About Zanzibar

HISTORY

Zanzibar is an archipelago consisting of two main Islands of Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar Island), Pemba and about 51 other surrounding small islets. Zanzibar is a partner state in the United Republic of Tanzania with the Mainland. The name Zanzibar is derived from a combination of two Arabic words, 'Zenj', meaning black, and 'bar', being the Arabic word for land, resulting in the ancient title 'Land of the Blacks'. As Zanzibar absorbed peoples from as far as the Orient and Iberia, Assyria and India. Pemba is the second largest island of the Archipelago, named Al-khudra "The Green Island” by the Arabic mariners. It is famous for its clove production and its channels offer some of the best diving experiences in East Africa.

POPULATION

Zanzibar consists of a multiracial and multicultural community. It is a society of many faiths and of different origins. Almost the entire population is of mixed races primarily of Arab and African decent and blended with local culture. The current population of Zanzibar according to 2002 census is 984,625 inhabitants with an annual growth rate of 3.5%.

GOVERNMENT

Zanzibar is a part of the United Republic of Tanzania and has its own Government led by its president. It has a House of Representatives popularly elected and cabinet ministers for all matters which are not Union Affairs. Since 1995 election, Zanzibar is a multiparty democracy.

HOSPITALITY & CULTURE

Zanzibar cultures became more diverse in its range, more unique in its expression. Zanzibar is the birthplace of Swahili, a lingua franca forged from global dialects, upon which legends were carried, trade routes opened and a Sultan’s empire prospered. It is here that the Africa Culture blended with other cultures mainly Persian, Arabic and Indian to forms Swahili Culture. Today the romance, the splendor and legends of the past are still vibrantly alive, traditional sailing dhows, carved wooden and doors, chests, the scent of the clove and the smile of the hospitable people welcomes you to Zanzibar.

CLIMATE

The Zanzibar archipelago is a tropical island and its climate is subject to the whims of monsoon winds. The northern monsoon (known as Kaskazi in Kiswahili) lasts three to four months from December to March. The South west monsoon (Kusi) lasts from April to November. The rainy seasons (Masika) starts in March or April and lasts in May. June to October is the dry season and temperatures are clement. There are short rains known as Vuli. Zanzibar gets about 60 inches of rains annually. The maximum temperatures are 88.50F in February and 810F in July. The minimum temperatures are 800F in March and 710F in June.

GEOGRAPHY

The two Islands are located in the Indian Ocean about 35km off the coast of mainland Tanzania at longitude 39 degrees East and latitude 6 degrees South of Equator. Pemba is about 40 miles long and 14 miles wide. It has a surface area of 608 square miles (2,332 square kilometers). It is located about 36 miles from the continent and 29 miles north-east of Unguja Island. Unguja Island is 50 miles long and 24 miles wide. It has a surface area of 995 square miles. It is separated from the continent by a 21 mile corridor at its narrowest point. Its highest point is 390 feet above sea level.

HEALTH & SAFETY

Visitors to Zanzibar are no longer required by law to have a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. When you enter the country, please see your local doctor or Travel Clinic for further information about inoculations required for the area.
Malaria is still prevalent in East Africa and so one should also take a malaria prophylaxis. There are many different kinds of medications for Malaria. However, precautions should be taken to avoid being bitten by mosquitos. Apply insect repellent and sleep under mosquito nets at night. Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers in the evenings. Zanzibar is not much infected by HIV/AIDS. However you are advised to avoid all AIDS fueling factors.
As in almost all African countries, it is pleased to drink bottled water and avoid uncooked foods that may have been washed in untreated water. Sunstroke and heat exhaustion are common, so drink sufficient water, wear sensible clothing and use a high-factor sunscreen.
Zanzibar is a safe country, and most locals are friendly and honest. Though simple precautions should be taken so as to have a relaxing and interesting stay in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

MEDIA & COMMUNICATION

Media and Communication provides access for tourists and investors to the latest technologies in sound, printing, and visual communication. There are numbers of media and communication companies that keep you home away from home. The most recommended media are GUARDIAN,SUNDAY NEWS,DAILY NEWS,THE DAILY NATION and ZANTEL,TTCL,ZAIN,VODACOM,TIGO for communication.

RELIGION

The majority of Zanzibar residents practice the Islamic faith which reflect also their life style and culture. Mosques are sacred places and usually no entry by non Muslims. During the holy month of Ramadhan Muslims are fasting from dawn to sun set and you may find difficult to find food during the day hours. However some specified restaurants are allowed to serve the tourists. There are also Christian churches and Hindu temples which offer regular services on Sunday and on special occasions

SHOPPING

As you stroll through Stone Town , you will find several shops selling wood carvings, Zanzibari chests, clothes, spices, jewellery, paintings and antiques. Most of the gift shops are situated along Kenyatta Road in Shangani, and Gizenga Street behind the Old Fort. Tourists are advised not to buy any products related to protected species on the islands, such as sea shells and turtles. A holiday to Zanzibar would be incomplete without visiting these souvenir shops.