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ZANZIBAR AND THE ISLANDS
Spice up your perfect island holiday
Zanzibar, together with Pemba, Mafia and other smaller islands in the Zanzibar archipelago, are collectively known as spice islands. Famous for the cultivation of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper, the islands have exported their spices around the world for hundreds of years and these products are still a major source of revenue.
While Tanzania is famous for its amazing wildlife and abundant national parks, many visitors come to East Africa for the white sand beaches and clear blue waters of the Spice Islands . Ranked among the country's most visited destinations, the Zanzibar archipelago is steeped in history and inhabited by the friendliest of people as well as offering a choice of luxurious accommodation.
HEAD TO THE BEACH
Many visitors to Zanzibar will be drawn to its exotic shorelines. With their idyllic Indian Ocean location, the islands have some of the most serene and peaceful beaches in the world. The calm beaches of the Zanzibar archipelago are ideal for nature lovers and holidaymakers looking to spend a quiet vacation away from the crowds. Moreover, guests can choose from a range of luxury resorts .
The island offer an excellence choice of water sports, from snorkeling in the sea grass meadows and diving among the extraordinary coral reefs to kayaking near the local fishing boats or going on a ''seafari''. Alternatively, you could go dhow sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, waterskiing, parasailing, kite surfing or wake boarding.
Another popular tourist activity is dolphin sighting. Visitors can take a sailing trip out to sea with a chance to view and swim with the dolphins.
As well as marine life, the islands are home to some remarkable land species. Zanzibar is known for its unique population of Zanzibar red Colobus, one of the Africa's rarest monkey species, as well as the Zanzibar leopard and the recently discovered Zanzibar servaline genet.
Meanwhile, Pemba is famous for the preservation of flying foxes under the auspices of the Kideke Environmental Conservation Club. Found only on Pemba, the flying fox is one of the world's largest species of bat.
As well as pristine seafronts, the islands are blessed with a unique culture and wonderful architecture. Be sure to visit Stone Town, one of the most fascinating parts of Zanzibar. With its cobbled streets, famed doors and traditional buildings, Stone Town is full of beauty, history and mystery. As a Unesco World Heritage Site, it is the island's hub of Swahili culture.
The colorful history of the Zanzibar people can be traced in the many forts, ancient buildings and magnificent mosques of Stone Town - all just a 20 minute drive from the airport. Experience Zanzibar's heritage by visiting historical buildings such as the Old Fort (Ngome Kongwe in Swahili), which was the first defensive structure built by Busaidi Omani Arabs in 1698. In British Colonial times it became a ladies' tennis club in 1949; and today it is an amphitheatre for Zanzibar International Film Festival.
Due to their illustrious role in the trade of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper, and their Oceanic location, the Spice Islands have attracted explorers and traders from around the world. Over the centuries, the islands have been ruled and occupied by the Sultans of Oman and Maskat and later by the British and Portuguese.
Moreover, the good crop-growing qualities of these islands brought incomers from India, the Middle East and other parts of Africa. Because of this, Swahili culture underwent a series of refinements as it absorbed aspects of the other cultures. The combination of these cultures can still be seen today in the islands' architecture.