Mama Baba Ganoush Travels The Spice Island of Zanzibar

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Ashlee

Welcome to island paradise! Located 30 km off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa, the island of Zanzibar is a little slice of heaven and offers a rich, melting pot of history and tradition – all set in an exotic location of sandy white beaches, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees.

From the winding lanes of historic Stone Town filled with history, trade, and merchants, to the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean – this East African jewel bathed in culture from the Arab empire, Europe, and mainland Africa, is colourful and vibrant with super-friendly people, great food, and a slow-paced way of life. As they say in Zanzibar, ‘Hakuna Matata’ – it means no worries!

With so much on offer here are three ideas to get you started:

Stone Town – This UNESCO World Heritage Centre is a must-visit. Located on the western coast of Zanzibar, this bustling, busy town is a true blend of Swahili, Arab, Indian, and European influence. Here you’ll find lots of significant historical buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries – including monuments such as the Old Fort and Malindi Bamnara Mosque. Of course there’s lots of shopping, restaurants and cafés too, so be sure to add this to your travel itinerary.

Spice Market – Did you know that Zanzibar has been trading spice since the 16th century? Qatar’s neighbour – Oman – ruled Zanzibar from the early 18th century and quickly saw the potential to grow and trade spice. Since then, Zanzibar has become a major producer of spices, and the Spice Market, located in Stone Town, is one of the largest spice trading towns in the world. You can also organize a tour to one of the spice farms located on the island.

Beaches – Where to start? Zanzibar has powder-white beaches, coral reefs, dolphins, and crystal-clear waters – so if you’re searching for a beach holiday, then Zanzibar is for you. From snorkelling, scuba-diving, boating, fishing, swimming, or dinner on the beach, Zanzibar’s got something for everyone.

Food – Zanzibar is famous for its seafood and I can see why – caught daily and served up straight from the ocean! Be sure to try the local delicacy – octopus. Other must-eats – biryani, chapati, and local Swahili food showcasing rice, seafood, okra, and beans. For an authentic taste of Zanzibar, you can’t beat the massively popular Lukmaan restaurant– this ‘no-frills’ eatery offers a delicious blend of Swahili and Arabic cuisine.

About Zanzibar

Attractions: Beaches and water activities including diving, snorkelling, and fishing, wildlife, culture, history, food.

Capital: Zanzibar City

Language: Swahili/English

Religion: Majority Muslim

Food: Mix of Arab, Indian, Portuguese, Swahili, and British.

Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TZS)

Visa: For your country’s visa requirements check here.

Airport: Zanzibar International Airport

Health info: Please check your local health-care provider for up-to-date information on travel health requirements for Zanzibar.

Weather:  Warm year-round with rainy season from March to May.

Getting there: Qatar Airways operates flights to Zanzibar International Airport, 5 km to the south of the capital of Zanzibar City. From the airport you can take a taxi to any location on the island. Some hotels will organize a free transfer. Check www.qatarairways.com for flight details.

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