Zanzibar island

Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, and several islets. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast. Zanzibar Island (known locally as Unguja, but as Zanzibar internationally) is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide, occupying a total area of approximately 650 square miles. It is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of historic Stone Town - said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa.

Zanzibar's local people are an incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds, indicative of her colourful history. Islam is the dominant religion, and practiced by most Zanzibaris, although there are also followers of Christianity and Hinduism. Population is estimated at 800,000, with the largest concentration being Zanzibar City which has approximately 100,000 inhabitants. Zanzibaris speak Kiswahili, a language which is spoken extensively in East Africa. Many believe that the purest form is spoken in Zanzibar as it is the birth place of the language.

Zanzibar's brilliant white beaches lapped by the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean provide the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun and take a break from some busy sightseeing.

The beaches in Zanzibar are a paradise, interspersed with picturesque fishing villages, where the people live a simple way of life, unchanged over the years. There are more than 25 fantastic beaches in Zanzibar, and some are so peaceful and remote that the only noise breaking the silence is likely to be the ocean.

At the northern tip of the island is Nungwi, approached by a road lined by banana palms, mangroves and coconut trees. This is the dhow building capital of Zanzibar island, so it is a good place to see traditional craftsmen at work.

Zanzibar also boasts several small offshore islands which are ideal for a day-trip.

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