Whether you stay on the mainland coast or head across the ocean to the island of Zanzibar, the Swahili coast offers so much! At either location teams can visit the beach and cruise around in the turquoise ocean. Or if you want to see what's underneath the surface, go snorkelling. If this all looks too much like hard work, then why not just kick back and relax in a hammock overlooking the beach.
Zanzibar is an island about 23 miles off the East African Coast. Its very name evokes romantic associations - smell of spices, images of narrow streets, Arab chests, carved doors, coral reefs. It is a tourist paradise, with tranquil, warm tropical waters, many miles of beautiful sandy beaches on the Indian Ocean.
On these shores passed explorers like Burton, Speke, Livingstone, and Vasco da Gama in 1502 en route to India. Zanzibar has a rich and ancient past, having been the center for travelers sailing from distant lands of the Middle East by dhows. Zanzibar was once the main trading center for the whole of East Africa. Due to the generally slower pace of life, its tranquility has survived. Zanzibar can be reached from Dar Es Salaam either by 30 minutes air flight or 1 1/4 hour hydrofoil or catamaran ride.
Stone town: The stone town is a unique architectural and cultural mix that has formed over a millenia of interaction between people from the East African mainland, Arabia, the Persian Gulf, India, China, Portugal and beyond. A guided tour may be organised to take you through the narrow twisting gullies into the market where you may catch the fish auction. In light of its historical significance and value, the United Nations has declared it as one of the World's Cultural Heritage sites. This has further sparked an architectural restoration effort after many years of neglect.
Slave market: Zanzibar was the hub of the slave trade in East Africa, until 1873 when it was abolished. On this site now stands a church.
Changu island: This small island used to be known as prison island, where slaves used to be kept pending transportation to other markets. Remains of underground slave chambers can still be seen. One of the main attractions today are the giant tortoise.
Marhubi ruins: This palace was built by Sultan Sayyid Bargash for his harem in the 1880's. It was however accidentally burnt down in 1899 and now stands as ruins.
Spice tour: This tour enables one to see, taste and smell various spices and fruit that are cultivated on the Island.
Also to see: Town Market, Tippu Tip House, Portuguese Fort, Dunga Palace, Kidichi Persian Bath, Mangapwani Caves, Kizimkazi Mosque, Mtoni Palace, Jozani Forest
This full day guided excursion begins at 9 am when you are picked up from your hotel and transferred by minibus to the fishing village of Fumba, 18 km away. Here you will be provided with a life jacket demonstration followed by a briefing on the days excursion. You will then board the dhows and set off in search of the dolphins (85% chances). The species frequently found at Menai bay are spinner and bottlenose dolphins. You will swim with dolphins if they stay close to the boat, but are unlikely to be able to touch the dolphins as they are of course wild animals.
You will then go on to one of the selected snorkeling locations. Here you will snorkel while accompanied by a snorkeling guide to show points of interest and to assist with beginners. Snorkeling equipment will be provided. You will then move on to another island or sand bank for lunch. Lunch is a traditional Zanzibar meal and typically includes a selection of barbecued fish, rice, lentils and fish curry. Chilled fresh fruit juice, mineral water and bottled soft drinks are available throughout the day. You will spend the remainder of the afternoon relaxing, swimming or snorkeling.
Return to Fumba by sail, if wind permits; setting off around 4pm, the journey takes approximately one hour. You will be transferred back to your hotel.
Please bring: Comfortable waterproof sandals, sun protection, bathing suits & towels.
Bad Weather Conditions: Visitors may get wet, delayed or the trip canceled at a short notice as your well being is our prime concern.
Prison & Bawe Islands: Dhow cruise & Snorkel - Full day (Open Bar with assorted drinks available)
The Dhow will cruise first to Prison Island to explore the island for one hour - photograph giant Tortoises which came across from Seychelles more than one hundred years ago and the Prison which was used as a hospital. This historical Island was formerly owned by an Arab and used for the confinement of refractory slaves. It was bought by General Mathews and the jail (gaol) which still stands was built in 1893 and hence the name "PRISON ISLAND".
Leave for Bawe Island where a powder soft beach awaits you. The crew will prepare a seafood BBQ for you while you snorkel the reef close to the island. Clown Fish, Parrot Fish, Moorish Idols and the occasional Lion Fish all dance to the music of the waves through their majestic ballroom made coral. After a lunch of fresh fish, crabs, cigal, prawns, salads and fruits of the season, there is time to relax on the beach and to swim and snorkel some more. Late afternoon as the sun starts to sink lower in the sky you will depart for seafront of Stone Town where your transportation awaits you. The Coral rag buildings are their most picturesque from the sea, as the fading sun throws shadows between the buildings and sets a pastel glow to its walls.
The Jozani Forest Reserve in Zanzibar is home to most of the world's remaining 2,000 Red Colobus Monkeys (National Geographic Vol.194 No.5). These monkeys once found all over the island, are now concentrated in the forest area. A half day tour consists of a walk into the forest and mangrove swamps where one may have a close encounter with these endangered species.
Bagamoyo was once one of the most important dhow ports along the East African coast and the terminus of the trade caravan route linking Lake Tanganyika with Indian Ocean. Unloaded here before being shipped to Zanzibar and elsewhere, were slaves, ivory, salt and copra. In 1868 Missionaries established freedom Village at Bagamoyo as a shelter for ransomed slaves and for the remainder of the century the town served as an important way station for missionaries traveling from Zanzibar to the country's interior.
Many European explorers, including Burton, Stanley and Livingstone began and ended their trips here. From 1887 to 1891, Bagamoyo was the capital of German East Africa and 1888 it was the site of the first major uprising against the colonial government. When the capital was transferred to Dar es Salaam in 1891, the town rapidly lost its significance and almost forgotten. Today, Bagamoyo is a sleepy place (recovering slowly due to tourism industry expansion) and many of its buildings are crumpling in ruins but with extra-ordinary attractive beaches.
The Roman Catholic Museum - North of Bagamoyo town, there is an interesting museum run by a Catholic church (mission). The museum has interesting displays on the history of Bagamoyo and a section of some of the European explorers. The museum curator maintains an amicable atmosphere by allowing good visitors register their names in the museum “friends' book” and give them cards with “friends' number” to be used in any future correspondence with the museum.
Admission is free but donation will be appreciated. On the same compound is the chapel where Livingstone's body was laid before being taken to Zanzibar town en route to Westminster Abbey. The Catholic mission is as old as the establishment of freedom village by France in 1868 and the oldest mission in Tanzania. Scattered around town are some carved doors and various disrepair buildings dating back from the German colonial era.
The Bagamoyo Art College - About half a kilometer south of Bagamoyo along the road to Dar es Salaam is "Chuo cha Sanaa" which translates to art College. This is a well-known theatre and arts college. There are performances of traditional dancing and drumming especially when the school is session.
The Kaole Ruins - which include the remains of an oldest mosque in East Africa dating from the 13th Century and gravestones estimated to date from the 15th Century, are situated about 5 km south of Bagamoyo along the beach. This mosque was built when Kaole was an important Arabic trading post, long before Bagamoyo had assumed any significance.
Hanging Place - This was a place used by the German colonial government to hang to death the Africans who refused to follow the colonial rules in the late eighteen century. During the German rule Bagamoyo was a capital city of Tanzania.
If you are interested in visiting Bagamoyo, please call us to arrange a tour.
Pangani town is famous for its excellent beaches to the north and those to the south around Ushongo. The infrastructures have been improved around the beaches in the north or south of the town. Maziwe Island, a small sand island and nature reserve is an ideal place for snorkeling although it can only be visited during low tide.
Pangani is a small Swahili town situated about 55 km south of Tanga near some beaches. It believed to be one of the many dhow ports along the coast. During the Shirazi era, occupation around Pangani gathered momentum and the Pangani River assumed an important role as a transport channel to the interior.
Pangani had become a terminus of the caravan route from Lake Tanganyika by late 19th century, and a major export pint for slaves and ivory. Sisal and copra plantations were established in the area while several European missions and exploratory journeys to the interior began from here. At the end of the 19 th century, focus had shifted to Tanga and Dar es Salaam and Pangani rapidly declined.
The most interesting area of town is within three blocks of the river, where one can see some carved doorways and buildings from the German colonial era. One of the main attractions is the Pangani River, which hosts diverse birdlife, as well as population of crocodiles and other animals.
If you are interested in visiting the island, please call us to arrange for a tour.
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