Monday, January 26, 2015

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Executive summary by darmansjah

Sultans, sailors, slaves, and spice traders have all passed through this mystical Indian Ocean archipelago on East Africa’s Swahili Coast. Located 22 miles from mainland Tanzania, semi-autonomous Zanzibar consists of two main islands—Unguja (Zanzibar) and Pemba—plus numerous smaller islands. The diverse human history (dating back at least 20,000 years to the Paleolithic Age) and natural beauty (turquoise water, coral reefs, and white sands) create an exotic backdrop for a fall beach or diving vacation based at a small-scale resort like Chumbe Island Coral Park, a private nature reserve featuring palm-thatched bungalows. Skies typically are clear through the end of October, with “short rains” returning in November. Supporting the islands’ geotourism efforts includes respecting the majority Muslim population’s modest dress code, particularly when wandering the beguiling maze of cobbled lanes in Zanzibar's ancient trading port, Stone Town. Join a living history tour to learn the stories of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Top stops include the haunting slave memorial erected on a former auction block, and Beit al-Ajaib, a 19th-century sultan’s palace that's now the House of Wonders Museum of History and Culture of Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast.

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