The word “Zanzibar” is derived from the old form “Zengbar” which initially meant the Eastern Coast of Africa. It is probably a Persian word “Zeng” means black and “Bar” means land or region. The Arab version was Zinjibar.
Zanzibar is a Semi-autonomous part of the United Republic of Tanzania in East Africa. It is the Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, which comprises two main islands of 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 metres above sea level.
A white sandy beach encircles the island which is full of palm trees. Long beaches are found at the East and North Coast of Zanzibar Island. Other nearby island Countries and territories include Comoros and Mayotte to the South, Mauritius and Reunion to the far South East, and Seychelles islands about 1,500 kilometers to the East.
According to 2012 census, Zanzibar has a population of about 1,303,569. In Unguja Island, the total population is 896,721 and Pemba 406,848. The population growth is about 2.8%.
The most commonly practised religion is Islam. The majority of Zanzibar residents follow Islamic religion. Its history was influenced by the Arabs, Persians, Indians, Portuguese, British and The African mainlanders. The remainder are a mix of Hindus and Christians.
Zanzibar’s local people are an incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds, indicative of her colourful history. Zanzibaris speak Swahili (English is also widely spoken), a language which is spoken extensively in East Africa. Many believe that the standard form is largely spoken in Zanzibar as it is the birth place of the standard Swahili. Zanzibar is a few degrees south of the Equator and enjoys a tropical climate that is largely dominated by the Indian Ocean monsoon.
December – March is generally hot and dry.
April – Mid of June is wet because of the long rains.
July – August is dry and breezy with little rainfall.
October – November is when the short rains appear.
There are several ways to reach Zanzibar. Among them: one can arrive Dar es Salaam-Tanzania with KLM, British Airways, Emirates, South African Airways, Swiss Air or Kenya Airways then connect with a domestic flight to Zanzibar. Zanzibar can also be very conveniently reached from Dar es Salaam with daily sea ferry schedules taking only two hours traveling time. Alternatively airlines such as Precision Air, Zan Air, and Coastal Air have daily scheduled flights to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam taking only 20 minutes flying time. It is also possible to take a direct flight from Nairobi (Kenya) or Doha (Qatar) to Zanzibar.