Zanzibar conjures up images of idyllic sandy, palm fringed beaches; romantic winding cobbled alleys and lush tropical forests and you will find all these here along with an interesting history. Zanzibar was the base of the great 19th century explorers such as John Hanning Speke, Richard Burton and David Livingstone and was once a major trading centre of spices. For centuries Zanzibar has traded with the people of the Arabian Peninsula for many generations, navigating the ocean in simple dhow sailboats relying on the annual trade winds for passage. The Arab influence is evident in the architecture and diverse street stall offerings of the capital, Stone Town. This influence can be seen all along the Eastern coast – the Swahili language is a result of the mixing of Arab and African languages and cultures over many centuries.
Some of the history of Zanzibar is not as romantic. The island was once a staging post for slaves bought from the African interior who were detained before being shipped to Middle Eastern slave owners. The places where these men and women were held can still be seen and even the shortest visit is enough to convey the atrocious conditions they were forced to endure. On a lighter note though Zanzibar is the home of the Zanzibar Colobus Monkey, the Zanzibar Servaline Genet and the possibly extinct Zanzibar Leopard.
Our time spent in Zanzibar is not structured and your time is at leisure. One of the best ways to see Stone Town is on foot, where you can explore the bazaars for old maritime trinkets and cloths. You can also partake in activities such as visiting mosques, palaces, courtyards and alleyways of the old town. Spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper are grown in nearby plantations and you are encouraged to take day tours where you are free to have your senses dazzled. If you are the kind of person who leans more toward leisure time spent on the beach, you are always free to enjoy the white sand and sparkling ocean and to simply soak up the sun’s rays. If you are looking for a good swim or dip in the sea, head out to the northern beaches to experience the warm and inviting Indian Ocean at it’s best where you can try your hand at snorkelling and diving, indulge in some tasty, lavish seafood or just relax beneath a coconut palm with a cocktail and a good book in hand.
PLEASE NOTE: As we leave the truck on the mainland, basic tourist class accommodation (B&B) is included in the tour price but for the sake of flexibility other meals are left for your own account. Typically, we spend one night in Stone Town and the next two nights in the north of the island at one of the beaches. Your tour leader will be available to assist if you if you have any questions or need activities arranged. Please note that some group members may be starting their tour in Dar es Salaam. Both old and new are invited to join in any group outings.
Trip Highlights: Ferry to Zanzibar, Stone Town, Northern beaches, optional Zanzibar activities
Accommodation: Twin/ triple rooms with en-suite facilities – 1 night Stone Town – Mazson’s or similar, 2 nights Kendwa Northern beaches – Sunset Bungalows or similar
Meals included: Breakfast included with hotel accommodation
Distance Covered: Ferry crossing
Optional Activities: Spice Tour US$35, Slave Markets US$15, Arabic Fort US$5, Palace Museum US$10