Zanzibar, Spice Islands & Surrounds
The Zanzibar archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean, a short distance from Tanzania. Made up of over 50 islands, varying in size from tiny outcrops to the larger inhabited islands of Pemba and Zanzibar (properly known as Unguja Island), Zanzibar was an independent country until 1964 when it was united with Tanganyika to form Tanzania under President Julius Nyerere. Presently it has its own President and a degree of autonomy. The history of the Island of Zanzibar goes back many centuries. Its heyday came in the early 19th century when the Sultan of Muscat moved his court to Zanzibar, spice cultivation was developed (particularly the clove tree), and when the slave trade was at its height, Zanzibar became the most important town in East Africa.
The old part of the town, known as Stone Town, is composed of a network of shady, winding narrow alleys between old stone buildings with ornately decorated entrances and balconies. Numerous tiny shops here sell everything under the sun. Along the seafront are located several luxury hotels, the old Sultan's Palace (House of Wonder), the old fort, restaurants and the docks. Marvel at the Arabic architecture in Stone Town and the exotic spice markets. Other islands in the Zanzibar Archipelago - Mafia Island, Pemba Island and Mnemba, are still untainted, offering you the chance to experience an exotic, relaxing and unforgettable Indian Ocean island vacation.