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When you hear the name Zanzibar it often conjures up images of beautiful sandy beaches and spectacular coral reefs around which to snorkel and dive. Whilst you will find all of that in the Zanzibar Archipelago, there is also much more to see. Made up of Unguja (commonly called Zanzibar) and Pemba Islands as well as several smaller islets, the Zanzibar Archipelago offers visitors a chance to relax and unwind – often a perfect end to a safari holiday.
Stone Town on Zanzibar Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a rich and varied history. Once home to a flourishing slave trade, the island is also rich in other influences from the Arabs, that used the island as a trade base in years gone by. The architecture that can be found in and around the narrow winding streets of the town, although today found mostly in disrepair, gives an insight into the wealth and splendor of the town in past times. Wandering around and exploring the old town makes for an incredibly interesting adventure. Souvenir shops also line the streets and it’s possible to pick up a bargain if your haggling skills are up to it!
Stone Town also makes a great base from which to take in some of the delights of the island.
The famous spice plantations are an amazing colourful and pungent feast for the eyes. You get the opportunity to learn more about spices such as cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon as well as a chance to pick up some spices to take home.
A trip to the Jambiani Cultural Village gives visitors a deeper insight into the culture and history of the island safe in the knowledge that you are helping to give back to the community.
The only national park on the island of Zanzibar, the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park contains one of the last remaining tracts of near natural forest on the island. The Jozani Forest is home to the endemic red colobus monkey as well as other species such as bush pigs, small antelopes and civets. Butterfly and birdlife is also abundant within the park. There are a number of walking trails within the park which make a refreshing change to lying on the beach.
Both Zanzibar and Pemba boast a number of marine parks that have been created in a bid to help sustain the biodiversity of the region, including protecting turtle breeding areas, coral reefs, marine life and mangrove forests. These include the Menai Bay Conservation Area, Chumbe Island Coral Park, Misali Marine Park and the Mnemba Marine Park. All these projects are working with local communities and providing environmental education in a bid to try to prevent the overexploitation of this areas amazing natural resources.
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