Zanzibar is an archipelago of two large gorgeous islands, and several islets, that belong to the African country of Tanzanian. Best known for its stunning white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, Zanzibar has an exotic charm that will fascinate all who visit. Its main island of Unguja is home to Stone Town, an area within the capital of Zanzibar City that is full of historic buildings that date back to the eighteenth century and has mazes of enchanting streets that host intriguing bazaars. Stone Town is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Centre for its retention of original culture and townscape.
Here are five interesting facts about Zanzibar that will inspire you to visit the beautiful island.
1. Zanzibar is the Spice Hub of Africa
Often referred to as the “Spice Island” of Africa, Zanzibar’s main industry, next to tourism, is spices. The island produces spices such as nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, and cardamom. These spices were originally brought to Zanzibar by Portuguese traders who settled on the island during the sixteenth century. Walking tours of spice plantations are available and make for the perfect aromatic experience.
2. Their Egg Yolks Look a Little Different
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself a bit surprised by the colour of egg yolks in Zanzibar- they look just like egg whites! Although their egg yolks are completely white, they taste just the same as sunny yellow egg yolks. Zanzibar’s egg yolks are white due to the kind of grain that their chickens feed on, which is called sorghum and is less pigmented than the yellow maize typically fed to chickens in other areas of the world, therefore they produce monochrome eggs.
3. Zanzibar Has Two Rainy Seasons
Unlike most destinations that only have one rainy season, Zanzibar actually has two. The island’s long rainy season occurs between March and May, and consists of some intense rainfalls, prior to the blazing East African summer that begins in May. Zanzibar’s second rainy season occurs in November and December, but is much less intense than its first one and usually only sees short bursts of rainfall throughout the day. With that being said, it’s best to avoid a trip to Zanzibar during its first rainy season, as it could interfere with your beach time.
4. There is Only One Forest
Zanzibar is home to one forest, Jozani Forest, which also happens to be the island’s only national park. This forest is home to some pretty interesting creatures that include the endangered red colobus monkeys and the nocturnal Zanzibar tree hyrax, which is a small furry mammal that resembles a rabbit. Jozani Forest is very small, at only 50 kilometres square, but is well worth the visit for its tranquillity and mesmerizing tall trees.
5. It’s Home to the House of Wonders
The House of Wonders is one of Stone Town’s most recognizable landmarks and was originally a palace for Barghash bin Said, the ruler of Zanzibar between 1870 and 1888. It is the largest and tallest building in Stone Town, but more importantly, it was the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity, and the first building in East Africa to have an elevator.