Location and Size
The two Islands are located in the Indian Ocean about 35km off the coast of mainland Tanzania at longitude 39 degrees East and latitude 6 degrees South of Equator. Pemba is about 40 miles long and 14 miles wide. It has a surface area of 608 square miles (2,332 square kilometers). It is located about 36 miles from the continent and 29 miles north-east of Unguja Island. Unguja Island is 50 miles long and 24 miles wide. It has a surface area of 995 square miles. It is separated from the continent by a 21 mile corridor at its narrowest point. Its highest point is 390 feet above sea level.
Zanzibar experiences warm tropical climate, with high temperatures and humidity all the year. The average temperature is 27 ºC. This mainly caused by ocean breezes during daytime and the continental wind in the night, it makes the condition more comfortable. February is the warmest while August is the coolest. There are two rainfall seasons, the heaviest in March to June and lesser rains is in September to November. Tourists are advised to note heavy rain season to avoid inconveniences.
In 2012 Zanzibar had a population of 1,303,569 in which the male population is accounted to 630,677 while female have a lion share of 672,892 with an increasing rate of 3 per cent per annum.
The majority of Zanzibar residents practice the Islamic faith which reflect also their life style and culture. Mosques are sacred places and usually no entry by non Muslims. During the holy month of Ramadhan Muslims are fasting from dawn to sun set and you may find difficult to find food during the day hours. However some specified restaurants are allowed to serve the tourists. There are also Christian churches and Hindu temples which offer regular services on Sunday and on special occasions.
Hospitality & Culture
Zanzibar cultures became more diverse in its range, more unique in its expression. Zanzibar is the birthplace of Swahili, a lingua franca forged from global dialects, upon which legends were carried, trade routes opened and a Sultan’s empire prospered. It is here that the Africa Culture blended with other cultures mainly Persian, Arabic and Indian to forms Swahili Culture. Today the romance, the splendor and legends of the past are still vibrantly alive, traditional sailing dhows, carved wooden and doors, chests, the scent of the clove and the smile of the hospitable people welcomes you to Zanzibar.
As you stroll through Stone Town , you will find several shops selling wood carvings, Zanzibari chests, clothes, spices, jewellery, paintings and antiques. Most of the gift shops are situated along Kenyatta Road in Shangani, and Gizenga Street behind the Old Fort. Tourists are advised not to buy any products related to protected species on the islands, such as sea shells and turtles. A holiday to Zanzibar would be incomplete without visiting these souvenir shops.