Zanzibar is still the best-kept secret in the Indian Ocean, with its fascinating historical Stone Town and magnificent beaches.
Zanzibar, a part of the United Republic of Tanzania, is a series of many islands, the main ones being Unguja and Pemba. The more populated of the two main islands, Unguja, is better known as Zanzibar Island and is home to Stone Town (also known as Zanzibar Town or Zanzibar City), an historic, bustling city of narrow alleyways and stone coral buildings. In addition to the two main islands, there are many other islands and islets in the Zanzibar archipelago which stretches from the top of Pemba to the south point of Unguja.
Unguja is in the Indian Ocean about 40 km east of Bagamoyo on the Tanzanian mainland. The slightly hilly island itself is about 85 km long and between 20 – 30 km wide at its widest points. Most of the population lives in the more fertile regions of the north and west. The eastern part of the island is arid and covered in coral rag (rock made of coral)making it unattractive for farming, but the beaches and the reefs on the eastern coasts make them ideal for fishing villages, tourist guesthouses, and resorts.
Pemba, located about 50 Kms north of Unguja, is far less populated. Known also by its Arabic name, Al Khundra meaning Green Island, Pemba is covered in steep hills full of palms, clove and rubber trees, rice paddies and the Ngezi Forest in the north. There are many pure, beautiful beaches in and around the numerous inlets and coves. Tourism is not as developed on Pemba as it is on Unguja but resorts are being built and the infrastructure will undoubtedly improve as tourism increases.
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