Languages: Kiswahili and English
Best Time to Visit: Throughout the Year
Time Zone: UTC+3
Driving Side: Left Side
Main Attractions: Aga Khan Mosque, Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ, Beit el-Ajaib, Hamamni Persian Baths, Palace Museum, Peace Memorial Museum and the Natural History Museum, the Old Fort
Zanzibar is an archipelago located in the Indian Ocean, which belongs to the East African republic of Tanzania. Though there are numerous small islands constituting Zanzibar, the two major ones are Unguja and Pemba, wherein the former is often referred as Zanzibar. It was once a separate state, which later joined with Tanzania. However, it still enjoys high degree of autonomy within the union. The capital city of Zanzibar is Zanzibar City, which is located on the island of Unguja. Its old quarter, known as Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site. Zanzibar is known as a world leader in terms of spice production. In fact, there are a number of places to see and things to do, making it a tourism hub. To know more about the tourist attractions in Zanzibar, read on.
Zanzibar offers a wide range of tourist attractions for the tourists. The Aga Khan Mosque is located in the center of the Stone Town near the Kiponda area. It is a blend of European and Gothic style of architecture. Next is the Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ, which was built in 1873 by Edward Steere, the third Bishop of Zanzibar. The main feature of the church is its unique barrel vault roof. Beit el-Ajaib is another worth visiting monument here, which was built in 1883 by Sultan Barghash on the site of former Zanzibar Queen Fatuma’s residence of the 16th century.
Moreover, there are Hamamni Persian Baths built by Sultan Barghash in 1888. These structures were used as public baths once. The Palace Museum lies on the harbor road and is the most recent of the Sultans’ Palaces. It was occupied by the last members of the Al Busid dynasty until 1964. One must also visit the Peace Memorial Museum and the Natural History Museum. The museum exhibits a number of Zanzibar’s memorabilia including, Livingstone’s medical chest from the Zambezi expeditions. The Old Fort is also a fascinating site, which was built around 1700. It was used by the Arabs to keep away the Portuguese and their allies the Mazruis, who occupied Mombasa.
The visitors can enjoy host of recreational activities at Zanzibar. It is a paradise for all the high action lovers as they can treat themselves with water sports including activities like scuba diving, dhow cruises, island expeditions, sun bathing, swimming and sailing. You can even get an insight into the cultural galore of the place by enjoying the traditional dance and music. One of the famous dance forms of Zanzibar is Taraab. Besides, there is Ngoma, which is basically drumbeating.
Zanzibar offers some exotic fairs and festivals, which can prove to be a real delight for the visitors. The Zanzibar Festival of the Dhow Countries is held from 30 June to 9th July every year. It involves theatre, traditional music, display of paintings, crafts and sculptures. In addition, there is the Zanzibar International Film Festival, which is held in association with the festival of the dhow countries. Besides, there is the Zanzibar Cultural Festival held for a week in July. It showcases musicians from different parts of the world. The traditional festival of Mwaka Kongwa is also held in various villages of Zanzibar every year.