ZANZIBAR – the legendary spice island

The islands of Zanzibar stir the imagination and conjure up images of magical Arabian nights, the scent of spices on the evening air and spirit of ages gone by. Its name evokes a romantic past. To the shores of these islands came Summerians, Assyrians, Hindus, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Arabians, Chinese, Malaysians, and the Portuguese, all sailing in on Monsoon winds. From these shores the great European explorers Burton, Speke, Livingstone, Krapf, Rebman, and Grant set out on their voyages of discovery into the East and Central African hinterland. The different races that have settled in Zanzibar over the centuries have left an imprint on the people and the architecture. The ‘House of Wonders’ and the narrow streets of the Old Stone Town are just some of the vivid reminders of the islands long and coloured history. From a distance, the whitewashed buildings of the stone town (recently declared one of the world’s historic cities by UNESCO) apparently dancing on the waves of the Indian Ocean create the feeling of adventure and the excitement of going back in time. Zanzibar is the birthplace of the fascinating Swahili culture with its elegant architecture, full of balconies, courtyards, hand-carved doors and mosques. Built only for pedestrian traffic, the streets wind between the tall buildings and open unexpectedly into ornamental squares. Excursions include taking visitors to spice plantations in the countryside where a variety of seasonal spices, tropical fruits and medicinal herbs are grown. Detailed description of the spices is given, and their uses in cooking and cosmetics. Guests will be fascinated by the sheer number of spices produced, and by their incredible value for many ailments. Another popular excursion is the “Zanzibar Stone Town Tour” which is literary a travel into history of this old capital of the Omani Sultans. Other excursions will include the old slave cave, the prison island, ruins of what was the palace of the Sultan Said, the old slave market and many other historical places.