Travelling Back in Time on the Island of Zanzibar


Image credit: Sakke Wiik, all creative commons

Have you ever dreamed of running away to a tropical island and turning back the clock from the fast-paced urban era to the times when man was one with his environment and Nature was still unblemished by the hazards of civlizational progress? Avid travelers plagued by desire for time alone in the lap of Mother Nature should consider Zanzibar as a potential destination for their next trip. With clean, sunny beaches, untamed wildlife and numerous historical sites that testify of the region’s turbulent past, the island is slowly climbing up the lever of the world’s top tourist destinations. If you want to travel back in time and take refuge in an exotic paradise, check out all the wonders Tanzania and the Zanzibar Archipelago have in store for you.

  Nature of Zanzibar: Africa’s Garden of Eden

 Since its potentials are still largely undiscovered by mass tourism, Zanzibar takes pride in clean, silky beaches free of tourist crowds. Situated around 50 kilometers off the Tanzanian coast, the island is surrounded by crystal clear waters and its moderate tropical climate makes it a perfect romantic getaway throughout the year. Here, some of the world’s rarest birds and animals are still thriving, and the island offers a safe haven for a handful of endemic species such as the Zanzibar bishop, the nlue duiker, the Zanzibar leopard, green and hawksbilled turtles and the Zanzibar suni. Off the island coast, you can even see dolphins, whales and giant whalesharks, and the island’s underwater world abounds in fascinating coral reef formations and colorful fish.

  Prison Island: Journey to the past

 One of the most popular tours in Zanzibar, Prison Island is a true embodiment of exotic heaven, but its history is far less stellar than its current purpose may let on. The island still holds remains of an ancient slave prison which was at one point transformed into a quarantine hospital to treat sailors from infected ships. The main gaol building was later redone into an upmarket hotel. Other interesting things you can see on and around Prison Island that stand out from the typical 21st century tourist attractions include amazing coral reefs, clownfish and a family of giant Aldabra tortoises brought to the island from the Seychelles toward the end of the 19th century. Prison Island is one of the best wild spots in Tanzania to go diving and snorkeling, so make sure you give water sports a go if your time on the island allows it.

  Stone Town: Where history and modernity collide

 Another landmark example of how closely the past and modern life are intertwined in Zanzibar, Stone Town is home to some of the region’s most important historical sites that date back to the era of Arab reign and early British explorers. During your stay on the island, check out the House of Wonders: formerly once of the six palaces of Sultan of Zanzibar Barghash bin Said, the edifice now serves as the Museum of History and Culture of Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast. Other important structures built centuries ago include the Palace Museum that dates back to the era of Omani reign, Forodhani Gardens, Arab Fort (the oldest building in the area) and Dr Livingstone's House, which was built back in 1860 for Sultan Majid and was later used to accommodate missionaries and explorers.

  Image source: Jonathan Stonehouse, all creative commons

  Colorful markets: The true spirit of the Old World

In addition to untouched flora and fauna and numerous historical monuments, the local markets are perhaps the best embodiment of the spirit of the Old World. During a tour of Zanzibar’s busy markets, you can see people selling handcrafted items, freshly caught fish and other seafood, traditional garments and various everyday objects made by hand from locally sourced materials. Unlike in the rest of the world, prices in this part of Tanzania are surprisingly low, and you can haggle with the vendors if you want to get the best value for your money. If you have the time to stop by a Zanzibari market, make sure you stock up your collection of spices, herbs and souvenirs: the island is a genuine paradise for shopaholics!

 Away from modern chaos and technology, Zanzibar is a place of magic, wilderness and wonders long forgotten by contemporary tourists. On this captivating island, time seems to stand still, preserving history and nature at their finest and most memorable.


Author bio: 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. Being a wanderer, he rarely stays at the same place for a long time, but Africa stole his heart. He had been travelling through the continent for more than a year. You can follow his travel adventures on Twitter.

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