Zanzibar – an Island of Africa
For sunbathing and romping in the ocean, don’t overlook the wonderful island choices off the coast of Africa.
Zanzibar Island is a water hotspot. The overall Zanzibar Archipelago is in the Indian Ocean, just 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania. However, it could not be more different than the mainland.
Here you will find turquoise waters, shallow sandbars and if you head into the capital of Zanzibar City, be sure to visit the World Heritage Site of Stone Town, Zanzibar City’s old quarter.
Zanzibar has been coined the “Spice Island” and it is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania. What is referred to as Zanzibar consists of many tiny islands and the two larger ones; Unguja, referred to as Zanzibar, and Pemba.
Stone Town will fascinate and impress with charming and winding streets that offer a glimpse of a culture like no other. There are townhouses that have been unchanged for many years, and you won’t want to miss the Sultan’s Palace and the House of Wonders. Keep in mind that the Portuguese left a fort and gardens on the island, and the Hamamni Baths are Turkish baths, part of the old city.
Stone Town’s port is a vast part of the western end of the island. There are a few beaches here like Mangapwani, but even a sunny day on the beach is just steps away from history. Here you can find the slave caves at low tide. Consider a stop at Chole Island Marine Park not far from Stone Town, and take in the day trips to the Prison and Snake Islands.
Venture outside of Stone Town and you will understand why the island has the moniker “Spice Island.” There are still working plantations that produce cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon, among other spices.
If you are considering spending some time in the sun and the chance to swim or surf, you can do it on Zanzibar, but it will depend on the side of the island you are visiting. In the north, the swimming is doable, and the beaches are white sand and sun. If you make your way to the eastern part of the island, you will find coral reefs and sand bars. Take note at low tide and discover the underwater life of starfish and tiny fish living in small pools waiting for the tide to come back in.
If you head to the southern coast of Zanzibar, there you will find the Menai Bay Conservation Area. This area is known for its sea turtle protection program and the sea turtles breed on Zanzibar Island. On your way south, you will see Jozani Forest with the Red Colobus monkeys, and there are unique Suni antelope found on the island, too.
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