Inspirational Guest blogger – Oliver Hyde
Oliver is an experienced business consultant from the UK. His job allows him to travel, which also happens to be one of his greatest passions. You can find him on Twitter.
Ever since the first significant exploration of Africa in 15th century people have been enchanted with the mysterious beauty of the continent. When the tourism started to develop most of the people were visiting South Africa, Kenya, etc. while there were many other amazing destinations neglected by the wave of tourists. Today that situation is slowly changing, and we can see Zanzibar as the prime example of using potentials of an ideal geographic location, pristine beaches and interesting local culture, to attract visitors. And truly, the archipelago of Zanzibar is a place of undeniable beauty where history joins with music and nature to assemble all the magic of Africa. There are so many things to learn and discover about this fascinating semi-autonomous archipelago, and we will just scratch the surface…
The Uniqueness of Local Culture
The local culture of Zanzibar is what determines every area, and even tourism, so it is important to get to know it while exploring the archipelago. It is largely different for the culture in Tanzania, since a great majority of population is Muslim, but there is also a strong presence of Arab, Indian and Persian influence in tradition, architecture, cuisine, clothing and other aspects of life. Just witnessing that kind of cultural richness in a single place is magnificent. Music is very important in Zanzibar culture, and one of its most sublime forms here is taraab (traditional sung poetry).
Where History Comes Alive…
Zanzibar’s Stone Town is easily one of the most astonishing historical destinations in the world. The whole town is trapped in time of its birth, so it can witness the exciting, yet sad story of Zanzibar. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to the oldest building of the archipelago – the Old Fort, the last opened slave market, and the former palace of Sultan of Zanzibar, called the House of Wonders. The particular charm of this town is reflected in its bustling markets where you can buy natural products and handmade goods.
… And the Sea Kisses the Sand…
The mesmerizing coastline of Zanzibar is surely one of the greatest tourist magnets this archipelago has. Blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, white and silky sand, clear Zanzibar-blue (yes, there is no other shade like that) waters, and pleasant ocean breeze, this destination provides a specific sense of serenity. Nevertheless, it will not disappoint the travelers seeking luxury vacation or the adrenaline junkies. There are number of luxury resorts on the island and even more surfing and snorkeling spots. Do not miss out on the archipelago’s finest beaches – Paje and Bwejuu, and if you have the time visit the Village of Nugwi for a unique insight into local culture.
The “Spice Island”
The nickname of Zanzibar clearly suggests that you can find delicious spicy food there. The signature dish, known throughout the world is Zanzibar pizza, which does not even resemble to what we call pizza. It is basically bread stuffed with minced meat, garlic, chili, egg, hot sauce and mayonnaise. Spices play a very important role in Zanzibar history, and even in the age of Arab rule, Zanzibar was the world’s biggest exporter of cloves. Now, you can taste anything from nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and saffron to lemon grass and cardamom. Visit the night market in Stone Town to get a taste of the popular cassava or fresh seafood.
Feels Like Home
One of the most convenient things about Zanzibar is that is very easy to spend time here, without feeling lost and like a complete outsider. The second language, after Kiswahili, is English, so tourists will have no problem in getting around the territory. Many tours on the main island (including the spice tour) can be self-arranged, and instead of joining a bus full of tourists, you can always rent or buy (the prices are very low, and it may even be cheaper than paying the rent on a daily basis) a car in Tanzania, and start your solo-adventure throughout the island. It is obvious that both the government and the locals want to leave a good impression on tourists, since tourism is one of the leading forces of the local economy, but you cannot fake that amazing Zanzibar welcome – it is the real deal.
An old Zanzibar proverb says that when you play the flute in Zanzibar all Africa dances, and truly the music of this paradise archipelago is so loud and beautiful that it is summoning people from all around the globe to listen.