Think of a breathtaking Island where you can escape the world and lose yourself in luxurious facilities, view picturesque clear, turquoise-blue water, laze on pristine beaches and enjoy amazing food, where would that be? I found my own answer to be Zanzibar. It was my honeymoon destination, and it reminds me of nothing but love in its pure freshness. Zanzibar offered me fresh air, clean, stunningly perfect beaches, unique culture, and delicious cuisine – spiced with cloves! Yes, Cloves – those uniquely warm, sweet spice ingredients that add aromatic taste to any meal, including my favourites: gingerbread, split pea and bean soups, baked beans and chilli sauces, as well as pumpkin pie. No, I didn’t choose Zanzibar because of this spice, I chose it randomly, but it surprised me with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. From my experience, these 7 facts are reasons to visit Zanzibar (yes all seven of them) now! There are more reasons though, but I have picked out these seven because- you guessed right again– 7 is a perfect number!
1. Dreamlike Beaches
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 windsurfing; scuba diving and snorkelling won’t be a bad idea as well.
2. The Weather Is Just Perfect
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?
3. It’s Affordable
My wife said I should never use the word cheap to describe Zanzibar because it denigrates the destination, so I will say ‘AFFORDABLE’.
Actually, no one should empty their accounts because of a few days of holiday! Yes, Zanzibar comes off as a high-end destination for tourists. But I can tell you for free that the India Ocean Island caters to all budgets – how else would I have been able to go there for my honeymoon despite my lean budget? There are backpacker’s apartments for as low as USD20 (just as you could also get for USD500) a night, and that does not mean you’ll miss out on some of the beachfront properties nor forfeit access to modern facilities that will give you reasonable pleasure just the way you want it. A nice dinner washed down with beer may cost about USD10! And a good sack of cloves won’t break your bank account either – now that’s the part I love!
4.Delicious Delicacies and Great Seafood
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— take that from someone who’s had a first-hand experience!
The famous, spicy rice, Pilau, still tastes as great as it did the first time I tasted it when I first visited the Island many years ago. Ditto for the collection of seafood. But whether it is kingfish, 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 homegrown spices which give each meal an inviting aroma.
5.Rich History and Cultural Heritage
One of the best ways to understand a people is to learn about their past. I won’t 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 its architecture; even the people’s dressing and religion reflect the island’s rich historical interaction with the Arabs, Europeans and fellow Africans, and why it is welcoming to everyone. 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 best glimpse the future by mirroring the past. There is something fascinating about the past: the wealth of experience and the fun of appreciating where one was coming from and how far he’s been. Add those to the motivations which history gives 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 monuments 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 a 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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