Officially part of Tanzania, Zanzibar is not just one island, but an archipelago made up of many small islands and two larger ones. The island that is typically referred to as Zanzibar, is called Unguja. Being the centre of the spice and slave route for centuries, the island is a true exotic infusion of cultures. The most prominent are Indian, Arabic, and Portuguese influences, mixed with African and resulting in cuisine and well-preserved architecture that is truly incredible. Stone Town, the informal name for the capital city, is where you will see this most evidently. It is also home to Zanzibar’s main airport, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport.
Aside from its incredibly rich history and beaches rated as some of the best in the world, a lesser-known interesting fact is that the singer of Queen, the late Freddie Mercury—Farrokh Bulsara—was born on the island. While most accommodation and things to do are located on the main island of Unguja, those seeking a quiet escape with almost untouched reefs and areas will find plenty of options on Pemba and Mafia islands, also found in the archipelago.
While the island has become synonymous with white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, there are a whole host of things to explore. Visitors can walk from a 15th-century Portuguese fort to a 21st-century harbourside restaurant. There are also inland tropical forests to stroll through and even an international film festival that is hosted annually. A wide range of activities can be found to really enhance the experience, from the obvious seaside-based offerings of snorkelling, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing to the more adventurous horseback riding and kite surfing. If travellers fancy a bit of traditional adventure, they can take a ride on a traditional dhow and see the island as locals have for centuries.
It is always important to take into consideration the possible health risks when travelling to Africa. There are various tropical diseases in many African countries, so vaccinations for the most common risks are recommended. However, travellers should always check with their local Travel Clinic. Vaccinations for the following are usually recommended: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies, and measles, Yellow fever is not required.