What can we do if we discovered something that is so incredibly beautiful that on the one hand we would like to tell everyone, but on the other hand would like to keep it as a secret?
Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, French Polynesia are islands that everyone connects with paradisiacal images. But Zanzibar ...? No idea? No idea? That's how we were.
Actually, we really do not want to reveal anything. Maybe just so much - a few facts that you can read everywhere anyway.
Zanzibar is today part of Tanzania (although semi-autonomous with its own government and its own president), but was actually once the seat of government of the sultanate Oman 4000 km away. Unbelievable, is not it? A while ago, but it was the most prosperous and politically dominant period in island history, the "Golden Age". Nothing remained of that. Today, 50% of the population lives below the poverty line and the average annual income is $ 250.
One of the causes of the flourishing economy in the 17./18. Century was the successful cultivation and export of many spices, which brought the island the description "where the pepper grows". Even today, spices such as cloves, pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and many others play a major role and are on the many markets of the island (the most famous is the Darajani in Stone Town) up close with all the senses to admire.
Zanzibar had another dominant role in ivory trade and - very staggering - in the slave trade. Until 1873 African prisoners from West and Central Africa were auctioned here. A memorial in Stone Town recalls this painful part of history. The insights into the cage-like dungeons let one shudder.
Maybe something about geography, before we really break off?
Actually, Zanzibar consists of several islands, the two largest are Unguja (formerly also called Zanzibar) and Pemba. The mainland of Tanzania is just 25 to 50 km, so Zanzibar can be reached both by ferry and by small plane. From north to south the island measures 100 km, from east to west it is only 40 km. Only the main connections are paved, the remaining roads are gravel roads or unpaved and are rather irregular repaired.
Just a little bit more about the capital Zanzibar City. Then it's really over.
The best known is the imposing old town called Stone Town, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its architecture still reflects the synthesis of Arabic, Indian and Black African influences; she is just as multicultural as her inhabitants. Mosques, churches and Hindu temples, African markets, colonial buildings and British trading houses, an Omani fort and an incredible number of intricately carved wooden doors complement each other and make up the peaceful coexistence of the Swahili culture of Zanzibar. Today, many of the winding streets and tall townhouses of the old stone town are unchanged and visitors can see the Palace of the Sultan (Beit-el-Sahel), the House of Wonders (Beit-el-Ajaib), the Old Fortress (Ngome Kongwe), the gardens, the stately homes of the merchants and the Turkish baths.
The most famous son of Stone Town is the rock star Freddie Mercury, who was born on 5 September 1946 under the name Farrokh Bulsara in a native of India Parsische family.
Yes, that was really all - we want to keep our secret. Or have we just heard a promise to keep the secret and not continue to tell? Then we want to give free rein to our enthusiasm ....
We have already experienced and enjoyed many beautiful beaches in the world - see list in the introduction. But what we saw on Zanzibar is in the top of our ranking. It is no coincidence that the beaches around the island are chosen more and more often as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Strolling along one of these beaches and feeling the magic of this unknown beauty opens the heart, calms the senses, slows down the mind. Of course we were told that it was actually rainy season. But what do make a few short, warm rains, if you have otherwise miles of beach sections almost to themselves and get these very special clear colors offered, which project after a rain together with sometimes two synchronous rainbows in the air.
Of course, it makes a difference to travel north in the more densely populated sections of the beach around Nungwi, where tourism has gained a foothold, but there is less ebb and flow than the east coast. But the endless beaches to the east - whether Matemwe, Bwejuu or one of the many others - even at low tide, the opportunity to breathtaking walks on the beach, you will never forget. Our personal highlight was also a sailing trip with the Hobie Cat off the coast of Dongwe. While gliding through the turquoise waters in a light breeze, you pass paradisiacal stretches of coast where the white sand merges into a dense palm forest. The few hotels are built so flat that they almost completely disappear into it.
And then, above all, we are the visitors who are required to deal with this beautiful patch of earth in a conscious and careful manner. So please do not chase in masses any insider tip and than leave this paradise littered and human-socially devastated.
So that's why - please do not tell anyone. Promised?
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