Zanzibar is a small island off the coast of Tanzania. It can be accessed by plane or ferry from Dar Es Salaam. Most people go there to simply do as little as possible and it's a great destination to do just that. Relaxing on the sandy white beaches, enjoying some snorkeling or diving and delicious seafood dinners, it's a great beach destination.
However if you'd like to combine your relaxation with a bit of activity and exploration, here's a quick guide of what there is to see and do on the island:
A fun way to get around if you're the independent type is to hire scooters. You can find these from operators in Stonetown and will need to have a map or at least a good idea of what you want to see so that you can navigate your way around. From Stonetown you can head out to the slave caves which stand as a monument to this tragic part of Zanzibar's history. Just south of Stonetown is the Josini Forest – the last remaining area of indigenous forest on the island. Here you can view the rare Red Colobus monkeys and variety of birds. Along the coast are numerous villages with roadside stalls and street markets. Here you can find a variety of spices at good prices.
Zanzibar offers some excellent souvenir options, from quirky modern to more traditional items, its great fun to browse the markets and shops. I simply love the brightly colored Kikoi's which are traditional beach wraps or sarongs. You can find hand painted and dyed ones with a wide variety of designs and colors. In Stonetown there are several shops that have quirky t-shirt designs. The t-shirts are of a good quality and if you purchase more than one you can generally pick up a good deal. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and curry can be found in the markets. Carved handcrafts and traditional paintings are also widely popular as souvenirs. Bargaining is common in the markets and road side stalls but is sometimes frowned upon in the shops.
If you'd like to learn more about the islands history and culture then it really is best to go on an organized tour. The local tour guides are both knowledgeable and entertaining. Recommended is a historic tour of Stonetown which takes in ancient buildings and monuments as well as the slave trade sites. Another interesting tour option is the spice tour which provides and insight into the local customs, traditions and agriculture.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating tours is the dolphin excursion. Travelling out by boat to the south of the island you get into the water with your snorkeling gear and are soon visited by some curious dolphins. The dolphins are often in the area and daily sightings are common. It's quite an amazing experience!
Details of the tours and operators can be obtained from your hotel reception or by making enquiries at one of the local travel agents in Stonetown.
Cherelle | Oct 13, 2009 | Category: General