Tanzania… Zanzibar, Mnemba & Pemba

Tanzania is an incredibly diverse country – the largest in East Africa –boasting a constellation of natural draws.
Its evocative names say it all: the extensive Serengeti (meaning endless plains), majestic Kilimanjaro (the highest mountain on the continent), exotic Zanzibar, Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake), and the inimitable Ngorongoro Crater and, of course, the Great Migration, the world’s most enthralling game viewing spectacle. It was formed as recently as 1964, when Zanzibar’s population overthrew the sultan and their Arab landlords in a bloody massacre. The subsequent union of Tanganyika (the mainland) and Zanzibar formed today’s Tanzania, considered by many to be the ultimate honeymoon safari and beach partnership. It seems only natural that once your safari dust has settled, you should head to the relaxing soft white sands of the romantic Swahili coast or the spice islands of Pemba and Zanzibar, whose very names conjure the whispered promise of something exotic.

Just 22 miles offshore from Tanzania and six degrees south of the equator, Zanzibar has an intoxicating mix of tradition, culture, history and natural beauty. It’s a small island that’s become legendary for its beaches and crystal-clear waters, with a colourful history of seafarers and explorers, made rich under Omani rule. Its original settlers were Bantu-speaking Africans, Persians arrived in the 10th century, and it was of such importance to the Omanis that they moved their capital from Muscat to Zanzibar, which became an independent sultanate. Its archipelago comprises the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba and several small islets. Zanzibar’s capital, Stone Town, is shabby-chic in a ramshackle yesteryear way, characterised by bustling bazaars, the heady scent of spices, winding alleyways and carved doors overhung by ornate balconies. Ancient forts, churches and museums are testament to its Afro-Arabic and European past. Mix this with the unique Swahili culture and the fusion of myth and magic, spicy cuisine and architecture, and you’ll soon understand why it’s one of a kind.

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