I went on vacation to Zanzibar Island last June. It’s been a year and half later and I still think of Zanzibar Island, the culture, the people, and the places of Zanzibar Island. To date Zanzibar is the most beautiful, wondrous, enchanting place I have ever been. Dr. David Livingstone presumed that he was ‘in paradise’ with its turquoise seas, pristine beaches and unique history, it is truly a little wonder.

Zanzibar, properly known as Unguja, is the common name given to the largest and most populated island of the three islands just off the coast of mainland Tanzania on the Indian Ocean. The other two islands that form the Zanzibar archipelago are Pemba to the North and Mafia to the South. When in Zanzibar Island, make it a point to spend time in Stone Town, Zanzibar’s capital. Stone Town is an aged and beautiful city, with narrow winding lanes, bustling bazaars, circular towers, majestic carved wooden doors, terraces and striking mosques. Vital architectural features to visit are the House of Wonders, and the Livingstone house.

In Stone Town all five senses are needed, the brilliant colors and perfumes and smells of Stone Town both pleasant and unpleasant leave a strong impact on the visitor. The senses are heightened, and brought to life. Aesthetically charming to the eye, stone ancient to touch, aroma of spices and perfume fill the already salty air, listening to the beautiful language that is kiswahili, the food a fusion of Middle Eastern, Indian and African, a reminder of the diverse history of Zanzibar Island. DO go on the Spice tour when in Zanzibar, this is ultimately the essence of Zanzibar Island. The history of Zanzibar would be incomplete without the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and many other spices, that brought the Sultans of Oman and the beginnings of the infamous slave trade in East Africa.

Stone Town has a good array of vegan/ vegetarian options and fine restaurants. My favorite restaurant was Monsoon, which was true Zanzibari style food. The décor was Omani styled, the interior warm and cozy, while old taarab music played softly in the background. At night the market comes alive, for a seafood lover this is a must. There are many different vendors all lined up by the bay, lit up by kerosene lamps, available are the fresh seafood catch of the day, naan breads, samosas and the list of Zanzibari specialties go on. I enjoyed the fresh squeezed sugar cane juice every night I was in Stone Town.

Things to do outside of Stone Town visit the National park called Jozani forest, and for the beach goers the best beaches on Zanzibar Island are about an hour or so up north. Where there are clear water beaches for snorkeling, and they’re local fishermen who can set up visitors to go and swim with dolphins. My absolute favorite part of the trip, swimming in the middle of the ocean, nothing but blues skies, vastness all around, I truly understood what it was to feel small. The Dolphins swam around all my friends and I playfully; it was an amazing experience, surreal to me then and still surreal to me now.

Dr. Livingstone knew exactly what he was talking about when he described Zanzibar as being in “paradise.” I still wonder about Zanzibar Island. I wonder about the sunsets, the flamboyant trees that line the flawless turquoise beaches, I wonder about the scent of perfume and spice, about the women dressed in traditional kanga, about the way of life in paradise, about the secrets of stone town and mysteries of Zanzibar Island.



  1. 1 FlyisasFlydoes December 4, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Well written! I’m going to Zanzibar for my honeymoon.It’s my dream destination 🙂

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