Zanzibar’s name came from a Persian word Zengibar, “the coast of black people.” The capital of this heavenly island which located 30 kilometers east of Tanzania is Stone Town. The city, which is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage, has come until today almost untouched. In the Stone Town which has labyrinth-like narrow streets adorned with peeled away colored stone houses, influence of Arab culture is intense. What is indispensable for stone houses that gave the town its name is carved wooden doors. The doors that blended with world’s famous Indian, Arab and African culture and differ according to the ethnic origin of the inhabitants, make you feel like in a beautiful canvas.
Tradesmen sitting in wooden stools placed in front of the door and chatting with each other and women and children with colorful clothes are the elements that complete this beautiful painting when you walk in the streets. As if they say “How about living in this painting” in every corner.
The Rock Restaurant
But almost none of them can give you the enjoyment of The Rock. Because every time you go to The Rock, the sea is somewhere else. Sometimes you walk to the restaurant, sometimes swim and sometimes go there with a boat. One day you cannot help yourselves, drink something cold and jump into the ocean, you gather up starfishes when you walk around the rock on the other, and one day you watch the sunset one day from café and sundown on another Each time a different beauty, a different taste, a different smile welcomes you.
Village Tour with Bicycle
Zanzibar can be considered a big village, except for some certain parts of Stone Town. The island consists of villages, each are full of happy people, cheerful villagers with white teeth. That’s why the best and smartest way of knowing Zanzibar is through cycling. When you are cycling, you witness a different culture of the island, you can see how women are engaged in knitting without stopping and resting for example and how men have made fishery a standard of their living. You learn how to make rope from coconut for example, you get involved in games where children play with sea shells. In other word, cycling in Zanzibar, is a ritual, a greeting, an indispensable part of life.
Swahili Language and Culture
A very important feature of Zanzibar is being the birth place of Swahili Language which is spoken by 300 million African, Swahili means the language spoken by the coastal people and presented many words to the world literature like safari and hakuna matata.
Swahili culture is a vibrant and a colorful coastal culture lived by millions of Africans in the eastern coasts. You taste this colorfulness first on the clothes of women and children, then a wedding that you came up on your way, and most, during the holidays when people sprang into the streets and dance. Almost all Swahili people are Muslim, almost all are warm-hearted. That’s why everyone says “Hakuna Matata”, everything is alright – no problem. So, when you hesitate to trust someone in Zanzibar, they immediately say “Hey, you are in Zanzibar, Muslims trust one another, be comfortable my friend.” İn short , the culture of Swahili is sincere and should be experienced.
History of Africa is known for its history of slavery. And slavery has a very painful history. However, the history of Zanzibar is much more painful. Because, unlike many African countries, here were the Muslim Arab merchants who initiate the slavery. So while Muslims were bringing their religion here they also enslaved local free people. For centuries, the slaves of all eastern Africa gathered in Zanzibar have been slaved there and taken to the Middle East. Even though, the Portuguese did worse later on, and the British even worse, what Muslims did really offends you. You feel how terrible is this trauma with a bitter taste in your mouth at every beautiful big door when you wandering around Zanzibar, you look at with a different eye every black person with a long eyelash you turn upside down. Because Zanzibar is a place of self-criticism. It is the place where you can say wrong what is wrong
So undoubtedly the most impressive place in the city is the old slave market, the largest Arab slave trade center of the period. There are two dungeons now converted to museum to make the case in point. In that period 30-40 people were being held captive in these dungeons which are maximum 8-10 square meters and about 1.5 meters height. These people have been left hungry and thirsty for 3 days and survivors at the end of the third day have been considered as they passed the endurance test and have been sold to Europe and the United States Zanzibar has been one of the most important centers of slave trade in East Africa for many years and in fact the last place where slavery disappear in Africa is Zanzibar in 1964.
Swimming & Snorkeling & Sunset
Zanzibar is home to one of the world’s most beautiful underwater hotels. Because, Zanzibar has the world’s most beautiful underwater world. Although this beauty diminishes day by day due to unconscious fishing and tourism, when you go little far away from the coast , you can find excellent reefs and hundreds of kinds of fishes. On one side a whale passes by your boat and dolphins on the other. You see more beautiful stars many colored starfishes, under the sea than the stars in the sky when you swim. Sometimes you have difficulty getting into the sea without stepping on them. At sunrise, you swim in an incredible turquoise sea ,at sunset in an incredible redness. But you do not want to go out that sea anyway. You want to freeze every moment.
Trekking In The Sea
You might have tried a variety of different trekking routes in the world and again witnessed different aspects of the sea. But, there are very few places you can have the possibility of trekking in the very same sea a few hours after you swim in the morning. Especially If you are accompanied by the joy of collecting incredibly beautiful seashells and the joy of taking the sound of the ocean to your country with them. Or to see that how the sea turn into different colors during the day. You feel like as if a master painter is pouring out unlimited colors in hand on the canvas when you look at the sea in Zanzibar. Or when you look at Zanzibar from the sea…
Swimming with Dolphins
Because of their sweetness, they suffer in dolphins parks in the Metropolises But some are still in the bosom of nature, dancing with the waves in tranquility.
There are 3 dolphin species live in Zanzibar. The place where dolphin species like Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins with pink and white colors and bottlenose dolphins with beautiful smiley faces live more intensively is the region of Kizimkazi where also our village is located, bouncing Spinner dolphins are mostly living in the northern part of the country.
The sweetest way to see more and more decreasing number of dolphins due to unconscious and aggressive dolphin tours on the island is never to look for them, let them find you. Only then swimming can take place in tranquility. Both for dolphins and for you…
Sandbank & Fishing Island
Zanzibar makes you witness a different miracle every day. You ask yourself how beautiful can life be, and how harmonious it be. Sandbank is one of the places you will most often ask this. In fact, there are a few more Sandbanks in Zanzibar. Sandbank means island made of sand. A sandy island, a whiteness that burst into sight in the middle of an open emerald sea is the place where you will feel yourself in an art film. So much so that while you wait there the water rises and the island disappears into the ocean. Then, it appears again in the coming hours with the tide. The sands that disappear every day in the ocean and then find each other again is so soft, and so attractive its whiteness.
There are giant coral reefs five minutes away from it and an island of fishermen who do not want to leave place empty. In fact there is no resident folk outside it, just fishermen who settle in certain months of the year. Everyone you can see on the island is male. Therefore it is also quite pleasant to witness how men without women live in primitive conditions. It is not often possible to come across these kinds of men who are cooking, washing and hanging clothes in Africa.
Life in Zanzibar is like in a movie set, in which an art director meticulously selected colors, daytime Wes Anderson plays everywhere and Tarkovsky at sunset, in the evening everywhere is a Jeunette Pierre Jeunet Cinema. There are not even electricity in the houses except for a very few for the kids know what the cinema is. Not that it is too much necessary, we arrange a summer cinema in our garden both for a common activity and just so as to kids meet another world. Separate films for children and of course for women, accompanied by popcorn under the stars, with a sweet breeze in our nape…
Even though Zanzibar has been known as Spice Island for many years, the first spice production in began in 1818 when the Sultan of Oman ordered the production of ginger, by the turn of the century Zanzibar became the world’s largest spice producer. For this reason, one of the most enjoyable activities in Zanzibar today is to visit the spice gardens. So much so that the people of the village run the spice gardens in the form of co-operative. You get to know hundreds of kinds of spice tree during a few hours of sightseeing so much so that your nose cannot smell and your tongue cannot taste the difference anymore. You witness the singing villagers climb to banana trees that stretch out into the sky faster than a monkey, you learn art from the villagers who make bracelets, necklaces, crowns for you from various leafs. Then like many other things, you want it to never end. You will say goodbye to the garden by buying spices and spice-scented soaps to make this memoir unforgettable.
How can I continue my vacation after Zanzibar?
– You can travel from Stonetown to Prison Island where you can spend great time with giant turtles nearly two hundred years old.
– You can go to Jozani Forest where you can see Red monkeys live only in Zanzibar in the world and the water forest particular to Zanzibar.
– You can meet Muhammad who engaged in a sustainable struggle for his village in Zala Park where you can see different animals and plants of Zanzibar and you can experience a traditional village life also there.
– You can have a very enjoyable day and you can do water sports In Nungwi, located on the north, with its especially five-star hotels. The most beautiful parasailing in the world is being done here and the operator is a Turkish.
– You can fly with propeller planes to the island of Pemba, home to one of the world’s most beautiful under water hotels in the world and surrounded with a perfect sea, there you can witness every shades of blue.
– If you have a little more time, after spending a week with us, you can go to Darussalam or Kilimanjaro, While you are making the world’s most beautiful safari in Serengeti, you can witness the migration of hundreds of thousands of animals or you can climb the highest and the world’s largest single stand-alone mountain in the African continent.