Zanzibar – tourist paradise that lives up to its fame

by: Apolinari Tairo – eTN Tanzania | copyright: eTurboNews – Travel & Tourism News

From one tourist hotel to 600 world-class hotels and resorts, Zanzibar is now boastful of its cherished tourist development since 1964, when the island gained its self-government.

Zanzibar government has designated tourism the leading economic sector under its self-governance in the past 59 years, and it is now competing with other islands in the Indian Ocean in tourism development.

Located off the coast of the vast Tanzania mainland, Zanzibar is turning into African tourist paradise, with miles of untouched beaches stretching as far as the eye can see, against a backdrop of the Indian Ocean.

Typically, Zanzibar life is idyllic, and nightlife is vibrant with islanders coming out after sunset to congregate at recreational spots, mostly at Stone Town and Forodhani, with its tantalising eateries, pubs and tourist hotels.

Visiting Zanzibar could be a lifetime experience. Beautiful tourist hotspots are the white sandy beaches, Stone Town, the Slave Market, Anglican Cathedral, the House of Wonders, Sultans’ Palace Museum, the Old Arab Fort and The House of Wonders.

Bwejuu Beach with its palm-lined white sand beach on the southeast shore is ideal. Nungwi Beach in the north is best known for its lively day and night beach activities and is a favorite with young people.

Jozani Forest is the naturally protected area where visitors can easily see the unique Red Colubus monkey, a rare species not seen anywhere in East Africa other than Zanzibar.

Changuu Island is the other tourist attractive site in Zanzibar. The island’s main attractions are the popular Giant Tortoises, aged up to 200 years. These Giant Aldabra Tortoises are the famous tourist attractions found only in Zanzibar.

They can grow to be up to 122 cm (48 inches) length, with average weight of 250 kg (551 lbs).

They’re known to be one among the longest-lived animals in the world. The oldest tortoise is estimated to be 196 years old.

Mangapwani Coral Cavern is a large natural underground cave once used to hide slaves during the horrific slave trade. It is located about 20 kilometers North of Zanzibar’s the Stone Town

The 1.6-million-year-old coral cavern was discovered early in 19th century by a young boy searching for a lost goat which entered the cavern by accident. Hearing the voice of the lost goat from underground, the boy informed his Arab landowner who sent his slaves to rescue his goat.

The slaves then found a spring of fresh water spilling from the coral reef on the cave floors, and later used the cavern as source of fresh water from its underground spring.

Mangapwani Cavern history started after 1873 when Arab slave traders used it to hide slaves before exporting them for sale to Oman and other Middle East states.

Near the cavern is the Zanzibar Slave Chamber built near its entrance then connected to the seaside. The Slave Chamber is a square underground cell with a roof on top, then surrounded by a variety of indigenous trees to cancel its presence.

It was constructed underground for holding slaves prior to transportation. Over 100 slaves were packed inside the camber awaiting the arrival of the merchant ships to transport them away.

When visiting Mangapwani, tourists can explore the cave up to the sea with a local guide holding a strong battery torch to light the way and a passage where African slaves were taken for their “Journey of No Return” in the Middle East.

It is easy to visit and explore the Mangapwani Cavern as it takes just an hour or less to explore the cave.

Banking on its rich tourism heritage, Zanzibar is now attracting investments across the world through the Island’s Blue Economy policy, geared to utilize marine resources for its economic development and the welfare of the people in the Island.

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