Few names conjure up such exotic history, mystery and antiquity like "Zanzibar". Renowned not only for its spices (cloves, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla and turmeric to name but a few) but also for its long and illustrious history and beautiful old buildings in the "Stone Town".
Zanzibar has been trading for about 2,000 years with Persia, Arabia and India. Persians from Shiraz settled and mingled with the local Swahili. The Portuguese set up a trading station in the early 16th Century, but were ousted by the Omani Arabs. In 1840 the Sultan moved his capital to Zanzibar and many Omani Arabs settled becoming the rulers and landowners, while Indian settlers formed a merchant class. It became an important center for regional politics and the booming heart of the slave trade. In 19th Century Britishexplorers like Livingstone, Speke and Burton began expeditions from Zanzibar and with growing British interest it became a British protectorate in 1890.
Independence was gained in 1963 and the year after the Sultan was overthrown in a revolution. Nearly all Indians and Arabs were expelled. However over the years many Arab, Asian and Goan people have returned. Unsurprisingly the people are predominantly Muslim.
Recently a galaxy of exclusive hotels have either been renovated or built in the old town or on some of the wonderful pristine beaches.
The coral reefs surrounding the island and its archipelago add to the beauty of the sea. Picturesque sailing dhows or motor boats take visitors to the reefs either to scuba dive or snorkel in the turquoise waters. Dolphin watching is also popular.
Zanzibar must be amongst the most romantic islands in which to spend a memorable holiday.
Choose from a wide selection of Zanzibar hotels, resorts and lodges for your next vacation.