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East Africa's Swahili Culture

Zanzibar Island is famous as one of the Indian Ocean ‘Spice Islands’ and has been inhabited by humans for well over 2000 years. 

The first inhabitants of the island were probably Bantu speaking Africans.  By the 1st century, Arabic trading routes were well established, and by the 10th century, Shirazis from Persia had arrived. 

Zanzibar grew in importance and became a powerful city-state, its most famous import being spices such as cloves.  Today, the inhabitants of the island as a mix of Bantu, Arabic and Persian people.  Zanzibar gained independence from the British in 1963 and merged with Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

Swahili Men
Zanzibar Carved Door

Enjoy wandering through the narrow streets of Zanzibar's Stone Town, absorbing the sights and sounds of Stone Town. 

Here you will experience the exotic and fascinating culture, architecture and lifestyles of the local Zanzibaris living in the well known UNESCO World Heritage listed Stone Town. 

Zanzibaris carve doors with elaborate designs reflecting the island's rich Arabic heritage - the oldest is said to date back to 1694.

The lifestyle of local Pembans & Mafians is relaxed and unlike Zanzibar Island, their culture remains largely undiscovered.  Pemba island is renowned for its peoples’ knowledge of traditional healing methods, attracting many local people from the mainland. Dhow set sail

Find out more... Zanzibar & Pemba

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