Set like a jewel in tranquil coral waters, only 20 minutes flight from Dar es Salaam, is one of the world’s most beautiful islands – Zanzibar. Its name evokes a romantic past. To the shores of these islands came Summerians, Assyrians, Hindus, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Arabians, Chinese, Malaysians, and the Portuguese, all sailing in on Monsoon winds.
From these shores the great European explorers Burton, Speke, Livingstone, Krapf, Rebman, and Grant set out on their voyages of discovery into the East and Central African hinterland. The different races that have settled in Zanzibar over the centuries have left an imprint on the people and the architecture.
The “House of Wonders” and the narrow streets of the Old Stone Town are just some of the vivid reminders of the islands long and coloured history. Zanzibar is also the birthplace of the fascinating Swahili culture with its elegant architecture, full of balconies, courtyards, hand-carved doors and mosques.
For centuries the historic spice Islands of Zanzibar has evoked a mystical and magical dream. Fascinating history, exotic spices, sandy beaches and hospitable people… this is the enchantment of Zanzibar. Different excursions are arranged while in Zanzibar. These include taking visitors to spices plantations in the countryside where a variety of seasonal spices, tropical fruits and medicinal herbs are grown. Detailed description of the spices is given, and their uses in cooking and cosmetics.
Guests will be fascinated by the sheer number of spices produced, and by their incredible value for many ailments. This is also the cheapest place to purchase spices and oil extracts. Zanzibar is popularly referred to as the “Spice Islands”.
Another popular excursion is the “Zanzibar Stone Town Tour” which is literary a travel into history of this old capital of the Omani Sultans. Other excursions will include the old slave cave, the prison island, ruins of what was the palace of the Sultan Said, the old slave market and many other historical places.
Located about 80km from Zanzibar Island, about the same distance directly east of Tanga on the Tanzanian mainland. With its hilly landscape its highest point is less than 100 metres above sea level, by size Pemba is smaller than Unguja. Arab sailors once named Pemba as ‘El Huthera’, meaning the Green, due to her dense and lush vegetation.
There are more natural forests and plantations than on Zanzibar Island, and Pemba grows more cloves than her Zanzibar. Today, earnings from the clove crop are supported by other agricultural products, cattle raising, and by fishing, which is an important source of livelihood. Pemba is also popular for its voodoo and traditional healers.
Located 120kms south of Dar es Salaam. Mafia is an unspoiled, uncommercial, timeless island, where local people go about their traditional businesses apparently completely detached from the outside world. Just a short twenty-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, across the great Rufiji River delta, Mafia is large and flat, with a sandy landscape that is more similar in character to the mainland than to the coral rag of Zanzibar or the hilly fertility of Pemba. The major tourist activities are scuba diving, big game fishing, snorkeling, beach and offshore excursions. Mafia is a paradise for fishermen, divers and watersport lovers.
The water is beautifully transparent on Mafia Island, and the variety of the coral permits an unimaginable quantity of fishes. The waters are unsurpassed in beauty, and there are fantastic views of the unspoiled coral reef. With its fine sandy beaches, swaying palms and lush vegetation, Mafia is the ideal spot to relax and unwind after a great African safari.
Chole Bay and its surrounding forests and islands are now within the protected Mafia Island Marine Park, supported with assistance from the World Wide Fund for Nature. The reefs offer a range of corals and fish like no other in the Indian Ocean, and diving and snorkeling sites are just a short boat ride away. Isolated islets and beaches, lagoons, coves and channels provide many private swimming and picnicking hideaways.
Chole Bay is perfect for windsurfing and laser sailing. Bird-watching is excellent and very different to the mainland parks that guests may have visited. The tidal flats and mangroves are always alive with coastal and sea birds and there are many colourful woodland and forest species. There are also roosts of the unusual and fascinating giant Madagascan fruit bat to see on nearby Chole Island.
People come from throughout East Africa seeking cures or to learn the skills of the art from practitioners on Pemba. The interesting point about Pemba is its wealth of natural resources ranging from beaches to mangrove ecosystems to natural forests. The coral reefs surrounding the island protect a massive amount of marine species and offer some of the best diving spots in the world. While much of the coast is lined with mangroves, there are a few amazing stretches of shoreline and enough attractive offshore islands with pure, clean beaches and interesting bird-life to keep someone busy for quite a while.