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Zanzi tar s This group of Indian Ocean islands is worth a visit at any time of year, finds Olivia Greenway


DESTINATIONS ZANZIBAR | WINTER SUN


z travelweekly.co.uk


anzibar is an Instagrammer’s dream: miles of sugar-sand beaches, turquoise waters and palm trees along the shoreline. It’s hot and humid, with long


hours of sunlight, making it a year-round destination. And being just a few degrees south of the Equator, sunsets are spectacular. Although Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, the 40 miles of sea that separate the island from the mainland make all the difference. Zanzibar’s history as a slave and spice trading centre drew in a mix of cultures and food – African, Arabian and Indian – resulting in Unesco World Heritage status for Stone Town on main island Unguja, which is both a tourist attraction and a magnet for the islands’ million inhabitants. Once known for low prices, the country is popular with backpackers, but since its first five-star hotel opened in 2015, ushering in a wave of upscale tourism, it has developed into a compelling, competitively priced destination that compares well with other Indian Ocean escapes.


WHAT TO SEE: SPICES AND SNORKELLING Top of the list is Stone Town. The compact, historic city gets its name from the limestone corals (or stones) from which its oldest buildings were made. A walking tour will take you through narrow car-free alleyways, past ornately carved doors, to the Old Fort and amphitheatre, and to the site of the slave market and Darajani produce market, where wet fish compete with heady spices to emit the more pungent aroma. Visitors can buy local henna paintings or visit a herbalist – his shop marked out by the animal skins hanging outside to ward away bad spirits – or eat from the barbecue food stalls at Forodhani Gardens near the harbour, which becomes a ²


5 SEPTEMBER 2019 77


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