Find some useful information about the ‘Spice Island’
Weather & Climate
Pick the right season for Zanzibar
Just south of the equator, Zanzibar’s weather pattern follows that of Tanzania very closely – although always tends to be a little more humid – and occasional rain in the dry season is less uncommon than in the heart of the mainland Tanzania.
Generally the main rainy season, or the ‘long rains’, last during March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which can be heavy on any of the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.The long dry season, when rainfall is fairly unusual, lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it’s usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – it’s a great time to visit Zanzibar. During November and December there’s another rainy season: the ‘short rains’. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable.
If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months, January and February, which is Tanzania’s ‘short dry season’, before starting to rain again in March/April.
To – do’s
Stowne Town & Spice Farm
Spend the day in Stone Town exploring the many historical sites and restaurants. On the way do a spice tour. $120 for the taxi return trip. Most Spice Farms charge an entrance fee of $10 per person, and if you have enjoyed your tour it is customary to tip the guide $5 – $10.
Go snorkeling on Pongwe Reef @ $15 per person with a minimum of 2 people on the boat. Try some handline fishing – good fun for the children at $20 per person. Snorkeling equipment is available for use in Pongwe Bay free of charge – please remember to return it at the end of the day for cleaning.
Visit Nungwi, see the turtles in their natural aquarium and local boats being built. Also a good chance to see different areas of the island. $100 for the taxi return trip. Does not include entrance fees.
Jozani Rainforest (Half day)
Take a trip to Jozani Forest to see the Red Colobus monkeys and the mangroves. Entrance $8 per person. A new introduction is the Turtle Sanctuary charging $3 per person. Taxi trip is $120 return.
8th century AD
Zanzibar and other islands off the coast of East Africa became bases for Arab merchants trading with the mainland, which they called the Land of Zenj (Arabic, blacks), or Azania. In the course of time some of these including Zanzibar and Kilwa became independent Muslim sultanates with mixed Arab and African populations.
16th – 19th Century
In the 16th and 17th centuries they were dominated by the Portuguese, and in the 18th century, Zanzibar and Pemba were subject to the sultans of Muscat and Oman.
In 1832 the Omani sultan Sayyid Said (1787-1856) established his residence on Zanzibar, where he promoted the production of cloves and palm oil and carried on an active slave trade with the interior. His domain, which included parts of the mainland, was a commercial rather than a territorial empire. His successors did not have a legal claim to the lands they controlled commercially, and did not have the power to keep the Germans and British from annexing them when the European nations began dividing up Africa later in the century.
Read Our Blog About Zanzibar
Zanzibar was declared a British protectorate in 1890; the sultan was retained for ceremonial purposes, but most major decisions were made by the British resident. Sultan Khalifa ibn Harub (1879-1960) used his influence to support British rule. At the time of his death, Britain was divesting itself of its African colonies, and Zanzibar, troubled by political factionalism, was granted independence in December 1963. A few weeks later, January 12, 1964, its conservative government was overthrown in a bloody revolution and replaced by a leftist regime under Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume (1905-72). Immediately after the revolution, Karume signed a pact with Nyerere uniting Zanzibar and Tanganyika to form The United Republic of Tanzania.