The islands of Zanzibar, also known as the “Spice Islands,” are made up of a necklace of islands that weave their way down the East African coast, off the coast of Tanzania. The main island, Unguja, whose city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, contains sister island Pemba with huge clove plantations, and the Mafia Archipelago, which is close by and famous for its magnificent coral reefs and whale sharks. The other islands of Zanzibar provide opulent retreats, diving excursions, and rare marine life.
Zanzibar, the largest island in an archipelago of many, is actually called Unguja but is generally called Zanzibar. It’s 35 kilometres from the Tanzanian mainland, 85 kilometres long, and 39 kilometres broad at its widest point. Nungwi, Matemwe, Jambiani, and Bwejuu are thought to be the most attractive of the many marvellous salt-white beaches that line its coasts, which include the Chumbe and Mnemba islands of Zanzibar.
There are dozens of hotels on the island to suit every taste and budget. A visit to Zanzibar would be incomplete without a stop in Stone Town, the island’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island’s vibrant capital is rich in cultural significance and brimming with old buildings that bear witness to the island’s colourful history. The House of Wonders, or Beit-al-Ajaib, stands majestically on the waterfront, its impressive facade watching over the water.
While the famous clove business of Zanzibar is frequently linked with the main island, Pemba currently produces the majority of the cloves in the region. Pemba, sometimes known as “The Green Island,” is located 40 minutes by light aircraft from Dar es Salaam and is known for being more fertile than its sister island. It is tiny and 48 kilometres north of Zanzibar. At the island’s farthest northern point, the Manta Resort has a special underwater room that floats offshore, complete with a rooftop deck and lounge.
The third-largest island in the archipelago, Mafia, is located 150 kilometres south of Zanzibar Island. Mafia Island is actually a tiny archipelago in and of itself because it is so far away and has so many smaller satellites. Mafia and the adjacent islands are a diver’s paradise because they are seldom visited and considerably quieter than Pemba. Its warm, clear seas are home to large groupers, rays, turtles, and whale sharks, and Chole Bay may be East Africa’s best coral garden. The lodging in the Mafia area is often discreet and upscale, and gorgeous private island villas are also an option for those seeking the utmost in privacy.
Chumbe Island Coral Park
Chumbe Island Coral Park is a one-of-a-kind and private nature reserve located off Zanzibar’s west coast. It is a unique example of a pristine coral island ecosystem, complete with a reef sanctuary and a forest reserve. The park contains a fully protected coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve, which are home to extremely rare and endangered animals, as well as an education center, an eco-lodge, nature trails, and ancient ruins.
All buildings and operations use cutting-edge eco-technology to achieve zero environmental impact. Explore the Forest Reserve and historical monuments while snorkelling in the unique shallow-water Reef Sanctuary. Scuba dive on the nearby reefs, or simply spend the day relaxing and watching dhows and outrigger boats sail by.
Mnemba Island is a small privately owned island located about 3 km off the northeast coast of Unguja. Mnemba Island is a popular scuba diving site, with a wide variety of corals and associated species, as well as occasional sightings of larger species such as dolphins. The island is a protected nesting place for green turtles, so they abound in the surrounding waters. Humpback whales roam offshore, along with dolphins and whale sharks. Furthermore, hundreds of species of coral reef fish can be found in the waters making it a scuba and snorkel paradise.