Zanzibar at present is used to refer to an archipelago which consists of the two islands of Pemba and Unguja and a number of small isles off the Tanzanian mainland.
These islands have for centuries been a part of the rich cultural history of the East African Coast. It is strongly believed that the Swahili language originated from Zanzibar.
Merchants from Europe and the Middle East are believed to have first arrived here in the 1st Century. The islands later became part of the British Colony and attained their independence in 1963. Tanganyika and Zanzibar unified to form Tanzania in 1964.
Travel to Zanzibar:
The islands of Zanzibar are one of the feature tourism attractions for visitors to Tanzania.
The islands especially Unguja, home to the town of Zanzibar offers a good selection of entertainment and recreation activities including; a good number of restaurants serving a range of local and foreign cuisine, bars and nightclubs. The beaches here are very popular too and one can indulge in a variety of outdoor activities including; scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, boat rides and water skiing.
Mji Mkongwe: a visit to Zanzibar would not be complete without seeing the Stone Town known in Swahili as “Mji Mkongwe”. Declared a World Heritage Site by the UN, it is situated at the old section of Zanzibar town. Here you will find a good number of buildings displaying traditional Swahili and Arab architecture. Many of these date back over two centuries.
Zanzibar is home to some of the best hotels in Tanzania. The archipelago is famed for its beautiful beaches, culture and friendly weather conditions which make them ideal as a holiday destination. Popular hotels in Zanzibar include;
Zanzibar Serena Inn: a leading establishment here, the Serena Inn is part of the Serena International Group of hotels. The hotel occupies a waterfront property at the famous “Stone Town” and can be a good starting point for tours of this world heritage site. Services and facilities here include; swimming pool, restaurant, bar, air conditioned rooms and access for recreational activities such as diving, nature and cultural tours.
Zanzibar Hotel and Beach Resort: amicably situated at Matemwe beach with easy access to a variety of sporting activities such as diving, skiing, surfing and snorkeling. Amenities and services here include; restaurant, bar, satellite TV, swimming pool, laundry and air conditioned rooms.
Air Tanzania is the main airline that offers regular scheduled flights to Dar es Salaam. The Zanzibar airport is situated about 5 km from the town of Zanzibar and is an important avenue of travel for visitors to the islands.
The Zanzibar archipelago is one of the most visited in Tanzania. Air travel offers an alternative to ferries and boat rides from the Tanzanian mainland. Other airlines flying regularly to Zanzibar are; Kenya Airways and Precision Air.