Tanzania is made of Tanganyika, the mainland, and Zanzibar, the island not too far off its Indian Ocean coast. Zanzibar is a combination of multiple small and two large islands, rich in history, culture and activities. Zanzibar roughly translates to “black coast” or “land of the blacks” in Persian, an insight into the history. Zanzibar was previously used as a base between the Middle East, Africa and India during the voyages. Consequently, when traders from around settled and formed a base for trade, Stone Town (Zanzibar City) was formed. This melange of cultures is thought to be the beginning of the Swahili culture and language, widely spoken across Tanzania and Eastern Africa.
From the first day, Zanzibar had a lot to offer, be is the various views of the ocean and clean beaches or how life seemed to slow down while exploring the island. When I visited I got the chance to stay in the north of Unguja island in a region called Ras Nungwi. Unguja was used as a base for defence, remnants such as a lighthouse and ruins are still present to date. Every point of the island had a story to tell, but having done my research prior to visiting Zanzibar, I was most excited about the “Spice Market”.
Most of the spices found in present-day Zanzibar were introduced during the 19th century by Omani sultans and other traders who frequented the island. I was lucky enough to go on the spice tour, which started at the farmlands outside Stone Town. Picking and smelling my way through the farmlands was intense. It was incredible to see how some of the spices I used to cook daily look before I buy them in the supermarket. Not only was I surrounded by a symphony of smells, but also eat freshly picked fruits and interact with the locals working and living around the farmlands. It was interesting how the locals had anecdotes for each of the spices grown.
Zanzibar is one of the largest exporters of cloves, which I was able to buy at the Spice Market. Full of life and activity, the Darajani market is a force to be reckoned with. Anything and everything is on sale. The hall crowded and chaotic seems to have some sort of organised rhythm to it. Filled with colour and aromas, I found myself in spice heaven! Buying multiple of my favourite spices in bulk. I found myself envying the locals who got to experience the market every day.
Although the Spice tour and market may not be the main attraction in Zanzibar, just like the rich flavours found it will spice up your stay in Zanzibar.