The semi-autonomous islands off the coast of Tanzania, the Zanzibar archipelago, is the spice island of the Indian Ocean. It includes Unguja and Pemba islands. Over centuries different cultures have influenced Zanzibar to become what it is today, a cultural awe. Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Phonecians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch and British have settled there at one time or another and influenced the local culture into the present fusion.
Tourism has replaced the spice and slave trades that shaped the island’s history, and delicious street food is part of the local island experience. Every night in Stone Town’s Forodhani Gardens, vendors set up stalls selling seafood snacks and the famous Zanzibar pizza. Various carts are piled with fresh seafood skewers, African doughnuts called “mandazi” and fried breads. Some honey beer or a mixture of sugar cane water, ginger and lime juice is recommended to wash down all the yumminess.
Pemba Island offers a quieter, unspoiled experience. Known as “the Green Island” for its lush vegetation, the delicately sweet fragrance of cloves permeates the air, underlining the “spice island” tag.
With its glorious beaches, Zanzibar’s Indian Ocean offers world class watersports including scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, waterskiing and sailing on traditional local dhows.