My Note to Zanzibar

Asante Asante – thank you for your warm “Jambo” (welcome) Zanzibar.

According to Wikipedia, Zanzibar is derived from the Persian “zang-bar” signifying “black coast”.

Zanzibar was a base for traders traveling between the Great African Lakes, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian sub continent.

Zanzibar, even though you are promoted as separate country, I have come to realize that you are very much an integral part of Tanzania.

Zanzibar, consisting of two main Islands, is situated in East Africa off the Indian Ocean.

It was once a neglected Portuguese colony before it fell under the control of the Sultanate of Oman. There was a ruling Arab elite and a general Bantu population. In 1964, a revolution drove out the last vestiges of the Omani Sultanate. Thousands of Arabs were killed and the Sultan and his family fled.

Zanzibar you are marketed as having amongst the best beaches in the world but anyone from the Caribbean would dispute this claim.

However, I wish you would be promoted for your other unique aspects such as:


You are a part of a predominant Muslim country. Your official language is Swahili and English is widely spoken. Arabic is not spoken and there is few signage in Arabic.

Old Stone Town

Old Stone Town is a UNESCO Heritage site, where the Omanis and the Yemenis first settled. The name says it all. All well and good, and I appreciate you want to maintain a certain genuineness, but there is a difference between “Run Down” and “Raw”. There is too much of the former yet still, paradoxically I found OST to be quite appealing.


Those mihrab door entrances – I would say it is one of the most unique and charming part of your heritage. A clash of Indian, Arab and African workmanship and art and I would even add Chinese.


Your people are amongst the friendliest I’ve met. Friendly but not obsequious.


Known as as the Spice Islands, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, peppercorn, contribute to your flavorful cuisine. A visit to a spice farm is highly recommended.

As much as Zanzibar was a spice route it was also a slave route and slave trading post for the Arabs.


I would be cliched and say your sunsets are ” to die for”.


A seafood lover paradise. Street food is available every night at Forodhani Park and the famous Zanzibar pizza is for a separate post.

Dhow Boats

The traditional wooden sailing vessels are scattered all over the surrounding seas. They are used to carry merchandise and also as pleasure crafts.

In Jamaica they say “Irie”, in other places, “No Worries”, in Zanzibar they say:

” Hukana Matata” – remember Lion King?

9 Replies to “My Note to Zanzibar”

  1. I’ve read your posts on Africa! Kenya is definitely such a special place, I’ve also been to Zanzibar but i was too young to remember everything about it. Great posts! If you are inrerested in southern Africa I have a post about an event that was held in Botswana to support Rhino conservation and awareness. Here it is if you would like to give it a read 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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