Mentioning of the word Zanzibar signify a place of tranquil, a scenery of natural beauty, an exotic feeling, and going back to history. Islands of Zanzibar (also called Unguja) and Pemba and surrounding islets that together form Zanzibar are certainly one of the most attractive spots in the world. With its rich history and crystalline sandy beaches, it is a major holiday destination. But what is Zanzibar?
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Zanzibar has a unique history and rich culture. For centuries, it has been a centre of trade and civilization for the whole of East and Central Africa. It has a long, troubled, but fascinating history.
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Zanzibar has a long demographic history. The issue of who was first to set foot on her soil is debatable. However, what is known today is that the natives include the three Shirazi groups of Wahadimu, Wapemba and Watumbatu. Other ethnic groups that inhabit Zanzibar today include Arabs, Asians (Indians & Pakistanis), Comorians, and people from the mainland of Tanzania who, to my opinion, is erroneously referred to as “Africans”. Being a cosmopolitan society, culture has been greatly influenced by Persian, Arabic, and African traditions.
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Spice Islands, as frequently referred, Zanzibar and Pemba Islands are the world major producer of cloves. Other spices and fruits of many kinds are always in abundance. Located just below the equator, the archipelago enjoys a cool tropical climate that favours the growth of many tropical species of flora and fauna. And being surrounded by the vast Indian Ocean, its marine resources is one of the richest in East Africa.
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Agriculture is still the backbone of Zanzibar’s economy but its share has recently been declining. Clove industry, which used to be the biggest foreign exchange earner has been hit with low prices on the world market and a number of agronomic factors that have resulted in low annual production. Currently, trade and tourism are the two emerging industries earmarked to replace the decaying clove industry.
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Unguja Island, also called Zanzibar, is the main island in the Zanzibar archipelago. It harbours the historical stone town and the seat of government. For a visitor, there is a lot to see and experience on Unguja island.
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Pemba Island, located north-east of Unguja island has been nicknamed as “the green island” due to its scenery and beauty. It is home to the Wapemba ethnic group.
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