After an incredible East African Safari with two clients, I made a trip to explore Zanzibar and find out more about a few new destinations on this tropical paradise. I made a few notes and a video to summarise what you would expect to see and what would come to mind for most people visiting the island for the first time;
The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar is the semi-autonomous government of Zanzibar, a part of Tanzania. It is made up of a Revolutionary Council and a House of Representatives of Zanzibar. The head of the government is the President of Zanzibar, who is also the chairman of the Revolutionary Council, currently Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein.
Is bigger than you might imagine - 2400 sq km, or about 2 hrs [slow] drive from north to south
Is 95% Muslim
Has 1,4 million people and very high unemployment
Subsistence farming and fishing are the main occupations along with lots of roadside enterprises like woodwork and weaving, steelwork and food markets
It's hot and humid, properly Tropical with occasional rain showers
Is poor and developed and it’s visible that very little tourist revenue gets to the people
Has a disintegrating airport and although a new terminal building has been years in the making and is nearly complete - is still 'years away'!
Has the finest white sand beaches anywhere I have been and bath tub warm water
Has superb resorts and guest houses with excellent food and seafood!
Has huge tidal zone where beaches are exposed all the way to the reef and water is far out
Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar's Government Hospital on 5 September 1946. His parents Bomi and Jer Bulsara were Parsees - followers of the Zoroastrian religion whose ancestors came from Persia - but they had lived in India.
Has a very colourful history - read more here
People love soccer and most evenings you will see soccer pitches busy with games on the go
Spice farms are prevalent, usually around 2hrs + (best farms are about 30 mins from Stone Town) best to combine a tour of stone town and spices on your way in or out of the island
Road quality is average, some good newly surfaced to others that are potholed and narrow passing through busy villages, off the main roads are dirt tracks that require walking pace only speeds, but only short sections usually as you approach the hotels and lodges, roads under construction
Stone Town is busy and full of cars and scooters, slow going
Beaches are all public spaces, no privately owned beaches, but some are less accessible and further from villages and much more peaceful with less ‘beach boys’