Five reasons why Zanzibar should be on your bucket list, says Oliver Hyde
EVERY TRAVELLER should visit Zanzibar at least once in their lives. From sun-kissed beaches and show rides to unforgettable encounters with friendly locals and exploding flavours of local dishes, this African jewel is the closest to paradise you can ever hope to find.
Having had a chance to explore much of Africa, Asia and the Americas, I believe that the Dark Continent is one of the best parts of the world to go hunting for exciting adventures and encounters with untamed wildlife. Zanzibar is one of my favourite holiday destinations in Africa. I first visited the fascinating island back in 2005, and I have been coming back to it every year to recharge my inner batteries and experience peace, freedom and comfort at their finest. With enchanting beaches, a unique blend of cultural identities, warm climate and a number of leisure activities to engage in, Zanzibar is the true pearl of Eastern Africa that will live up to your highest holiday expectations, so make sure you include it in your bucket list.
1. Unique cultural mix
Due to its history marked by close ties with numerous nations around the world, Zanzibar is a true melting pot of different cultures. Evidence of strong European, Indian, Arab and Persian cultural impact is visible at every corner, from internationally influenced cuisine and innovative clothing combinations to modern design of urban environments and abundance of Western-oriented leisure activities.
2. Pristine beaches at their finest
Zanzibar is home to some of the world’s cleanest beaches, well-known for their warm, silky sands, refreshing palm tree shades, gentle ocean breeze and clear turquoise waters. My personal favourites are Ras Nungwi, Bwejuu and Paje, where you can lounge around silky sands all day or brave the waves on your surf board. Diving is also an option, as well as snorkelling, boat riding and guided tours of small neighbouring islands, so you have the possibility to structure your holiday as it suits you best and thoroughly enjoy every minute of your stay in the Zanzibar Archipelago.
3. Sunny weather and warm climate
Thanks to its favourable geographic position, Zanzibar is blessed with a moderate tropical climate, with slim chances of rain and lots of sunshine throughout the year. The average temperature in Zanzibar in the hottest month, February, is 28°C, and the ocean is warmest in March, with water temperature at around 30°C. With up to eight hours of sunshine a day, Zanzibar is a real treat for lovers of beach fun, solitary island explorations and long swimming sessions.
4. Exciting dhow safaris
One of the most exciting experiences Zanzibar has in store for curious travellers is the dhow safari. You can hire a hand-crafted dhow (the traditional Swahili boat) with experienced crew at a highly favourable hourly rate and explore the vicinity of the island and the most scenic vantage points on a hot summer afternoon.
5. DalaDala minibus rides
I was somewhat taken aback when I first boarded Zanzibar’s public transportation, the Dala Dala bus. These primitive-looking minibuses are the cheapest way to explore the island, but they are not precisely as comfortable as I imagined them to be when I first set foot in Zanzibar. A Dala Dala is actually a truck transformed into a bus by adding benches, so if you prefer comfort to adventure, you should consider renting a car. As for the prices, everything seems to be more affordable in Zanzibar than in the rest of the world. Let me give you an example. I lost my phone during my latest visit to the island and I was able to purchase an iPhone on this link for less than I would have otherwise paid for it back in UK. So, consider buying electronics online in Africa.
About the author
Oliver Hyde is an experienced business consultant from the UK. His job allows him to travel, which also happens to be one of his greatest passions. Find out more about his travels on Twitter.