The word “Zanzibar” is derived from the old form “Zengbar” which initially meant the Eastern Coast of Africa. It probably comes from the Persian words “Zeng” meaning black and “Bar” meaning land or region. The Arabic version was Zinjibar. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of the United Republic of Tanzania in East Africa. It is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean which is comprised primarily of two main islands: Unguja (informally referred to as Zanzibar) and its sister island, Pemba, as well as about fifty smaller islets. The land area of the two main islands is approximately 2,332 square kilometers of which Unguja is 1,464 square kilometers. Zanzibar (Unguja) is mainly a low-lying island with its highest point at 120 meters above sea level.
The capital of Zanzibar, Zanzibar Town, is located on the island of Unguja. Its Historic Center is located about 35 kilometers off the coast of mainland Tanzania. Until 2002, Zanzibar had a population of about 981,754. On the Zanzibar Island of Unguja, the total population is about 620,957 and Pemba’s population is about 360,797. The population growth is about 2.7% – 3.1% annually. The current population is estimated to be more than 1,200,000. The most commonly practiced religion is Islam. 80% of Zanzibar’s population follow the laws of Islam whose history was influenced by the Arabs, Persians, Indians, Portuguese, British and the African mainland. The remainder of the population are a mix of Hindus and Christians.
A white sandy beach encircles the island which is full of palm trees. Long beaches are found on the east and north coasts of Zanzibar Island. Other nearby island countries and territories include Comoros and Mayotte to the south, Mauritius and Reunion to the far southeast, and the Seychelles islands about 1,500 km to the east.
Access to ZanzibarThe African Traits team can assist you in making your Zanzibar travel arrangements. Major airlines such as British Airways, KLM, South African Airways, and Emirates fly directly into Dar es Salaam. From there, we can arrange a connection for you with one of the domestic airline companies such as Precision Air which will take you on to Zanzibar Island. Zanzibar can also be very conveniently reached from Dar es Salaam via a short two-hour ferry ride which has regularly scheduled daily departures. You can also fly straight to Zanzibar from Kilimanjaro International airport with domestic airlines.