Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia

The main Tanzanian islands are Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia.

Unguja, the key island of Zanzibar archipelago, hosts the capital city Stone Town. The economy of this island flourished thanks to the cultivation of cloves as well as slave and ivory trade encouraged by Omani Arabs.

In the old town you can admire many historical buildings: the Arab Fort, the House of Wonders, the Sultan’s Palace with its Museum explaining the history of the sultans and many others. Moreover, Stone Town is also famous for its wonderful lavishly carved doors representing the wealth of the owners, as well as its spices, which play a key role in exportation, and the Taarab music, a mixture of Arabic tunes and Swahili lyrics. To sum up, this island offers not only marvellous beaches and scuba-diving experiences, but also a lot of culture, history and art.

Not to forget the dark period of slavery, beside the Anglican cathedral Church of Christ and next to the place where the slave market took place, a memorial to victims of this trade was erected.

Spice tours are organized by every resort on the island, together with other land and sea excursions.

The southern area hosts the Jozani Forest, a lovely tropical forest, almost 2,500 hectares large, where there is still the vegetation that originally covered the island.

Pemba is 48 km far from Zanzibar and it is located in front of the city of Tanga. Here tourism is fairly moderate and the island provides amazing scuba-diving and enjoyable beaches.

Pemba’s capital city is Chake Chake. Just a curiosity: the island is home to an interesting endemic animal. It is called flying fox, but it is only one of the many species of bat.

The island of Mafia, together with Chole, Juani and Jibondo, belongs to an enchanting archipelago. The ocean ecosystem surrounding it is so varied that it was established as Marine Park in 1995. Available scuba-diving activities are the most incredible of Eastern Africa. Mafia’s capital city is Kilindoni, where an interesting Maulid– ceremony dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad’s birth – takes place during summer months.

Mafia is also inhabited by lemurs, otherwise present in Madagascar.