ZANZIBAR: THE LOCALS’ UNGUJA

November 15th, 2014 | by Ashyln Molly

Zanzibar; even the name of this enchanting island is exotic. While the world knows it as Zanzibar, locals call it Unguja and know it for one of the most brilliant jewels in Africa. Located 25 miles off the shore of Tanzania, travelers will find a lush paradise, rich history and a welcoming people.

What can you find to do in Zanzibar? Here are a few of the best attractions on the island.

Beaches – Zanzibar is an island, so, of course, there are beaches to explore and enjoy. You will find numerous sandy beaches, with overhanging palm trees for your enjoyment. The crystalline Indian Ocean stretches away to the east, while the coast of mainland Africa can be glimpsed to the west.

More than 25 beaches can be found in Zanzibar, some remote, some convenient to cities. All of them are bordered by quite fishing villages, where life moves at a slower pace.

Stone Town – This historic city is the cultural heart of Zanzibar. You will find palatial homes once owned by Arab merchant princes, market squares, charming bazaars and more. The architecture in the city is stunning, featuring a mixture of Arabic and European influences that is uniquely Zanzibar. While the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, it is very much a living, breathing city, with all the amenities you would expect.

Diving – Zanzibar is home to some of the best diving in the world. Incredible coral reefs, pristine waters and astounding sea life are the main attractions. The waters are warm and clear, as well, providing you with some of the best diving environments anywhere. Zanzibar Watersports is one of the best diving centers in the area, offering PADI certification and numerous expeditions throughout the surrounding islands.

Island Exploration – While the main island of Zanzibar is as far as most visitors get, the nation is actually an archipelago, featuring numerous other islands and islets. These other islands make perfect opportunities for exploration and travel. Chumbe and Chapwani offer accommodations and leisure activities, while you will find uninhabited islands that provide even more enjoyment in the area.

In short, whether you want to relax on a white sand beach, swim or dive the beautiful waters or enjoy exotic dining options, you will find numerous options in Zanzibar. The warm, welcoming people make you feel at home and the relatively low number of tourists on outlying islands is a huge bonus.

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