Evocative and exotic, Zanzibar conjures up images of idyllic, sandy, palm fringed beaches; romantic winding cobbled alleys and lush tropical forests. You will find all these here – and an intriguing history. Zanzibar was the base of the great 19th century explorers such as John Hanning Speke, Richard Burton and David Livingstone and once was a major trading centre of spices. Indeed, the spice trade here is centuries old: Zanzibaris have traded with the people of the Arabian Peninsula for many generations, navigating the ocean in simple dhow sailboats, relying on the annual trade winds for passage. The Arab influence is evident in the architecture and diverse street stall offerings of the capital, Stone Town. This influence can be seen right along the Eastern coast – the Swahili language itself is a result of the mixing of Arab and African languages and cultures over many centuries.
Zanzibar’s other history is not so romantic. The island was also a staging post for slaves bought from the African interior, being held before shipping to slave owners in the Middle East. You can still see the places where these men and woman were held – and even a short visit is enough to convey the appalling conditions they had to endure.
Our time on the island over the next 3 nights is not structured and your time is at leisure. Perhaps the best way to see Stone Town is on foot: explore the bazaars for old maritime trinkets, fabrics and wooden carvings, or visit mosques, palaces, courtyards and alleyways of the old town. Spices are grown in plantations nearby and you can take day tours to visit some and have your senses dazzled by the tastes and scents experienced. If it’s white sand, sparkling ocean and hot sun you prefer – head to the northern beaches and enjoy the Indian Ocean at its best. Try snorkelling and diving, indulge in some sumptuous seafood, or simply relax beneath a coconut palm with a cocktail and a good book.
NB: As we leave the truck on the mainland, basic tourist class accommodation (B&B) is included but for the sake of flexibility other meals are left for your own account. Typically, we spend one night in Stone Town and the next two nights in the north of the island at one of the beaches. Your tour leader will be available to assist if you if you have any questions or need activities arranged.
- Accommodation: Stone Town – Mazon’s or similar – twin/ triple rooms with en-suite facilities
- Meals included No
- WIFI: Yes
- Optional Activities: Spice Tour US$35, Slave Markets US$15, Arabic Fort US$5, Palace Museum US$10