There are many beautiful places on this Blue Planet of ours, which, when we see them, awaken our long forgotten memories of perfect peace, beauty of the simplicity and harmony, those places where we truly feel as if we are at home, where time flows in some special rhythm of its own and everything has different meaning. One of them is definitely- Zanzibar.
Beautiful green island by the west coast of Tanzania, which is splashed by the waters of the warm, green Indian ocean, slowly, but surely is being nominated for list of tourist TOP destinations and that fact adds to its attractiveness for those who rather enjoy lush, wild and rich nature than commercial one. It is a place of greater value, for holiday, adventure, place to recharge your batteries, to explore and expand limits.
Take me to Zanzibar
When I decided to travel to Zanzibar, two years ago, my friends told me that they thought it exists only in jokes-like place at the end of the world, or in a hit song. Take me to Zanzibar, from over forty years ago–https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YLuE5Xivvk, and it really sounds like that, but Zanzibar is actually unexplored jewel of the Black continent. What no one expects be hidden behind such an unusual name, are magic, fairy land landscapes, endless white sand beaches, emerald green sea and crystal, shining sky. That was also my first impression-someone must be joking with me-does such a place truly exists!?
Playing in white sand
The fact that you often find yourself alone on those endless beaches add special charm and magic to them, you are completely sheltered from the rush and the crowd of tourists, such as you might expect on a place like this. Especially at dawn, when colors and shapes are soft and warm, and completely different from those which will shine in its full colors when the sun gets to its highest point at noon, only 6 degrees south form Ecuador. In late afternoon hours, the colors are even more picturesque-blue sky is ornamented with numerous multicolored “kites”-kite surfing. Very attractive and exciting sport, filled with adrenaline, lures you to let yourself to it, and to tame emerald waves, while you are dragged by your “kite”. Absolutely magic..You can enjoy these excitements on the east coast of Zanzibar, if you maybe think that slow, relaxed rhythm of holiday life might be boring. White, perfect, fine-grained sand is ideal background for ball sports, so you can prepare for new football season in the shadow of the palms. Games in the sand are favorite games to children of all ages, races and nations.
Climate is very pleasant, almost ideal throughout the whole year, and daily fluctuations in temperature are often bigger then season ones. Daily fluctuations of the sea level are also extreme, so ebb that leaves kilometers of beach dry allows you to explore ocean bottom and maybe save a life to some sea urchin, starfish or a crab, by putting them in backwater pools….
Central part of the island is covered by famous Jozani Forest, where endemic species of monkey lives-red colobus, whom you can see only on Zanzibar. Colobuses are very free and easy, curious and friendly, and as if they are aware that they are protected species.
In the neighborhood is the biggest center for butterfly farming in East Africa-Butterfly center, where butterflies find support throughout all phases of their transformation and during their short life, which lasts only couple of weeks.
Very interesting thing in animal world of Zanzibar are turtles of all generations, from babies to 200-years old ones, who live for decades on the nearby Prison Island. Fauna of Zanzibar unfortunately doesn’t consist of great African animals, although there are records that in distant past, this island was inhabited by great number of elephants, but now they are all gone, only nobody speaks of how and why they are exterminated, because these lovely animals probably lost the battle with greedy poachers and ivory merchants. There is also a legend about Zanzibar tiger, but nowadays, it is only a story for children and curious tourists.
Zanzibar is also famous for its spices and for a long time it was the greatest exporter of clove, although there are numerous spice farms which cultivate vanilla, pepper, ginger and cinnamon, turmeric and nutmeg and it is very interesting to see them and find out how from a green bush of a tree, becomes spice which we use to add flavor to our food, and also our lives.
City of stone
Stone Town, city of stone, is the biggest city on Zanzibar and also the capital. It is under protection of UNESCO and it is well-known by its doors, there are about 250 of them, and each one is special and unique. Cleanness is not something the city can be proud of, but nonetheless they offer fresh and cooked food on very lively squares, spice markets –night market where you can taste all specialties of Zanzibar cuisine is very popular.
The city of contrasts, mixture of different cultures and traditions, African and Asian, Indian, Arabic, European…because they were British colony for a long time, but also under rule of Oman sultan… each one of these influences is inwrought into this city like the finest filigree.
This was hometown of popular front man of the music group Queen, Freddy Mercury, who immigrated to Britain in his 17th year, building very successful world carrier. Mercury’s House is private house now, and there is a signboard that states about beginning and further progress of this, in those Zanzibar days, young musician. Tourists often take photos in front of the house.
Zanzibar was well-known by slave trade in the past, it was the place from which slaves were deported, from East Africa do their next destination and nowadays there is a cathedral built on the place of the former “slave market”. It is a gloomy and dark place, where you can still feel suffering and pain of all those innocent people…
In spite of poverty and misery, on the faces of the inhabitants of Zanzibar you can see joy of life, and sparks in children’s eyes tell us that, when you live at the stairway to heaven, money and material wealth are not at all preconditions for happiness.