The name Zanzibar is derived from a combination of two Arabic words,
'Zinj', meaning black, and 'barr', being the
Arabic word for land, resulting in the ancient title 'Land of
the Blacks'. As Zanzibar absorbed peoples from as far as The
Orient and Iberia, Assyria and India, so the tapestry of Zanzibar
cultures became more diverse in its range, more unique in its
Zanzibar is the birthplace of Kiswahili, a lingua franca forged from
global dialects, upon which legends were carried, trade routes
opened and a Sultanís empire prospered.
Excluding the other islands, Zanzibar (Ungunja) is 60 milles long
and 20 milles wide. It has a total area of approximately 650
M≤. This makes it easy to explore since distances are very
The strident laments and exultant
overtures of Swahili taarab were born, their rhythms and melodies
carried and honed between Zanzibar and the Arabian Gulf until they
became the sounds of the islandsí own musical narrative.
The architectural styles of Stone Town
were borne of the social convergence, while the tangled mass of
stories, woven from centuries of lives lived, bestow a folklore and
legacy that permeate life on the archipelago.
Location of Zanzibar:
Zanzibar is a small archipelago consisting of Unguja (commonly
referred to as Zanzibar Island), Pemba and several small surrounding
islands. It is located in the Indian ocean, just off the coast of
East Africa, lying at 39 degrees East of the prime meridian and 6
degrees south of the equator. The islands have a total of 2,332
Pemba is the second largest island of the Archipelago, named Al-khudra
"The Green IslandĒ by the Arabic mariners. It is famous for
its clove production and its channels offer some of best diving
experiences in East Africa.
The population of Zanzibar is
estimated at about One million people.
Zanzibar is 3 hours ahead of GMT
230/240 volts AC
Value Added Tax (VAT):
98% Muslim, other religions include
Christian, Hindu and traditional beliefs.
During Ramadhan, the holy month,
Muslims fast from morning to evening. You may find it difficult to
find food during the daylight hours. However some specified
restaurants are allowed to serve the tourists. Obtain further
information from the Commission for Tourism (link to enquiry form)
There are churches and temples that
hold regular services available.
The official languages in Zanzibar are
Swahili and English
Staple food and special
Seafood is a favourite in Zanzibar.
Major income activities:
Small-scale farming, clove growing and
fishing are the main activities carried out on the island.
Tanzanian shillings are the local
currency. Notes are in denomination of 500, 1000, 5000, and 10,000
shillings. Coins are in the order of 10,20, 50, 100 and 200
Currency can be changed at banks and the
widely available bureaux de change as well as other accredited
points such as hotels. It is illegal to change money on the streets.
Exchange rates vary; check the current exchange rates
(link to opening The name page) for guidance.
Kenya Airways operate daily flights from Nairobi.
One can also fly from Kilimanjaro, Arusha or Dar es-salaam.
One can use a ferry from Dar es-salaam.