The Zanzibar archipelago consists of several islands. The capital is Zanzibar Town, within which is the UNESCO proclaimed heritage site of Stone Town and has been a convenient stop for traders as well as tourists over the years. Once independent, Zanzibar is part of Tanzania but exercises some autonomous rule.
Let's learn a few things about the Zanzibar archipelago and perhaps you will finally decide to make the trip to this awesome place.
Getting to Zanzibar is easy no matter which area of Tanzania you are. There are direct flights to the island from most major towns in Tanzania. When you are making plans to travel ensure that you have the right documentation. This means travel and medical insurance, a valid visa for at least 6 months prior as well as a return ticket; this will prevent any delays or surprises at the airport.
The Zanzibar archipelago is an enchanting and beautiful place, consisting of 50 islands that vary in size from small boulders to the larger islands that have plenty of people such as Pemba and Unguja. It is a great place to explore with stunning white, palm fringed sandy beaches, clear blue waters washing over numerous reefs.
One of the reasons why the Zanzibar archipelago is such an amazing place has to do with the weather. Since it is situated close to the equator, it is warm throughout the year. The high temperatures in summer are usually mitigated by the breeze coming in from the sea. The rainy season is between March and May as well as November and December.
It is always a great idea to change to the local currency which makes transactions easier. The Tanzanian shilling is the best way to buy souvenirs and get around. However, US dollars are still widely accepted, and most hotels will accept Visa and Mastercard. If you want to use your debit and credit cards, there are still plenty of places in the Zanzibar archipelago that accept these.
The Zanzibar archipelago has a rich history. For many years it was under the rule of the Sultanate of Oman who successfully fended off the Portuguese. However, it was the British who later took it from the Sultanate. The legacy of its history is the unique culture, beautiful architecture, fabulous foods and welcoming people.
The Zanzibar archipelago offers plenty of fun activities for the avid adventurer such as swimming with dolphins snorkeling, scuba diving and enjoying the rich marine life around the corals.
Tanzanians, in general, have a conservative lifestyle and it is advised you avoid wearing skimpy outfits when indulging with the locals.
The pace in Zanzibar is that of a slowed down way of life. In fact, they have a term for this known as the pole pole which literally means take things easy and slow.