A Zanzibari musician gazing in the sunset after soothing melodies played by his team. PHOTO BY NAFHA MAANI EBRAHIMI.

In Summary

  • Zanzibar is located about 30 km off the coast of mainland Tanzania in the Indian Ocean.
    • Zanzibar was incorporated into the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964.
    • Zanzibar, which in 1992 had only 723,300 people, has its own democratically elected president and government that run the internal affairs of the Islands.

By Nafha Maani Ebrahimi

BEAUTY. The Island which boasts pristine white sand beaches, abundant sunshine, exotic Swahili dishes, a hospitable people and luxury tourists resorts is Zanzibar.

Throughout my travels, it is seldom that I want to visit the same country twice, life is too short and places left on the list are many. Apart from Thailand that I wish to travel to, at least once a year, Zanzibar is another country that, if given a chance and time, I would go back to.

The people and goodies
I was looking at some pictures of our last trip there and my heart floated with joy! I could close my eyes and easily recall every detail of this sunny green island.
I remembered our beautiful Serena Hotel in Stone Town and the elderly Zanzibari music group that played very familiar music every evening at the hotel.
Familiar because I grew up in the Arab world, and though I’m not an Arab, that culture, language and music remains very close to my heart.
My opinion about Zanzibar being an amazing island, it is shared by people from all corners of our world, ones who had a chance to travel there at some point in time.
Even as we grew up, we were told many stories about the land of spices, one of my favourite items in life, now I had a chance to see where they came from. The aromatic vanilla, the yellow turmeric full of beneficial substances for our immune system, nutmeg, cinnamon, different varieties of pepper and many more.

Not so fresh spices
However, I was a bit disappointed when visiting spice shops, the massive heaps of colourful spices displayed in postcards are actually much smaller and less impressive in real life.
I would also like to add that their quality and freshness were also not as expected, but this seems to be the norm in most countries that depend on the export of their produce.

Beautiful beaches
Back to the white sandy beaches of Zanzibar, that are renowned all over the world, with crystal clear water on the other side, it is a dream beach for sea lovers. Our hotel did not have a very good beach area, so we took a tour to Prison Island, one of the famous tourist attractions there, followed by a visit to a little island that was only a small stretch of white sand in the ocean. It was there that the Chef and his team prepared for us a lovely seafood lunch.
We were four, and it happened that there were no other tourists that day. We had the island to ourselves.

Night market
When we went back to the hotel, the concierge informed us that there was a night market nearby where we could purchase handmade souvenirs, and of course local food stands were plenty, delicious food and fresh juices were sold at reasonable prices.
After a long day of swimming and sailing, this was a perfect end. I cannot wait to go back.

QUICK NOTES
• Zanzibar is located about 30 km off the coast of mainland Tanzania in the Indian Ocean.
• Zanzibar was incorporated into the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964.
• Zanzibar, which in 1992 had only 723,300 people, has its own democratically elected president and government that run the internal affairs of the Islands.
– africa-ata.org