Zanzibar Island is the most well-known of the islands, but the archipelago also consists of lush Pemba to the north and numerous smaller islands and islets poised in luxuriously turquoise seas. The beauty of this area has tempted travelers, traders and colonists for centuries, but there are still many areas on these islands that remain unexplored, pristine, untouched.
Zanzibar is famous for once being the commercial centre of East Africa and has been known as "the Spice Island" because of its many spice plantations and spice tours. It combines
ancient Islamic ruins and modern noble Arabic houses with miles of white sandy palm fringed beaches and coves. The ocean offers warm clear blue waters, excellent reefs for snorkeling and diving, fantastic deep sea fishing, water sports and delicious fresh fish.
The beauty of Zanzibar is magnified by the hospitality of its inhabitants. When traveling to Zanzibar today, visitors will first enter Stone Town, the main city on the island with a charm that attracts visitors to its historical sites, markets and beaches. It is a relaxing center in a tropical climate. Evidence of its Arabic culture roots are everywhere. This includes Arabic style architecture, mosques, Arabic language, clothing, and its general way of life. Most locals farm coconut, cloves and other spices that are its main cash crops for foreign exchange. Traveling to Zanzibar is highly rewarding, as visitors can go to spice plantations where cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, black pepper, lemon grass and many other spices grow.
Diving and snorkelling can be extrordinary in this part of the world. The seas around Zanzibar, Mafia, Chole Bay and the Pemba Channel are considered among the best waters for diving in the Indian Ocean. Chole Bay is part of a protected marine park, with an unbroken reef running the length of Mafia Island. The diving here is spectacular and includes colourful coral gardens, walls at various levels and many shelves and coral heads. The coral keeps many colourful fish, including hawksbill and sea turtles. Mafia is a perfect destination for divers seeking adventure and beauty, or for those who just want to relax in this most idyllic tropical setting.