Holidays in Zanzibar
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Zanzibar has been attracting travellers for centuries, the first over a thousand years ago. Successive settlement by the Persians, Portuguese, the Sultan of Oman and the British have all left their mark on the character of the island and its people. Often referred to as the 'Spice Island', Zanzibar's two main exports over the last thousand years have been exotic spices, and more surprisingly, slaves. The island was at the centre of the world's slave trade until it was outlawed at the turn of the century. The spice trade, in particular cloves, continues to be big business today.
Culture vultures will enjoy Stone Town, Zanzibar's old quarter. It is a maze of narrow cobbled streets lined with homes, restaurants, hotels, bazaars, mosques, museums and busy markets. Whilst for beach lovers Zanzibar is a paradise. The entire 80 kilometre length of the east coast is bordered with immaculate sandy beaches. Beneath the turquoise waters - a coral reef runs the length of the coast offering fantastic snorkelling and diving, and creating an area of shallow water that is always safe for swimming.
British Airways flies three times a week from Heathrow to Dar es Salaam, taking about ten hours. A 20 minute light-aircraft flight connects Dar es Salaam with Zanzibar. Kenya Airways has daily overnight flights from the UK to Zanzibar, via Nairobi. KLM flies from the UK (Heathrow and regional airports) to Dar es Salaam via Amsterdam.
Zanzibar is hot and humid all year round. There are two rainy seasons: from April to mid June and for the month of November. During these months there can be heavy downpours but there are still a respectable average of seven hours sunshine per day.
Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, and UK and US passport holders require a visa. These cost $50 and should preferably be arranged before travel. They can also be purchased on arrival, but this can involve some very long queues at the arrival airports.
Sample Zanzibar Luxury Safari and Beach Combinations