Zanzibar produces the world’s largest cloves, and as a place I fell in love with while on my honeymoon there many years ago—it is a perfect destination if you are looking for fresh air, clean stunningly perfect beaches, unique culture, and delicious cuisine specially spiced with cloves! Yes, Cloves – those uniquely warm, sweet spice ingredient that add aromatic taste to any meal especially my ginger bread and pumpkin pie. And you guessed right, I specifically chose Zanzibar as my destination of choice because of my love for this spice which also make a wonderful addition to savoury dishes like split pea and bean soups, baked beans and chilli sauces. Of course, I won’t say you should jump into the next aircraft heading to Zanzibar because of cloves, but if you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I will advise you consider these 7 reasons you should visit Zanzibar (yes all seven of them)! There are more reasons though, but I have picked out these seven because – you guessed right again– it’s a perfect number!
This is what everyone who has visited the cluster of islands that make up the Zanzibar archipelago will easily acknowledge. I will recommend Unguja Island as your stop. It is known simply as “Zanzibar Island” internationally. Its long stretches of coastline pull tourists regularly and you can go kayaking, water skiing and wind surfing; scuba diving and snorkeling won’t be a bad idea as well.
I don’t know how the weather is where you are, but the warm weather of Zanzibar was just perfect for me. The city is near the equator, so it feels like summer climate all year round. The good news is that the tropical winds are cool and refreshing so you hardly feel the heat. Don’t panic about rain too, the wettest months are April and May, but the rain does not last long. Need I say it is a perfect place for beach picnics and water sports?
No one should have to empty their accounts to enjoy a holiday! Although Zanzibar may have its high end tourists’ offerings, however, depending on your budget you can still strike great deals in the city that will set you back only a few dollars. For as low as US $20 (although you could also get for US $500 depending on your choice and location) a night, you can get a good apartment at some of the beachfront properties in the area and the low price won’t rob you of access to the modern facilities that will give you an enjoyable vacation just the way you want it. A nice dinner washed down with beer may only cost in the region US $10! And a good sack of cloves won’t break your bank account either.
I don’t know about you, but each time I visit a city, I make it a must to eat its local delicacies. Zanzibar offers something good for every taste bud— and take that from someone who’s had a first-hand experience!
The famous spicy rice, Pilau, still tastes great just like the first time it did on my very first trip many years ago. Ditto for the collection of seafood. But whether it is king fish, meat or chicken pilau, the food in Zanzibar tastes just perfect. The stews and fried products from oysters, clams, octopus, and squids are delicious. I should quickly add that the delicacies in Zanzibar are seasoned with a nice collection of the island’s home grown spices which give each meal an inviting aroma.
One of the best ways to understand a people is to learn about their past. I won’t like to bore you with the fact that the Zanzibaris are nice people, but let me tell you why they are. Zanzibar is a cosmopolitan city with a fascinating history and cultural heritage. From its foods to it architecture; even the people’s dressing and religion reflects its rich historical interaction with the Arabs, Europeans and fellow Africans. From its earliest kings — especially during the Oman Empire through its colonial experience and presently, the city has experienced trans-cultural history and heritage that define its cosmopolitan nature and make it stand out in Eastern Africa.
We can glimpse the future best by mirroring the past. There is something fascinating about the past; from the wealth of experience its knowledge gives to the fun of appreciating where one was coming from and how far he’s been. Add those to the motivations which history grants and you won’t ask why monuments are very important. One of the best ways to know, appreciate and enjoy Zanzibar is to explore its fascinating monuments.
Travel back in time to the slavery days at the Old Anglican Church. The church has the most famous Slave Monuments in the world and is a historical monument representing the work of the British abolitionist movement. For a crash course in the history and culture of the entire Swahili coast, visit the Beit-al-Ajaib, known as the House of Wonder. It is the first building in East Africa to have electricity and an electric elevator. The museum exhibits artefacts that tell history. The list of monument is long, ranging from Zanzibar Museum, the Arab Fort and the Sultan’s Palace, to the craftsmanship on many of the wooden doors at Stone Town, you definitely have a lot to see!
In Zanzibar, your options of fun activities are wide. You can enjoy Dhow Safari by cruising the Swahili boat, hang out at pub and enjoy good Zanzibar’s Taarab music. You could explore the museums and monuments, go shopping (including window shopping), and my favourites—chow down good African dishes and rock the beaches. There are also endless water sports activities to engage in, from excellent scuba diving and deep-sea fishing to kayaking and sailing on traditional wooden dhows. Swim and snorkel in the warm waters, or go windsurfing, water-skiing and island hopping; did I say you will be spoiled with fun?
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