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Experience a Life-Changing Vacation on Zanzibar Island

Stone Town Street Artist by Mouser Williams (via Flickr)

If you want to take a break in warm white, sandy beaches, think Zanzibar.  Zanzibar is an island in the Indian Ocean, located about 25 to 30 miles from the coast of Tanzania.

White Sands of Zanzibar by Matt Price (Via Flickr)
White Sands of Zanzibar by Matt Price (Via Flickr)
Dhows at Nungwi Beach - Zanzibar by TravelingOtter (via Flickr)
Dhows at Nungwi Beach - Zanzibar by TravelingOtter (via Flickr)

Why Zanzibar?

I love Swahili culture and in Zanzibar, Swahili culture is blended with Arabic and Indian cultures. From the unique architecture to the artwork, these rich and beautiful cultures manifest themselves in incredible and astonishing ways. The white exotic beaches take your mind off everything. They are so quiet and serene, and the only sound you hear is that of water hitting the rocks.  Could be worse, right?

Nungwi beach is my favorite. It is located in the northern part of Zanzibar, an hour's drive from Stone Town. I recommend taking the public bus from Stone Town. The scenery on the way is worth seeing and you’ll get a first-hand experience of the people and their lifestyle.

Zanzibar is made up of many islets. I particularly like the prison island because of its rich history. In the colonial times, the slave trade was rampant in Africa. Given that Zanzibar was a trading center, slaves were transported to their masters from its shores. Prison Island was the correctional facility for the slaves. While the slave

trade was officially abolished in 1876, slavery itself remained legal in Zanzibar until 1897. Prison Island stands as a reminder now of hope and humanity overcoming imprisonment and suffering.

The Spice of Life

Have you ever wondered where spices like cinnamon, cloves, pepper and nutmeg come from? Zanzibar is where these great spices are mostly grown. Zanzibar is sometimes called the Spice Island. It is one of the leading spice exporters in the world.  If you are interested, there

Prison Island by Mathias Apitz (via Flickr)
Prison Island by Mathias Apitz (via Flickr)

are tours and you can check out how these spices are grown and see some fairly incredible scenery firsthand.

When taking a break from all worries, music is the food of the soul. The Swahili traditional music is called Taarabt. The calmness and finesse with which the Swahili people play their music will serenade you into just the right mood. The women, in particular, move their waist while the rest of the body is stiff. It is like nothing you have ever seen. The men mostly play instruments and leave the dancing to the ladies.

The women are adorned with ‘Shanga,' the Swahili traditional necklaces. They are very keen on their looks. The necklaces and other adornments are made by women on the roadsides. The artwork is crafted with so much expertise that you really get a sense of the Swahili aesthetic. You can learn how to braid rugs and carpets from the kind and generous women if you’re interested.  I tried it and it was really fun.  They coached me in how to incorporate the traditional patterns and while my rug didn’t look as great as theirs, I still look at it fondly today as a keepsake.

Did you know that the traditional Swahili people do not have dining tables? They sit together on braided floor rugs and enjoy their delicacies.

The roofing of Swahili traditional houses is not what we are used to. They braid dried palm leaves and arrange them on top of their houses as roofing. There are no leakages, and they bring coolness into the rooms so efficiently that there is no need for air conditioners.

Traditional Abode by Kris Fricke (via Flickr)
Traditional Abode by Kris Fricke (via Flickr)

Michele W.
Michele W.
Michele is a professional writer, editor, and visual artist. She is an avid traveler, who loves sharing tips and tricks to maximize one's travel experience. She's a quirky, imaginative individual with a heart of really good chicken soup.

12 thoughts on “Experience a Life-Changing Vacation on Zanzibar Island

  1. What a blog post! Awesome pictures of Zanzibar give me a different feeling. Nice description of Zanzibar beauty calls me to go there for new experience. Thanks for sharing this great post.

  2. I like to travel and explore new things with fun. This wonder land took me for the next time with her beauty. I would like to taste the spicy life of this island.

  3. Surprising images! I didn’t know they had such beautiful white beaches. Reminds me of my golden moments. 🙂

  4. I saw the reflection of beauty of nature very near from Cox’s Bazar Sea beach in Bangladesh. Those moments remind me some golden past of my life. I saw there different tradition and culture of life. This blog post is going through my mind and teaches me some different nature of life, tradition and culture.

  5. In Zanzibar, they lead their life with exceptional art. Their activities, cultural life are well described here. I’m astonished to see some beautiful images.

  6. Beautifully narrated…Pictures are simply marvellous as usual…Loved the detailed description of the place. Thanks for sharing.

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