YOU'RE IN: ZANZIBAR

Zanzibar is the collective name for the islands of Unguja, Pemba as well as many other small atolls and islets. Located in the Indian Ocean, about 32 Km east of the Tanzanian mainland and 6 degree south of the equator, Unguja is better known as Zanzibar Island. Zanzibar island is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide, occupying a total area of approximately 650 square miles. It is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of the stone town area.

Once the thoroughfare of the slave trade, Zanzibar has an incredibly rich history centuries old. Its array of spice plantations historical buildings and unique blend of cultures and color to her turbulent past. Zanzibar’s stone town connections with the Arabian countries of old has left a legacy of well preserved eastern architecture, distinctly evident in the House of Wonders and Sultans palace. Its local people are incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds, united under one tradition – their warm island hospitality.

The people of Zanzibar are known as Zanzibaris and their native language is Kiswahili, commonly known internationally as Swahili. Zanzibar used to be the world’s largest producer of cloves, and its history is heavily influenced by this commerce.Zanzibar ’s inhabitants are an incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds, due to their colorful history. The population is currently though to stand at around 1,000,000. It seems that all races and religions exist in harmony in this little part of Africa.Zanzibar town (stone town as the historic quarter) is the capital city of Zanzibar. Other large villages include chuini, Mkokotoni, Nungwi and Makunduchi.

On Pemba island, Chake Chake is the largest town and capital of the island. Mkokotoni the most important local fish-market, in the north of the island. Nungwi is the traditionally dhow building industry with one of the nicest beaches on the islandZanzibar ’s most famous event is the Zanzibar International Film Festival, also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries. Every July, this event showcases the best of Swahili coast arts scene, including Zanzibar’s favorite music Taarab. Although other festival like Sounds of wisdoms due exist.

The climate of Zanzibar is hot and sometime humid. From December to March when the north-east monsoon blows, it is hot and comparatively dry. In April and May heavy rains occur. June to October is the coolest and driest period. The lesser rain fall in November. The means minimum temperature is 29.8 degree centigrade and means maximum is 32.9 degrees centigrade. The annual rainfall is 18.3 cm.Because of its size, a tour of Zanzibar is never tiring and leaves the visitor with plenty of time to relax. Zanzibar experiences ideal holiday weather for most of the year, with the exception of April and May which are seasonally subject to the long rains. Short rains can occur in November but are characterized by short showers which do not last long.

The heat of summer is seasonally often cooled by windy conditions, resulting in pleasant sea breezes, particular on North and East coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm all year round, but officially summer and winter peak in December and June respectively and this period is really good for bird watchers.

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