Zanzibar is located in a semi-autonomous archipelago just off the coast of Tanzania. The world's shortest war took place on this charming island, surrendering to the British after 38 minutes of naval bombardment. Today, Zanzibar is a fascinating location with its own distinct character. The island is home to many whitewashed, coral rag houses, intriguing marketplaces and bazaars as well as quaint shops, courtyards and mosques. Zanzibar’s allure is just legendary with fascinating attractions and exciting things to do.
If you’re heading to the fascinating island of Zanzibar, your flight will land at the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. The airport is located just 5 km south of the city of Zanzibar. The airport operates many domestic and seasonal international and chartered flights many major tourist destinations from Zanzibar. The airport is small and facilities are pretty rudimentary. Visitors can hire a taxi from outside the terminal to bring them to the city-centre. Do negotiate a price before hopping on the taxi!
This island is never short of things to do. It just depends on where your interest lies and how you would like to shape your experiences on this lovely island. Getting from one destination to another is very convenient with taxis which are both cheap and plentiful in this city.
If you have very little time in this city, skip the rest of the attractions and head straight to the Stone Town, a recently-declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Stone Town is one of the most unique cities in the world with a fusion of Moorish, Middle Eastern, Indian and African architecture. The architecture of this town is inspired by the centuries-old interaction between the African, Indian and Arabian on the archipelago. Explore the labyrinths of alleyways with quaint shops and restaurants on foot but be sure to bring some sunscreen and lots of water along. Head to one of the largest and most vibrant markets at the bazaar in Stone Town. Don’t be surprised to see one of the world’s largest avocadoes here!
The Slave Market is an attraction very worth your time. Step back in time at the holding chambers and relive a piece of history in the small dark dungeon-type cells. Do consider hiring a tour guide whilst exploring the market to learn more about the history of slave labour in Zanzibar. This attraction will really get you emotional about the atrocities that were committed by British and Oman Arab slave traders.
Head to Forodhani Gardens to try some authentic local food at reasonable prices. Visitors would be spoilt for choice on the variety of food served here, ranging from crab claws to calamari steaks and baked cheesy potatoes. Walk through the market before deciding what to eat and do try to haggle your way for a more reasonable price. If you’re willing to spend more, head to the Terrace Restaurant at Maru Maru Hotel to get a 360 degree view of the city. You would be treated to the view of all the UNESCO World heritage sites on the island, coupled with the extraordinary view of the Indian Ocean while sipping a cocktail or having your dinner. This is a highly recommendable place to watch the sun sink into the horizon.
If you have more time, consider heading to the East Beaches where you would be able to enjoy pristine white beaches and warm teal waters from the Indian Ocean. Sit and stare at the waters for hours on end or read a book while on a hammock at the beach. If you’re adventurous, try kitesurfing over the clear blue waters of the magical Indian Ocean.
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