The Zanzibar Archipelago consists of several small islands lying off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean. Known as the Spice Isle, Zanzibar is a collective name for the group of islands of which Unguja and Pemba are the largest.
Located 32km’s east of the Tanzanian mainland, and 6º south of the equator, Zanzibar was once the gateway and trading centre of East Africa. The islands capital, Zanzibari City, and main airport are located on Unguja.
The main attraction of Zanzibar City is Stone Town (Mji Mkongwe), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name “Stone Town” derives from the use of coral stone as the main construction material giving the town a characteristic, reddish warm colour.
Stone Town makes for an interesting cultural visit with its maze of narrow winding streets, coral stone houses, buildings fronted by long concrete benches known as barazas with huge intricately carved doors, vivid markets and colourful bazaars.
Away from the city, small towns and villages occupy the interior. Accommodation ranges from hotels to private house to beach camps.
Zanzibar is truly idyllic and offers everything from its deep rooted culture to its beautiful powdery white beaches with fringing coral reefs and sparkling turquoise waters.
The sea is shallow, but venture further and you’ll find spectacular coral reefs for superb snorkeling and diving centered around Mnemba Atoll to the north-west, and the Menai Bay Conservation Area, to the island’s south-west.
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