Zanzibar Travel Guide

Browse 35 travel reviews, 45 travel blogs and 3,569 travel photos from real travelers to Zanzibar.

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Zanzibar Overview

An archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar as a whole is a grouping of Zanzibar Island, Pemba Island, and a variety of other smaller islands that create the perfect environment for an enchanting vacation away from the burdens of the more crowded island destinations. This is a distinctly different feel than one would get visiting the Caribbean. Here, the mixture of Moorish, Indian, African, and Middle Eastern traditions and architecture have created a mystical sense of island living that feels like it was torn right out of the pages of a Arabian Nights. And while there are plenty of beaches here waiting for you to sink your toes into their soft, white sands, the true allure of Zanzibar is the history and the exploration that the islands offer.

The ancient Persians were the first to settle here, using Zanzibar Island itself because of the natural harbor as a stopping-off point when trading between India, the Middle East, and Africa. Then, over time, it came under the control of the Portuguese Empire, eventually falling under the rule of the Sultanate of Oman, which was when the plantations first began to spring up and the spices grown which would eventually become popular enough that the islands became known as The Spice Islands. The British eventually took control until Zanzibar won its independence in 1963. It is this history which has shaped sections of Zanzibar Island into what is now known as Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that blends all the elements of the past together into a labyrinth of alleys, shops, open markets, and historical buildings.

Beyond that, the islands themselves await. Places like Jozani Forest, complete with animals like the Zanzibar leopard or the Red Colobus monkeys, or the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre and the Jozani National Park. Between the beaches, the ancient history of the harbor town, and the natural beauty of the surrounding islands, Zanzibar is a destination that literally screams exotic with every fiber of its being.

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Stone Town also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for "old town") is the old part of Zanzibar City, the main city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania, as opposed to Ng'ambo (Swahili for 'the other side'). I…
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