Although Zanzibar and its neighbouring tropical island of Pemba do
not have reserve or park status, they are worth mentioning here for
the aquatic life, some rare primates and a fascinating history.
Zanzibar is a common post-safari destination that adds a relaxing,
exotic element to a hectic holiday.
These islands lie at the top of Tanzania's Indian Ocean coastline,
which over the centuries have been influenced by numerous cultures
which have blended together to create the Zanzibar of today. The
confusing mix originates from an African Asian combination created
by a touch of Persian, Arabian, Indian and Chinese influences with
some Dutch, Portuguese and English thrown in for good measure.
Slaves and spices made these islands famous.
Shirazi Persians and Omani Arabs settled and ruled the Zanzibar
Sultanate, which explains the Arab influences and Muslim religion
which endures today. Heavily carved and studded Zanzibar doors
relieve the plain exteriors of many houses, many of which are
peeling and dishevelled. The Indian influence produced coloured
glasswork and ornamental fretwork balconies and today Gujarat
traders sell just about anything from cloves to curios. The English
legacy is a number of solid imperial buildings occupying the more
select parts of The Stone Town.
The islands conjure up everything one could want from a tropical
escape. Spectacular beaches, simple fishing villages, relaxing
resorts, silence and solitude if you wish or the hustle and bustle
in the narrow streets of an ancient town.
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