Most prominent of the Spice Islands, Zanzibar has a potent mix of history, legends and unique cultures. Visually stunning with exceptional natural beaches and the haunting architecture of Zanzibar town, the island has lured travelers to its shores for centuries. Its past was dominated by merchants, rulers, explorers, scholars – today tourism is playing a key role. Zanzibar provides the perfect compliment to an East African safari.
Famous for being a major producer of cloves, and infamous as being a slave market and entry-port, the old stone town of Zanzibar has a fascinating labyrinth of narrow winding streets lined with whitewashed, coral-rag houses with overhanging balconies and magnificently carved brass studded doors, shops, bazaars, mosques, courtyards, squares etc.
Outside town there are more ruined palaces, Shirazi remains, Persian baths, and magnificent palm fringed beaches with warm clear water, ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Also known as the Spice Island for its 200 years of clove production, hilly Pemba lies 40 km north of Zanzibar. Its capital Chake Chake is strategically located on a hill overlooking a creek.
_Spice production from some 3 million clove tees pervades both the economy and atmosphere as cloves are laid out to dry in the sun and its characteristic aroma hangs in the air.
There are two historical monuments to its past. About 20 km to the west is the 8th century ruins of Ras Mkumbuu, with its Persian influence. The second lies 10 km to the south east of Chake Chake, the 15th century settlement of Pujini, destroyed later by the Portuguese along with the palace of Mkame Ndume the settlement builder.
Mafia Island lies 140 km to the south of Zanzibar, at the mouth of the Rufiji River. Mafia Island used to be an important settlement from the 12th to 14th centuries, but these days is better known for its excellent diving and also deep-sea fishing.
In addition Mafia is an important breeding ground for giant turtles which come up onto the white coral sands to lay their eggs.
Zanzibar City Centre – Half Day
The half-day city tour visits Zanzibar’s colourful market, which exudes a heady smell of herbs and spices. Other sites visited include the Anglican Cathedral, which stands in silent testimony on the site of one of the last open slave markets in the world, the residence of the late Sultan of Zanzibar; ‘Tip Tip House’.
The Old Fort and the House of Wonders – all locations rich in antiquity and full of intrigue from the days of long ago. The tour ends with a romantic stroll along the narrow lanes of the Old Stone Town.
Spice Tour – 4 Hours
The spice tour is guaranteed to sharpen your senses. Drive through the countryside to visit spice plantations – with an opportunity to pick, smell and savour exotic fruits and spices.
Prison Island – Full Day
Changuu Island is a historical island once used for the detention of recalcitrant salves. Today Giant Tortoises, some over 100 years old, act as unlikely vigilantes over the island. The beach is superb and the crystal clear sea excellent for swimming, snorkelling, fishing and diving. This trip is perfect to while away a complete day.
Jozani Forest – 4 Hours
_Jozani is the only remaining natural forest on Ungunja Island. Covering an area of 10 sq km it consists of high forest, swamp forest and evergreen forest. It provides an important refuge for the remaining Ungula fauna such as the rare Red Colobus Monkeys, small Zanzibar Leopard and two antelope species – the Zanzibar Duicker and Sunni