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Zanzibar, the majestic spice island of the Indian Ocean, is a semi – autonomous archipelago off the Tanzanian Coast where over centuries different cultures have influenced it to become what it is today.
- Activities to do, sights to see, and food & drink to sample across the archipelago (Unguja) the largest (90 km long, 30 km wide and most – visited of the islands.
For film lovers, the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), usually held in late June or early July, provides a variety of local and foreign films produced by up – and – coming film makers and showcasing the talents of actors and actresses just entering the film scene. The evening film showings at ZIFF are complimented by workshops, discussion groups, and forums held throughout the day, and live bands and music performances late into the night. Also, don’t miss Zanzibar’s Jahazi Festival, held in late August or early September. This three – day celebration of writing, reading, workshops, authors, musicians and open – air concerts attract artists from across East Africa, and visitors from all over the African continent and beyond.
- DANCE ON THE BEACH
The northern beach towns of Kendwa and Nungwi offer the biggest party scenes, with plenty of bars along the beach so you can dance the night away under the stars. Keep an eye out for the FULL MOON Party, held in Kendwa on Saturday just before or after a full moon, which attracts a large gathering of tourists and locals looking to have a good time.
- PAMPER YOURSELF
Indulge yourself in a luxurious treatment at one of Zanzibar’s many spas. With the growing tourists there is a wide range of spa treatments using local plants and herbs, facials and massages available on the island.
- DINE AT FORODHANI GARDENS
Ranging from crab claws, lobster, and calamari steaks to various types of pizza, sambusas, and chips, the food at the outdoor stalls in Forodhani are both delicious and cheap. For dessert, try the incredible banana and chocolate pancakes. Then sip some Madafu (King coconut water), freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, tangawizi (ginger) soda or spiced chai (tea) as you sit on the harbor’s edge and look out over the water.
- MARINE LIFE AND WATER SPORTS
Take advantage of the Indian Ocean waters to cool off and experience Zanzibar’s marine life. The northern and eastern beaches are popular among travelers for all types of water – related activities, and both locations offer affordable overnight accommodation. Pristine coral reefs, home to brightly – colored fish, turtles, dolphins and dense masses of various corals, are to be found at Mnemba Island on the northeast coast. Several resorts on the southern tip of the island also offer the opportunity to swim with dolphins through the Kizimkazi Dolphin Tour. Kite – surfing is increasing in popularity along Zanzibar’s east coast, where towns such as Paje, Jambiani, and Nungwi are host to several Kite – Surfing schools such as Haraka Kite and Airborne. Kite – surfing can be done year – round, but the return of the winds after the rainy season (December to April) can provide a particularly thrilling experience. Or, simply lie back on the waves lull you to sleep. Take a solo trip, tag along with friends, or bring the family – no matter what, you are bound to have a great time in Zanzibar which consists of Unguja, Pemba, and a series of smaller islands all surrounded by the sparkling teal waters of the Indian Ocean.
- COOK YOUR OWN SWAHILI FOOD
An extensive history of fruit and spice cultivation and centuries of cultural diffusion through trade and tourism have resulted in a unique Zanzibar cuisine, you can ask your guide or inquire with a tour operator about the Swahili Cooking Courses on offer.
- FEED A TORTOISE
The prison island lies just off the Old Stone Town, it is also a home to giant land tortoises that were imported from Seychelles in the late 19th century. Now it is more commonly known as a home of Zanzibar’s Giant Aldabran Tortoise colony, some of which are over a hundred years old. This endangered species came to Zanzibar as a gift from the government of the Seychelles. Once on the island, you have the opportunity to feed and pet the tortoises. If you have time you may also like to take a stroll through the forested interior where you will see a wide variety of birds, colorful peacocks, bats, and beautiful butterflies.
- SPICE TOURS
The history of Zanzibar would be incomplete without the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and many other spices which are essential ingredients in a Zanzibar’s everyday life, it is the island’s connection to spices and herbs. Zanzibar and spice is a romantic entanglement that dates back to the 16th century. They can be seen in the plantations just outside Zanzibar town, this is also a fantastic opportunity to see the countryside and rural areas of Zanzibar and also connect with local people. Tour operators have developed special spice Tours with in – depth information not only about species, but also organically grown herbs and detailed descriptions about their uses in traditional dishes, as cures for ailments and even for dyeing traditional ceremonial outfits for weddings and festivals.