Zanzibar is a collection of islands in the Indian Ocean off Tanzania’s coast, with the two largest ones being Unguja, the main island (which many call Zanzibar) and Pemba. Zanzibar is steeped in intrigue, history, and atmosphere – appearing at the top spot in romantic destinations lists. Perhaps this is because of its soft white beaches, the tepid waters, romantic sunsets. It’s as famous for the serene breezes that pacify the island as it is for its past military quests – holding the title for the world’s shortest war – a 38 minutes clash of weaponry with Britain in 1896.
Strolling through UNESCO listed Stonetown, the oldest part of the island, we couldn’t help but marvel at the seamless fusion of cultures that called this home for millennia – Indians, Africans, Europeans and Arabs. The detail is in the buildings, the social fabric, the relics and the stock in trade. Zanzibar’s home to rare animals – like the red colobus monkey, endemic to the island and interesting marine life like the hadada, moray eels and manta rays.
The lovely all year weather and bounteous waters opens up many exciting possibilities. Occasionally water sports lovers will pierce the air with elated screams, if not scuba diving, then swimming, if not snorkeling, then kiteboarding, if not windsurfing, white water rafting. Still, seafaring in a traditional dhow is the perfect crowning of the evening, as the sun takes a bow, leaving a dreamlike afterglow.