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The ‘Spice Island' of Zanzibar lies about 35km off the east coast of Tanzania and is about 1500sq km in size. Zanzibar is a palm fringed cosmopolitan island with a mix of cultures and outstanding hospitality. More than 90% of the population are Muslim.

Possibly most people will know this island as the birthplace of Freddie Mercury from ‘Queen', but it is much, much more. The beautiful exotic island of Zanzibar has a laid back pace of life, and the old tradition of spice trading is still evident here today. A spice tour is a must and involves a walk in the western and central regions of the island through plantations, private gardens and forests. There are over 50 different spices and fruits produced here including cinnamon, pepper, ginger, coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and coconuts.

Most visitors, however, come to Zanzibar for the palm fringed fine sandy beaches and the warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean. There is good snorkelling and scuba diving, as well as deep sea fishing.

See the separate section on Zanzibar's capital, Stone Town

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Getting to Zanzibar:

Zanzibar has only a very small airport, and therefore few international airlines fly here, being restricted to the size of aircraft that they can use - Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. Most major airlines fly to Dar es Salaam International Airport on the mainland where you can pick up a connecting flight to Zanzibar.

The alternative way of reaching Zanzibar is by ferry from Dar es Salaam. All the ferry companies have their offices in the port area of Dar, although you might need to shop around. The big old ferries are the cheapest but take the longest. The most convenient option is one of the modern hydrofoils with their comfortable seats, videos and snack bars. However even these do take 1 ½ hours to get there - an important consideration, as the Zanzibar Channel is renowned for its seasickness inducing powers.

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