Zanzibar, a word and a place that magically conjures up images of white sails and sandy beaches, the air heavy with spices and romance in the beautiful archipelago where Africa meets Arabia in the warm Indian Ocean.
The word zanzibar is from the Arabic and Persian languages and means the “Coast of Blacks.” Once the world’s largest producer of cloves, this spice island also provided nutmeg, cardamon, and cinnamon to Europe, the Middle East, and China for over 500 years. Originally founded by Africans, the island was discovered by the Persians in the 10th century. Since then it has had a strong Arabic influence with a brief period where the Portuguese conquered the seaports, only to revert back to Arabic control. The sultan of Oman relocated his capital here.
Zanzibar joined Tanganyika in April 1964 to form a new republic that was renamed Tanzania in October 1964. The region’s capital, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City, and its historic center, known as Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site.
Zanzibar is an archipelago with two main islands: Unguja and Pemba. The main island of Unguja, is home to the Zanzibar red colobus monkey. And Jozani forest is rumored to have leopards. The lush forests are also inhabited by monkeys, bush-pigs, small antelopes, and civets. Plus, various species of mongoose can also be found on the islands.