Zanzibar is a legendary archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 35 km off the coast of mainland Tanzania. It is six degrees south of the Equator. Moreover, is Zanzibar comprising the islands of Unguja and Pemba, along with some smaller isles. But, it is one of Africa’s most enticing destinations and exotic laid-back paradise. Zanzibar has miles and miles of white sandy beaches with turquoise warm waters.
Generally, the climate in Zanzibar is warm all year round. Yet, the heat of summer (November to March) is often cooled by strong sea breezes. As a result is this time of the year the time of the northeast monsoon, particularly on the north and east coasts. Rains occur in November usually with brief showers. Longer rains occur from March to May in association with the southwest monsoon.
Unguja is the largest and most populated island of the archipelago. It is often referred to as Zanzibar, hilly, about 85 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide.
The area is about 1,666 sqm and separated from the Tanzania mainland by the Zanzibar Channel. It is home to the only international Airport in the Archipelago, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. Surrounded by some small islands, with only two of them having inhabitants. Hence is Unguja the heart of the Archipelago.
Unguja is also home to the capital Stone Town. Here, you feel here the fascinating and turbulent history. Moreover, it is a labyrinth of narrow twisting streets. A must-visit is the bustling bazaars, The Old Fort, Sultan Palace, or House of Wonders. UNESCO declared Stone Town in 2000 to a World Heritage Site. Moreover, they used the words – “it is an outstanding material manifestation of cultural fusion and harmonization”.
Pemba Island, known as “The Green Island”, is an island forming part of the Zanzibar Archipelago. It lies within the Swahili Coast in the Indian Ocean. With a land area of 988 sqm, it is about 50 kilometers to the north of Unguja. However, it has only a small domestic airport, from where you reach the mainland and Zanzibar. Most of the island is hillier and more fertile than Unguja and dominated by small-scale farming. There is also large-scale farming of cash crops such as cloves.
On the whole, Pemba is quite the opposite of Unguja as it is still very remote, pristine, with few tourists and a handful full small hotels. Above all, it is very well known for diving and deep-sea fishing.
Mnemba Island is a small island located about 3 km off the northeast coast of Unguja. The beach opposite of it on the Unguja side is called Muyuni Beach. The surrounding reef is a Marine Conservation area. Mnemba Island is a popular scuba diving site, with a wide variety of corals and associated species. Furthermore occasional sightings of larger species such as turtles and dolphins. Calm conditions are most frequent in November and March, with the best visibility. However, as Mnemba is a private island, non-guests are not permitted to land on the island. A 200-meter exclusion zone is surrounding the island within non-guests are not permitted.