Zanzibar - www.classicencounters.com

 

The tropical island of Zanzibar rightfully conjures up images of gracefully sailing dhows, palm-fringed white-sand tropical beaches, beautiful lagoons and coral reefs, aromatic spice plantations, seaside resorts, and historic Stone Town. The name Zanzibar means "Land of the Blacks" and originates from the Arabic words "Zinj" meaning black and "barr" meaning land.

 

Zanzibar lies in the Indian Ocean 25 miles off the coast of Africa. The island is approximately 53 miles long and 12 miles wide.

 

The Island of Zanzibar consists of two main islands, Pemba and Unguja with some 50 smaller islands surrounding the archipelago. Unguja is the main and most developed island. Many people refer to it as Zanzibar.

 

The population of Zanzibar is about 800,000 people, of which 150,000 are found on Pemba. The majority of people inhabit Stone Town (which is the "capital" of Zanzibar)Stone Town is the only town on the island. A walking tour through the narrow winding alleys of its old section is fascinating.

 

Many of the rural people prefer the fertile Northern section of the island, whilst the East Coast has coral rag, and provides the most spectacular beaches and holiday destinations.

 

Zanzibar has a number of beach resorts. By far the best is the Mnemba Island Resort. This is one of the world's foremost conversation piece resorts. It's on its own small, secluded tropical islands barely off Zanzibar's eastern coast. This exclusive,  resort has just 10 casual, thatched huts, Everyone - guest and staff  - goes barefoot. This adds to the marooned Robinson Crusoe ambiance.

 

These areas are so sparse that at the right time of the year, you may even have a whole stretch of beach to yourself.

 

 

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

 

 

 

Summary

 

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Ave Temp ºF 81 81 81 79 79 77 75 75 77 77 79 81
Ave Temp ºC 27 27 27 26 26 25 24 24 25 25 26 27
Rain ins 3 3 5 10 10 2 2 2 2 3 9 6
Rain mm 78 66 138 249 249 62 45 43 51 88 220 158
Days rain 7 6 12 14 14 4 5 6 6 7 14 12
Hours of sun daily 8 8 7 6 6 8 7 8 8 8 8 8

WHEN TO GO

Situated in the tropics, the climate is as such. Hot and humid. The sea water is just as warm with an average temperature of 60ºF and is very calm.

Surrounding most of the island is a coral reef. At low tide you are able to walk out to the reef in certain places. Below is a summary of the seasons and best times to visit:

July - October

During this period, there is little rain, the average temperature is 25ºC and the humidity is low. Light breezes at night provide some relief from the hot days. Not as many tourists as in January, so for somebody who likes a bit of privacy, it is ideal.

November to March

Are good months although the short rains come at this time and it is VERY hot and humid. Added to this is the Muslim festival of Ramadhan in December / January, which see Muslims fasting during the daytime for an entire month. This festival moves back a couple of days every year, so be sure to check here again if you plan on going to Zanzibar a couple of years down the line. Some local restaurants, bars and discos are closed during this period. All resort and accommodation entertainment is still open though. If you are planning to go to a resort, this is a fantastic time.

April to June

This is the quiet season. The long monsoon rains pour down. It does not rain the whole day every day, but you will have to remain indoors for some time when they come down. If you are on a budget trip, then this is the best time in terms of price unfortunately. Many resorts are closed though during this period, so you will have a smaller selection of places to stay.

WHAT TO SEE IN STONE TOWN

CUSTOMS AND INFO


Zanzibar’s main religion is Sunni Muslim, so avoid the period of Ramadam to visit.

Women should keep themselves covered and men should avoid the disgrace of wearing shorts when visiting towns.

The Zanzibaris are comprised of three indigenous ethnic groups; the Hadimu, the Tumbatu and the Pemba.

LANGUAGE

Swahili and English are the official languages. Rurally and amongst tribes, Swahili is the only language likely to be spoken, so if you're heading off the beaten track, invest in a good phrasebook.

DIVING IN ZANZIBAR

For details on the dive sites

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION Zanzibar Classic Escape with African Classic Encounters.com

JOURNEYS OF DISTINCTION

 
   
JOURNEYS OF DISTINCTION