Zanzibar, Tanzania

The United Republic of Tanzania lies on the Indian Ocean bordered by Kenya,Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

The capital city and a major port, Dar es Salaam is the natural starting point for trips in Tanzania. It is near Mount Kilimanjaro, Dodoma and the nearby island of Zanzibar.

The Assyrians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch and English have all been here in Zanzibar at one time or another. Some, particularly the Shirazi Persians and Omani Arabs, stayed to settle and rule. With this influence, Zanzibar has become predominantly Islamic. The earliest visitors to Zanzibar were Arab traders who are said to have arrived in the 8th century. The earliest building that remains on Zanzibar is the mosque at Kizimkazi which dates from 1107, and is a present-day tourist attraction. Kizimkazi fishing village is also home to several schools of bottle-nosed dolphins which can often be sighted following a short boat trip from the village.

A must is a tour of the fabled Stone Town, where history appears to stand still. With visits to the House of Wonders, the Palace Museum, Dr Livingstone's House and the Arab Fort amongst others, it is a fascinating look at the essence of Zanzibar. You will see Zanzibar's bustling market, winding alleyways, ornately carved and studded doors, two cathedrals and countless mosques. Stone Town has some excellent gifts shops with plenty of souvenirs and handicrafts to choose from.

The history of Zanzibar would be incomplete without the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and many other spices which brought the Sultans of Oman and the beginnings of the infamous slave trade. They can be seen in the plantations just outside Zanzibar town, so take this opportunity to dazzle the senses with fresh spices.

The Jozani Natural Forest Reserve is located in the central east region of Zanzibar Island and is home to the rare Red Colobus Monkey, which is endemic to Zanzibar. These monkeys are full of character, and roam freely.

Tours to the unspoilt north coast always end up at Ras Nungwi, a sleepy fishing village on the northern tip of Zanzibar Island. It is the dhow building capital of Zanzibar, so you will be able to see the traditional methods of dhow construction in action. This area of Zanzibar has some fantastic beaches, and nearby coral reefs which are ideal for diving and snorkelling. The local villagers have built a turtle sanctuary where injured turtles and other marine animals are nursed back to health before being released back into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

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