The exotic island of Zanzibar lies about 25 miles off the mainland of Tanzania. It is a place with a tumultuous history. At the end of the 17th century, Zanzibar fell under the control of the Sultan of Oman, who came to dominate much of the East African coast, as well as trading routes extending inland as far as the Congo. As a result, Zanzibar became East Africa’s main slave-trading port. Today its economy is based primarily on cloves.
The local people are from a mixture of ethnic backgrounds and speak Swahili. Zanzibar’s ancient capital, Stone Town, is extremely well-preserved and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The east coast of Zanzibar has some of the most glamorous beaches in the world, with powder-soft, dazzling white sand lapped by limpid turquoise water.