Zanzibar (Unguja)

Zanzibar, the majestic spice island of the Indian Ocean. Over centuries different cultures have influenced Zanzibar to become what it is today. Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Phonecians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguse, Omani Arabs, Dutch and British have settled here at one time or another and influenced the local culture into the present fusion.

The paradisiacal shores of Zanzibar are exotic as its name. Rugged coral and limestone scarps form a sheltered backdrop to tranquil, caster sugar beaches that slope gently down into crystal – clear waters, abundant with marine life. Tall coconut palms and stalking Pandanus cast their wondering shadows over the white sands and swaying hammocks, while Green Wood Hoopoes and Weaver birds flit and flutter between the green leaves and pendulous fruit high above.

Mangapwani is rather remote and therefore more peaceful and less visited, and its golden sands – fringed with palm trees and screw Pines – have the tranquil atmosphere of a lost paradise. Further up, on the northern tip of the island, is the popular Nungwi Peninsular, with its boats building industry, coral lagoons and Turtle Aquarium. On the southern tip of the island are some remote and rugged beaches, yet there are adventures and activities here to suit all tastes – including the Zanzibar Dolphin safari at Kizimkazi, which lies within the Menai Bay Conservation Zone. Beach activities within the hotels and range from volleyball to horse riding, while many have dive schools, windsurfing schools, kitesurfing, pentanque and skittle. Unguja is endowed with some of the best and most varied dive sites in the world, with diving courses catering for the novice up to Dive Master Standards. Steep wall dives; drift dives and world – class coral formations make this area a prime location for the experienced deep water divers. Diving from Sparkling Boat in the clear, blue ocean off Zanzibar is one of the most exhilarating experiences to be had on a holiday in this part of East Africa. The visibility is usually very good, the water warm and the marine life diverse and innumerable: Swaying weeds and soft coral all seethe with minute organisms that are food for the larger species. Shoals of fish weave and dart around in kaleidoscopic ballets, and playful octopus, Cuttlefish, Sea-Urchins, and Sea Cucumbers can be seen at every point.