“Earth, sea and sky, all seemed wrapped in a soft and sensuous repose”, wrote Burton, as he looked for the first time at the ‘mysterious island'. “As we drew nearer and vision became more distinct, we found as many questions for the pilot as did Vasco da Gama of old. Those prim plantations, which from the offing resembled Italian avenues of oranges, the tea gardens of China, the vines of romantic Province, the coffee plantations of Brazil, or the orange yards of Paraguay, were the celebrated clove grounds. We distinctly felt a heavy spicy perfume, as if passing before the shop of an Egyptian ‘attar' and the sensorium was not the less pleasantly affected, after a hard diet of briny North East Trade”.
Zanzibar has a long and interesting history, and at one time a sad one. It dates back to the early centuries as documented in the “Periplus of the Erythraean Sea” written by an Alexandria Greek and the “Geography” of Ptolemy. At some stage Zanzibar was the largest terminal for slave trade on the east coast. Nearly 50,000 slaves drawn from as far away as Lake Tanganyika passed through its market every year. Whatever the case, Zanzibar's history has evoked romantic notions far beyond its shores; it has occupied a prominent place in the history of Eastern Africa. It was said that anything done on the island had an influence on the Mainland; hence the famous saying: “when one pipes in Zanzibar, they dance on the Lakes”
Make Zanzibar your first destination and a big surprise will be in wait for you. A number of interesting places are worth visiting: The Old Stone Town with its narrow winding streets, the Arab Fort, the House of Wonder, the Anglican Church, Maruhubi Palace, the beautiful deserted beach and Chumbe Island Coral Park are some of the attractions found in this Cosmopolitan Island.