The main islands of ZANZIBAR are Unguja, Pemba and Tumbatu. Stone Town, on the
western shore of Unguja Island, is the Capital of this region. The city gained its name from the many large multi-story “stone” buildings that fill the oldtown area.
These structures are actually constructed with coral and mortar, not stone. There are currently about 1700 of these buildings in the Stone Town section of Zanzibar City.
1100 of these have been classified as having architectural significance. In this small area, which was originally a peninsula, almost an island at times, and which is only about 83 city blocks square, there are 23 “landmark buildings”, two cathedrals, over 50 Mosques, 157 balconies, verandahs and loggias and more than 200 carved doors. Zanzibar’s Stone Town has been designated a “World Heritage Site” by the United Nations.
As the site of the largest Swahili Stone Town in the world, Zanzibar is well worth a visit. Tourists are now welcome on Zanzibar and the infrastructure for guests has greatly expanded in the last few years. Hotels and Guest Houses are available in all price ranges. Accommodations extend from basic backpacker support to luxurious private islands. There is an international airport about 5 km. from Stone Town and many modern Ferry’s now ply the short sea routes between the Islands and the mainland.
Agriculture is still the backborne of Zanzibar’s economy but its share has recently been declining. Clove industry, which used to be the biggest foreign exchange earner, has been hit with low prices on the world market and a number of agronomic factors that has resulted into low annual production. Currently, trade and tourism are the two emerging industries earmarked to replace the decaying clove industry.
The Zanzibar archipelago is a tropical island and its climate is subject to the whims of monsoon winds. The northern monsoon (known as Kaskazi in Kiswahili) lasts three to four months from December to March. The Southwest monsoon (Kusi), lasts from April to November. The rainy seasons (Masika), starts in March or April and lasts in May. June to October is the dry season and temperatures are clement. There are short rains known as Vuli. The maximum temperatures are 88.50F in February and 81.0F in July. The minimum temperatures are 80.0F in March and 71.0F in June.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Visitors to Zanzibar are required to have the Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. Malaria is still prevalent in East Africa and so one should also take a malaria prophylaxis. There are many different kinds of medications for Malaria.
However, precautions should be taken to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Apply insect repellent and sleep under mosquito nets at night. Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers in the evenings. Zanzibar is not much infected by HIV/AIDS, however you are advised to avoid all AIDS fuelling factors.
As in almost all African countries, it is pleased to drink bottled water and avoid uncooked foods that may have been washed in untreated water. Sunstroke and heat exhaustion are common, so drink sufficient water, wear sensible clothing and use a high-factor sunscreen. Zanzibar is a safe country, and most locals are friendly and honest. Though simple precautions should be taken so as to have a relaxing and interesting stay in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Jan 12 Zanzibar Revolution Day
Apr 18 Good Friday
Apr 21 Easter Monday
Apr 26 Union Day
May 1 Labour Day
Jul 7 Saba Saba (Industry’s Day)
Aug 8 Nane Nane (Farmer’s Day)
Dec 9 Independence and Republic Day
Dec 12 Independence Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day
Time Zone: GMT + 3
Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh)
Exchange rate: USD 1= +/- 1.400 Tanzanian Shillings.
Official Languages: Kiswahili and English
Electricity: 220-240 V AC, 50Hz
Religion: Predominatly Islam
International Dialing code: +255 plus code number, followed by 6 digit local number