was soon renamed, blending the two names, as the united republic of Tanzania, within which Zanzibar remains a semi-autonomous region

Facts about Present-day Zanzibar

After the union of Zanzibar & Tanganyika, Tanzania was born, within which Zanzibar remains a semi-autonomous region. The Zanzibar archipelago is 25-50km off the coast of mainland Tanzania.

The capital is Zanzibar City, located on Unguja island, its historic center is stone town, which is a world heritage site. Like mainland Tanzania, the official language is Swahili & English but many Zanzibaris are also fluent in Arabicthe official currency being the Tanzania shillings.

Islam is the dominant religion by over 90%The population is over 1.3million according to the 2012 census. Main industry are spices, raffia & tourism.

How to get to Zanzibar

The best way of getting to Zanzibar is to fly to Zanzibar.

If you are coming from a foreign country, you can fly directly to Zanzibar international airport.

You can fly to Zanzibar from Kilimanjaro international airport, from Arusha airport (Arusha airport is more recommended after northern circuit safari), from Dar es Salaam international airport, from Mwanza airport.

You can also take a ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar. Ferry route takes about 2 hours from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar.

Why you should visit Zanzibar

Zanzibar is renowned for its crystal clear waters, pristine coral reefs & a blissful beach but there is more history, culture, etc.

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