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10 amazing facts about Zanzibar

It’s common knowledge Zanzibar is East Africa’s number one beach destination for South Africans. But did you know...

1. Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the band Queen, was born in Zanzibar in 1946. His birth name was Farouk Bulsara.

Not a bad place to be born.

2. Zanzibar is not one island; it’s a group of islands just off the coast of East Africa. There are two large main islands, Pemba and Unguja – the latter is sometimes informally (and incorrectly) referred to as “Zanzibar”. 

One way to explore the archipelagos

3. The shortest war in history was waged in Zanzibar. The Anglo-Zanzibar War between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate took place on 27 August 1896. It lasted between 38 and 45 minutes before a ceasefire was called. 

Why fight when you can chill?

4. Zanzibar is a year-round destination temperature-wise with average daytime highs between 28C and 32C and night-time lows between 20C and 25C. February is the most humid month, while March to May are the wettest. 

Romantic beach dinners any night of the year at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa.

5. Zanzibar was the first country in Africa to introduce colour television – in 1973. 

Why watch colour TV when you can live in full colour at My Blue hotel

6. The capital of Zanzibar is not Stone Town, as some believe, it’s Zanzibar City. Stone Town is the historic town within Zanzibar City, famed for its labyrinth of narrow streets, historic buildings and ancient spice markets. 

Stone Town scenes

7. Zanzibar is a super affordable tropical island experience for rand-bearing South Africans, especially over the Easter holidays when there are an abundance of special offers. This year, The Holiday Factory has pulled out all the stops and is offering seven-night packages for four- and five- star Zanzibar resorts starting from as little as R13,600 pps, including return flights, airport taxes, return airport transfers and breakfast and dinner daily (limited availability - Ts and Cs apply). Check out the detailed offers for: Uroa Bay Beach Resort (four-star), My Blue (four-star), Gold Zanzibar (five-star), Sea Cliff Resort & Spa (five-star) and Karafuu Village Beach Resort (five-star).

My Blue hotel luxury for less

8. Zanzibar is popularly called The Spice Islands, due its main economic activity after tourism being spice exports – mainly cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper. 

Nutmeg doesn't get any fresher

9. Zanzibar is – or was – home to the Zanzibar Leopard. This beautiful wild cat is classed as “possibly extinct”, as none have been spotted in several years. According to local legend, several young Zanzibar Leopards were captured on mainland Tanzania and brought over the island as an exotic addition to the Sultan of Zanzibar’s palace. But as the leopards grew in size and ferocity, they were released into the Jozani Forest, where they bred. Sadly, they were hunted into (possible) extinction and the Jozani Forest is now best know for its rare Red Colobus Monkeys.

The Zanzibar Leopard - last spotted in a museum

10. With living reefs surrounding the islands, Zanzibar is a prime dive destination. The water temperature is warm, visibility is usually excellent, currents are weak and there’s an abundance of colourful fish, all of which contributes to an ideal location for first time and novice divers. Many of the larger resorts on the North and East coasts have professionally-run dive shops on-site. Qualified divers must produce their certification and a log book.

Zanzibar 20-foot down

Book your Easter holiday in Zanzibar!

Contact your nearest Sure Travel agent to book / enquire about The Holiday Factory’s Easter special offers, or call 0861 47 48 49. Limited availability and Ts and Cs apply. Hurry, these deals will be snapped up fast…

Need more reasons? Check out why these South African celebrities love The Spice Islands.

Boity Thulo, loving Zanzibar

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