The island of Zanzibar, also known as Unguja, has been home to the Assyrians, Sumerians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch and English and all have contributed to Zanzibar’s rich and diverse history. Known to most as the spice islands, the Zanzibar archipelago evokes visions of mysterious veiled ladies, tantalizing spices and colourful bazaars.
In fact, many of these fantastic visions will come true for those who elect to visit the island. Ancient Stone Town – nearly unchanged these past 200 years – will charm young and old with its ornate architecture and bustling marketplaces. The buildings are made primarily of coral rock which contributes to the unique and colourful views around town.
The island is also a hot spot for divers who love to explore the coral reeks just off shore. The “paradise beaches” attract beach lovers of all kinds who come to relax and soak up the African sunshine.
The spice plantations make for an interesting day trip, as does the beautifully unspoiled north coast and the Jozani Forest. At the southern end of the island, the little fishing village of Kizimkazi attracts attention with its 12th century mosque and school of friendly bottle-nosed dolphins. Prison Island, once a prison for mis-behaving slaves, has redeemed its reputation as home to a number of giant tortoises; it features a gorgeous beach and a fabulous reefs.
Zanzibar Serena Hotel
Located in two historic seafront buildings, the Serena Hotel is located in ancient Stone Town. All 51 rooms are ensuite and the decor echoes a traditional Arabic style.
Tembo House Hotel
The luxury facilities at Tembo House (link) include a swimming pool, en-suite bathroom facilities, spectacular views of the Indian Ocean and proximity to all the attractions of Stone Town.
Dhow Palace Hotel
Small and luxurious, the Dhow Palace (link) is situated right in the heart of Stone Town. It features a first-rate rooftop restaurant and panoramic views of the ocean and Stone Town itself.
Emerson and Green
The second tallest building in Stone Town, this hotel was once the residence of one of the richest men in the Swahili Empire. Today, each of the distinct rooms offers guests a taste of Oriental mystique. The Tower Top Restaurant is reputed as one of the most romantic restaurants in the world and is certainly one of the finest.