Zanzibar is a beautiful set of islands, lying off the coast of East Africa, south of the Somali sea. It is also known as the “Spice Islands” due to the delicious variety of spices grown on the island’s many plantations. Due to its rich culture and history, this island brought adventurers, traders, and sea farmers from far and wide.
There are four main islands: Unguja, Pemba, Latham and Mafia island. Unguja is the largest and most populated island of Zanzibar archipelago, in Tanzania. It has the most developed tourism industry that accounts for a substantial part of Unguja economy. Other relevant activities include Agriculture (production of spice such as cloves) and fishing. Most villages rely on seaweed farming along the East Coast.
Pemba is the second-largest island lying within the Swahili Coast in the Indian Ocean. Most of the island, which is hillier and more fertile than Unguja, is dominated by small-scale farming. Cash crops like cloves are under large-scale farming. Latham island, also known as Fungu Kizimkazi, is a flat coral island located 60 km southeast of Unguja and 66 km east of Dar es Salaam. The island is an important breeding ground for various seabird species, namely the masked booby, greater crested tern, sooty tern and the brown noddy. Latham is also thought to be an important place for nesting turtles.
Mafia Island also known as “Kisiwa Cha Mafia” is the third largest of the extended Zanzibar Archipelago. The name “Mafia”, has nothing to do with Italian mobsters but is instead derived from the Swahili mahali pa afya, meaning “a healthy dwelling place”. The island is a unique destination off Tanzania’s coast with secluded sandbars, nesting turtles and migrating whale sharks. It is much less known and quieter than Zanzibar, but it offers the most incredible diving experiences and embodies the real definition of barefoot luxury.
The economy is based on fishing, subsistence agriculture and the market in Kilindoni. The island attracts tourists, mainly scuba divers, birdwatchers, game fishermen and people wanting relaxation. Mafia island is a true water paradise with some of the richest reefs in the world. With groupers, clownfish, rays, turtles, octopus and whale sharks frequenting these warm and clear waters, the island is referred to as the coral garden of East Africa.
Some tourists attractions to visit while in Zanzibar are: Stone Town, Cheetah’s Rock, Nungwi Beach, Prison Island, nakupenda Beach Nature Reserve, Jambo Spice Farm, Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, Paje Beach, Old Slave Market, Fukuchani Ruins and Forodhani Gardens among others.