is an island about 23 miles off the East African Coast. Its very name evokes romantic
associations - smell of spices, images of narrow streets, Arab chests, carved
doors, coral reefs. It is a tourists paradise, with tranquil, warm tropical waters,
many miles of beautiful sandy beaches on the Indian Ocean.
On these shores
passed explorers like Burton, Speke, Livingstone, and Vasco da Gama in 1502 enroute
to India. Zanzibar has a rich and ancient past, having been the center for travelers
sailing from distant lands of the Middle East by dhows.
Zanzibar was once
the main trading center for the whole of East Africa. Due to the generally slower
pace of life, its tranquillity has survived. Zanzibar can be reached from Dar
Es Salaam either by 30 minutes air flight or 1 1/4 hour hydrofoil or catamaran
Excursions and places to visit
The stone town is a unique architectural and cultural mix that has
formed over a millenia of interaction between people from the East African mainland,
Arabia, the Persian Gulf, India, China, Portugal and beyond. A guided tour may
be organised to take you through the narrow twisting gullys into the market where
you may catch the fish auction.
In light of its historical significance
and value, the United Nations has declared it as one of the World's Cultural Heritage
sites. This has further sparked an architectural restoration effort after many
years of neglect.
The architecture of Zanzibar and its historical significance
is a vast topic. You may wish to refer to the following texts for further information.
"Zanzibar Stone Town: An Architectural Exploration", Prof Abdul Sheriff
and Javed Jafferji, The Gallery Publications, Zanzibar, 1998
Spices and Ivory in Zanzibar", Prof Abdul Sheriff, James Currey, London,
for its high ceilings and towering pillars, this used to be the Sultans Palace
Here can be found
a collection of portraits of past Sultans and their documents, and relics of early
explorers - including Dr. Livingstone's medicine chest and local arts and crafts.
This house was once placed by the Sultan Seyyid Majid for use by
the European explorer David Livingstone, while in preparation for his expedition
to the mainland in 1866.
was the hub of the slave trade in East Africa, until 1873 when it was abolished.
On this site now stands a church.
This small island used to be known as prison island, where slaves used to be kept
pending transportation to other markets. Remains of underground slave chambers
can still be seen. One of the main attractions today are the giant tortoise.
This palace was built by Sultan Sayyid Bargash for his harem in
the 1880's. It was however accidentally burnt down in 1899 and now stands as ruins.
This tour enables one to see,
taste and smell various spices and fruit that are cultivated on the Island.
to see: Town Market, Tippu Tip House, Portuguese Fort, Dunga Palace, Kidichi
Persian Bath, Mangapwani Caves, Kizimkazi Mosque, Mtoni Palace, Jozani Forest
This full day guided excursion begins at 9h00
when you are picked up from your hotel and transferred by minibus to the fishing
village of Fumba, 18 kilometres away. Here you will be provided with a life jacket
demonstration followed by a briefing on the days excursion. You will then board
the dhows and set off in search of the dolphins (85% chances). The species frequently
found at Menai bay are spinner and bottlenose dolphins. You will swim with dolphins
if they stay close to the boat, but are unlikely to be able to touch the dolphins
as they are of course wild animals.
You will then go on to one of the selected
snorkeling locations. Here you will snorkel while accompanied by a snorkeling
guide to show points of interest and to assist with beginners. Snorkeling equipment
will be provided. You will then move on to the another island or sand bank for
lunch. Lunch is a traditional Zanzibar meal and typically includes a selection
of barbecued fish, rice, lentils and fish curry. Chilled fresh fruit juice, mineral
water and bottled soft drinks are available throughout the day. You will spent
the remainder of the afternoon relaxing, swimming or snorkeling.
to Fumba by sail, if wind permits; setting off around 16h00, the journey takes
approximately one hour. You will be transferred back to your hotel.
bring: Comfortable waterproof sandals, sun protection items, bathing suits
Bad Weather Conditions:Visitors may get wet, delayed or the
trip canceled at a short notice as your well being is our prime concern.
Description of the Dhow Lunch - Prison & Bawe Islands:
Bar with assorted drinks available)
The Dhow will cruise first to Prison
Island to explore the island for one hour - photograhic giant Tortoises which
came across from Seychelles more than one hundred years ago and the Prison which
was used as a hospital.
This historical Island was formerly owned by an
Arab and used for the
confinement of refractory slaves. It was bought by General
Mathews and the jail (gaol) which still stands was built in 1893 and hence the
name "PRISON ISLAND".
Leave for Bawe Island where a powder soft
beach awaits you. The crew will prepare a sensational seafood BBQ for you while
you snorkel the reef close to the island. Clown Fish, Parrot Fish, Moorish Idols
and the occassional Lion Fish all dance to the music of the waves through their
majestic ballroom made coral. After a lunch of fresh fish, crabs, cigal, prawns,
salads and fruits of the season, there is time to relax on the beach and to swim
and snorkel some more. Late afternoon as the sun starts to sink lower in the sky
you will depart for seafront of Stone Town where your transportation awaits you.
The Coral rag building are their most picturesque from the sea, as the fading
sun throws shadows between the buildings and sets a pastel glow to its walls.
The Jozani Forest Reserve in Zanzibar is home to most of the world's
remaining 2,000 Red Colobus Monkeys (National Geographic Vol.194 No.5).
monkeys once found all over the island, are now concentrated in the forest area.
A half day tour consists of a walk into the forest and mangrove swamps where one
may have a close encounter with these endangered species.