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Zanzibar / The spice Island

Few names evoke such romantic associations as this 85km long segment of coralline reef in the Indian ocean, 40 km from the mainland of Tanzania. Steeped in history, the old town is a maze of narrow streets with whitewashed houses and magnificently carved brass studded teak doors,quaint shops and bazaars. Zanzibar,also the name of the capital is located on the West coast. It was the ancient trading port of the sultans of Oman in the 19th century. This city is a medina: the only of its kind south of the Equator. Inland, the island is a garden of Eden offering the most exquisite tropical species,redolent of cloves,cinnamon and other spices which flourish everywhere. Walk around Stone Town for an hour or three and you will see two millenia of history unfold before your very eyes. Architecturally the mix is incredible with buildings displaying Arabic,Indian,European and African characteristics. Of particular note are the city\’s 500 or so doors,with their intricate carvings, brass spikes and even verses quoted from the Koran. Many an explorer stayed on Zanzibar and the houses where Livingstone and Burton lived can still be seen today. Zanzibar is visually stunning with beautiful beaches,unique forest reserves and plantations evergreen with fruit, vegetable and spices – a trip to the Jozani Forest will reveal the distinct Kirk\’s red colobus monkey, one of the rarest primates in Africa. A cosmopolitan population from a multitude of creeds and races echoes a colourful history of seafarers and explorers, of riches and tragedy, and the dark stain of slavery. Relativel new to tourism, the pace of life is slow and traditional values remain strong. Respect local sensibilities – dress and act modestly away from the beaches – and the famous Zanzibari hospitality will be extended to you. Stays on Zanzibar are a perfect ending to any East African Safari.