The word “Zanzibar” is derived from the old form “Zengbar” which initially meant the Eastern Coast of Africa. It is probably a Persian word “Zeng” means black and “Bar” means land or region. The Arab version was Zinjibar.
Zanzibar is the ultimate Indian Ocean experience, with its fascinating historical Stone Town and magnificent beaches. Zanzibar’s Indian Ocean offers world class water sports including scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, waterskiing and sailing on traditional local dhows.
Zanzibar’s brilliant white beaches lapped by the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean provide the perfect place to relax soak up the sun and take a break from some busy sightseeing.
The beaches in Zanzibar are a paradise, interspersed with picturesque fishing villages, where the people live a simple way of life, unchanged over the years. There are more than 25 fantastic beaches in Zanzibar, and some are so peaceful and remote that the only noise breaking the silence is likely to be the ocean. At the northern tip of the island is Nungwi, approached by a road lined by banana palms, mangroves and coconut trees. This is the dhow building capital of Zanzibar Island, so it is a good place to see traditional craftsmen at work.
On the west coast of Zanzibar, Mangapwani beach is worth a visit, and to the east are the beaches of Matemwe, Pwani Mchangani, Kiwengwa, Uroa, Bwejuu and Jambiani, all with stretches of beautiful white sands.
Zanzibar also boasts several small offshore islands which are ideal for a day-trip. Prison (or Changu) island is the most popular with tourists because it is only a short trip from Stone Town. Originally, it was used by Arabs to detain recalcitrant slaves, and then a jail was built by the British, but it was never actually used. Visitors to Zanzibar will notice a large population of ancient Aldabra tortoises. Other islets near to Stone Town are Chapwani, Chumbe and Bawe.