After a productive month in Dar es Salaam, the East Africa Interns finally got off their computers, boarded a vessel, and escaped to a quaint island called Zanzibar for two whole nights. Now we share with you why you should do the same!
- Spice Up Your Life
If you wannabe impressed, check out the Zanzibar spice tour! We walked around smelling, tasting, and guessing what spices were growing on the island. Back in the 19th century, Zanzibar was a world leader in producing spices with cloves being the most sought after spice. This history is still present today as Zanzibar coffee, tea, rice, brownies, and other food items contain a delectable blend of spices.
Zanzibar has a rich history but, like everywhere else, it is not without a dark past. While there, we visited a cave where illegal slaves were kept before being trafficked to the Middle East. The Arab slave trade became illegal after Britain pressured the government to abolish the practice in 1873. Even so, it continued on for many years afterwards until Britain took over as colonial power in 1890. This cave, as well as the slave market in Stone Town where slaves were auctioned, serve as stark reminders to visitors and residents of a troubled past but also the perseverance of human rights.
- Cultural Appreciation
Going to Zanzibar is like going to a different country; your passport gets stamped and you go through customs at the ferry terminal. Not only that, but the culture feels uniquely different than Tanzania. It is estimated that up to 98% of Zanzibar’s population is Muslim whereas Muslims in Tanzania as a whole make up approximately 35% of the population. This creates a very devout community with numerous mosques and the celebration of Ramadan helping create the unique culture in Zanzibar.
Need I say more? You can take a boat to Prison Island, which is just off the coast, to feed and pet tortoises the size of your coffee table. It’s as amazing as it sounds. The oldest tortoise there was 192 years old! While on the island, you can also check out the restored prison which was actually never used as a prison but instead as a place to quarantine sick people.
- Natural Beauty
A tropical island in the Indian Ocean will undeniably be beautiful and Zanzibar is no different. Although we did not get the chance to adventure far beyond Zanzibar City, we did get a chance to snorkel in the coral reefs on the coast as well as lounge on a nearby beach. The snorkeling is the best I’ve ever seen; it was so colourful and had various fish. Beyond Zanzibar City there are numerous other beach destinations which offer snorkeling, scuba diving, kitesurfing, fishing, and more!
Our trip to Zanzibar was amazing and we can’t wait to go back to explore what else the island has to offer!