Zanzibar brings up images of explorers, sultans and Arab sailing vessels (dhows) with spicy flavors. The small island of Zanzibar is located off the coast of Tanzania and has a number of beautiful beaches. Zanzibar is famous for being the birthplace of the rock band star Freddy Mercury. If you are visiting Zanzibar, you can’t miss going to the world-famous restaurant The Rock Restaurant located on the waterfront, exquisite food, and a wonderful coast view.
What You’ll See
When you arrive by boat, you will encounter the waterfront of Zanzibar that looks very similar to the days when Victorian explorers used Zanzibar as a staging post for their expeditions that went to Africa.
And right in the middle of the waterfront, you will find the House of Wonders: the Sultan’s Palace built in the 19th century. The interesting about this building is that it had the first elevator in East Africa and it was one of the first ones with electricity. Even though this building was covered with years of disdain now it’s an exceptional museum.
History of Zanzibar
Zanzibar’s history is colorful. Sultans who ruled the most part of the coastline of the island established the trade routes that lead even now to the Middle East. The sultan power decreased with the arrival of the British Empire but it finally finished with the revolution of 1956.
Due to the dark side of Zanzibar’s history, you can visit the old slave pens. However, a cathedral was constructed on the site of the slave market.
Indeed, this island was an important place of slaves trade that transported African slaves from the interior by Arab traders during the 18th and 19th centuries. Then, they sold the majority of slaves to European and American merchants, and then the slaves traveled in very bad conditions to Latin America and the Caribbean.
Some Incredible Things to Do
The center of Zanzibar town is a mix of narrow winding streets leading to everywhere and nowhere at the same time. And you can see the ornate from the sultan days with carved wooden doors. These doors were made to show and protect the wealth of the house-owners.
Very early in the morning, when shops are closed, you can immerse in the life of the town that looks pretty much like hundreds of years ago. It’s not hard to imagine explorers finding supplies and porters.
Indeed, wherever you go, you’ll hear people saying jambo (hello) and karibu (welcome). Walk to the old harbor and there will be fishermen haggling with locals. Also, you’ll have a first-hand view of the sailing boats that are there since the Arabs arrived.
Regarding the gastronomic aspect, you’ll be delighted as there are quite a few top-quality restaurants. As we already mentioned, a great recommendation is The Rock Restaurant that combines a stunning ocean view and delicious food. Besides, you can try crab and lobster with a glass of sugar-cane juice, just for a few dollars, while you have a nice talk with local people about any topic.
How Can You Get There?
You can get to Zanzibar in just a few hours by a ferry boat from Dar es Salaam. There are plenty of departures in the morning and returning mid-afternoon. By plane, you can flight from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar or from Zanzibar to Arusha.
Where Can You Stay?
This island offers a wide range of lodging from beach huts to luxurious resorts. The best choices are the Serena or the Tembo House. Local travel agents will help you with reservations and transfers.
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