Surrounded by the vast waters of the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar Island is very magnificent with unique vegetation types and the beautiful sand beaches. Many Arab traders initially inhabited Zanzibar Island during the early days of massive trading’s around the islands and the coasts of mainland Tanzania. Zanzibar Island today has a number of Arabs and Muslims since most of them did not go back to their home countries. There are a number of events that happen on the island characterized with lots of celebrations, acts of generosity even to strangers, making new friends, and lots of passion thus attracting a number of tourists attention. They mainly include;
Idul Or Eid Al Fitr Day
This is a celebration held at the end of the holy month of Ramathan. The holy month is usually finished fasting by the staunch Muslim believers and the end of the fast is highly dependent on the lunar calendar. Once the Idul day is announced, many celebrate, prepare lots of traditional local cuisines; visit their close friends and relatives, dancing to sweet melodies and many other colorful events.
The New Year Celebrations – Mwaka Kongwa
This is usually celebrated at the end of July in seven villages around the island. Celebrating the New Year in July originated from Persia and it’s highly dependent on the Shirazi calendar. During these celebrations, various rituals are made around symbolic fires featuring fights between strong men as women dressed in a traditional way keep singing traditional songs of love. Of all the places where this festival takes, the south east coast offers the best entertainments and experiences. Therefore all tourists interested in this great New Year celebration should just pass by.
Sauti Za Busara Festival
Sauti Za Busara is a Swahili word meaning sound of wisdom and the festival is held around mid February featuring local Zanzibar music, dance and drama performances. These spectacular musical exhibitions show cases a variety of music dance and drama of the local people mainly passing on messages of events that happened in the past, some present events and the expected future events. This is one of the great ways of reviving the great cultures of local zanzibaries and can be very entertaining to tourists. Sauti Za Busara music festivals usually take place in the stone town.
The Zanzibar Film Festival
This is a great celebration of unique arts and cultures of the local people in the dhow countries (gulf states of Iran, Pakistan, India, Zanzibar itself, Pemba and all the surrounding islands in the Indian ocean that were involved in slave trade). This event brings together different people from the above-mentioned countries celebrating music, art, crafts and various drama performances on both competitive and non-competitive levels. The film festival features video productions, film and documentaries competing for the gold and silver dhow awards and its one activity that a tourist to Zanzibar should not miss out!
Leading tourism sites
The Stone Town
This is Zanzibar’s major tourist town with a number of tourist attractions for example the historical Arab trading sites, the palace museum, former slave trade markets, forts, Livingstone’s house and many others.
The stone town has some of the oldest buildings on the islands that were constructed using both African and Arab architectural designs.
Zanzibar has a good climatic condition that favors the growth of various cash crops that include cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom. These are grown extensively on large farms and can be visited by a number of tourists interested in learning about plantation farming. Other major crops grown on the Zanzibar Island include maize, coconuts, cassava and yams.
The major two fishing villages include Kizimkazi and Nungwi fishing village. Kizimkazi fishing village is located in the southern part of Zanzibar with several dolphins, mosques (12th century model) and ancient tombs. Nungwi fishing village is located on the northern part of the island with spectacular beaches and fresh waters favorable for swimming. Tourists to Nungwi cab participate in various activities like swimming, snorkeling, diving sailing and cruises.