Strict Standards: Declaration of KHttpUri::set() should be compatible with KObject::set($property, $value = NULL) in /www/htdocs/w006b358/libraries/koowa/http/uri.php on line 454

Strict Standards: Declaration of KHttpUri::get() should be compatible with KObject::get($property = NULL, $default = NULL) in /www/htdocs/w006b358/libraries/koowa/http/uri.php on line 454

Strict Standards: Non-static method JLoader::register() should not be called statically in /www/htdocs/w006b358/libraries/joomla/cache/cache.php on line 19

Strict Standards: Declaration of JCacheStorage::get() should be compatible with JObject::get($property, $default = NULL) in /www/htdocs/w006b358/libraries/joomla/cache/storage.php on line 173

Strict Standards: Non-static method JLoader::register() should not be called statically in /www/htdocs/w006b358/libraries/joomla/document/document.php on line 19

Strict Standards: Declaration of ComNinjaHelperDefault::__call() should be compatible with KObject::__call($method, array $arguments) in /www/htdocs/w006b358/administrator/components/com_ninja/helpers/default.php on line 19

Strict Standards: Non-static method JLoader::import() should not be called statically in /www/htdocs/w006b358/libraries/loader.php on line 186
All Content - Striving To Protect Wildlife and Encourage Responsible Tourism Practices Fri, 12 Aug 2022 12:23:58 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Zanzibar Issues Ultimatum Over Pollution

TANZANIA: Zanzibar issues ultimatum over pollution

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


STONE TOWN, ZANZIBAR, 11 Dec 2006 (IRIN) - In a bid to control pollution of beaches and the Indian Ocean, authorities in Tanzania's semi-autonomous Island of Zanzibar issued an ultimatum on Monday to hotel owners and other investors to install sewage-treatment facilities on their premises or risk being barred from operating.

Environmentalists in Zanzibar have on several occasions alerted the government to the increasing pollution of the ocean, which they said poses a major threat to fish and people, especially children and tourists who swim in the water.

Zanzibar's Minister for Water, Energy and Lands, Mansour Yussuf Himid, said from 11 December the government would no longer issue a business licence to a prospective investor who did not install water-treatment facilities.

"As for those [investors] already in business, they are required within the next two years to stop polluting the environment," he said.

The director of the ministry's environment department said Himid's directive was timely as his office had been complaining about environmental pollution.

"Fortunately, the laws and policies have existed since 1996 but the problem has been implementation of the laws," Ali Juma said.

Juma said the majority of tourist hotels and some private homes had been built close to the beaches and "liquid wastes and some solid wastes are directly deposited into the ocean without treatment".

In October, environmentalists said one of the main pollution threats was the piping of untreated sewage from urban areas into the ocean, particularly around the capital, where only 60 of the estimated 200 tonnes of solid waste produced daily were accounted for.

"Although we have not witnessed deaths from the direct effects of the pollution to fish and people using the ocean, pollution is a threat and we must protect the environment," Hamza Rijali, an environmentalist, said.

Zanzibar has about 250 tourist hotels, most without an incinerator or sewage treatment plant. Some of the hotels are close to the beaches, contrary to a law that requires building construction to be at least 30 metres away from the beach.

According to the new regulations, a hotel operator running a business without an incinerator or other necessary facilities would be subjected to a fine of not less than US$2,000 or six-month imprisonment or both.

However, a tourist operator, who requested anonymity, said the construction of an incinerator and waste treatment was too expensive. "I believe it is up to the government to construct such facilities."

News Sun, 14 Jan 2007 18:47:00 +0000
Chumbe Island

Chumbe Island


Accommodation on Chumbe Island is - in many aspects - something really special. It's what Robinson Crusoe could only have dreamt about!

The beautiful eco-lodge on Chumbe Island - ZanzibarFirstly, the bungalows themselves are so brilliantly designed that they provide both privacy and a sense of freedom of living in the open (see "Eco-bungalows" for more information). Many of our clients find these bungalows exceptionally romantic (honeymooners love them), but any individual with a passion for natural beauty will find these bungalows captivating beyond measure. All bungalows overlook the sea and it takes just 30 seconds to stroll from the comforts of your bungalow hammock to feeling the warm tropical ocean lapping at your feet. All bungalows are equipped with double or twin beds in the sleeping area under the palmthatched roof, self-contained bathrooms with hot & cold shower, large living rooms, equipped with handmade furniture and decorated with African art and colourful fabrics... (and very comfortable hammocks).

Since there are only seven bungalows, the island never gets crowded, even when we are fully booked.

Eco-lodge on Chumbe-Island - ZanzibarThat - secondly - makes sure that our team find the time to give you all the service and attention that you deserve on your peaceful and relaxing holiday away from traffic, phones, TV, faxes, loud music...

Thirdly our prices include everything except alcoholic drinks. All the food, soft drinks, snacks, park fees, park ranger services like forest walks, guided snorkeling on the reef (with all equipment provided), scheduled boat transfers back and forth to the island, etc... everything is included. And, if you're not quite sure about your snorkeling skills: our experienced rangers provide excellent tuition.

Last, but not least, dining takes place under the impressive roof of our visitor's centre, which overlooks the sea between Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania. Our chefs provide an abundant supply of mouth-watering dishes that are a mixture of Zanzibarian, Arabic, Indian and African tastes and satisfy both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.


One of the beautiful Eco-Bungalows on Chumbe Island - Zanzibar, TanzaniaBeing a Marine Protected Area (MPA) the focal aim of the Chumbe Island Coral Park Project is to preserve Chumbe Island's exceptional environment. Therefore we have built accommodation based on the state-of-the-art of eco-architecture and eco-technology. So - What is so special about these Eco-bungalows?

As there is no ground water source in the rocky substrate of the island, each bungalow collects its own freshwater supply from rainwater (captured from the specially designed expanse of roof) during the rainy season. This rainwater passes through a complex filtration system and is stored in spacious underground cisterns (under each living room). The water is then hand-pumped (by either Ali, Juma or Yussuf on the Chumbe Team) through a solar-powered heating system into hot & cold-water containers for the shower and hand basin in the bathroom.

The used water from showers and basins is filtered through particulate filters, ending in specially sealed plant beds so that no polluted water will seep into the Reef Sanctuary. These beds are planted with species that are demanding in water and nutrients, and therefore easily absorb any remaining nitrates and phosphates.

To deal with sewage we have also installed composting toilets. These eco-toilets prevent sewage (from septic tanks) seeping through the porous ground into the Reef Sanctuary, (as this would lead to pollution of the fragile reef ecosystem, encourage algae growth and finally kill coral communities and organisms depending on them). Instead, human waste is quickly decomposed to natural fertilizer when mixed with compost (aerobic composting) in the compost chamber. To ensure the experience for the client is the same as with any regular toilet, specialized designs have been implemented with wind powered vent pipes and gradient storage so that it feels no different to using a regular toilet; except that composting toilets need no flush water at all, thus they also effectively economize on water.

Lights are powered by photovoltaic panels on the roof that provide ample environmentally friendly 12V energy for normal usage.

The open design of the bungalows, with minimal barriers to the open air, allows for maximum through-draft for cooling of the bungalows; a form of natural air-conditioning. To enhance this louvres are in place that can be lowered or closed depending on the desired temperature.


Other features of operations on Chumbe that ensure minimal disturbance to the environment include:

  • Organic soaps produced by a local women's co-operative in Zanzibar are provided for guests. In the process of purchasing supplies, non-organic products are avoided (i.e., plastic bags) and any unavoidable non-organic waste produced by the island is removed and incinerated in a specialised incinerator constructed by the project on the main island Unguja.
  • Drinking water is provided by advanced filters (made in Switzerland) located on the island. These effectively clean readily available tap water from Unguja, avoiding the need for mineral water in plastic bottles (which are still available for purchase, but are not readily encouraged, as plastic bottles are a problematic environmental hazard recently introduced into Zanzibar).
  • The walkways, nature trails and beach areas are not artificially illuminated at night. This protects feeding and breeding patters of nocturnal animals, and also helps preserve and view one of the most stunning attractions of Chumbe Island: the rare giant Coconut Crabs (Birgus latro). Instead, individual solar powered torches are provided for all guests that recharge each day for use each night.

These are some of the features that make Chumbe Island the globally recognized leading example of true ecotourism to be found anywhere in the World.

Chumbe Island has been awarded:

Independent Environmental Award from the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA)

*** WORLD WINNER 2001***
Ecotourism Destination Award of the Condenast Traveler Magazine,

*** GLOBAL 500 LAUREATE 2000 ***
Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Selected to represent Tanzania at the EXPO2000 World Exhibition, Hannover, Germany,

*** GLOBAL WINNER 1999 ***
British Airways TOURISM FOR TOMORROW Award

*** FINALIST ***
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2001 and 2004

Award presented at the EXPO2000, Hannover Germany, where Chumbe was selected to represent Tanzania

Harpers Abroad November 2003 supplement, Harpers & Queen


Lots of activities are waiting for you on and around Chumbe Island. (Make sure you bring enough time with you!)

The whole of Chumbe Island is a nature reserve and you may explore its beauties either under the competent guidance of our park rangers or at your leisure.

Snorkel through our unique shallow water Reef Sanctuary or explore the Forest Reserve and historical monuments. Take an excursion out SCUBA diving the nearby reefs, or perhaps just allow yourself a lazy day watching dhows and outrigger boats go by ....

Reef Sanctuaries

Amazing diving experience at the Reef Sanctuary on Chumbe Island, ZanzibarSince the park was gazetted, having been recognised for its immense beauty and bio-diversity, there has been almost no fishing or un-authorised anchoring in the Chumbe Reef Sanctuary. The reef remains in a pristine state (which nowadays is sadly rare in the world).

The reef crest, encompassing a spectacular array of hard corals, is shallow (between 1-3m according to tides). Therefore snorkelers can see all those wonders of the underwater world normally only accessible to divers. If you swim up to the reef ridge the view opens up a world of breathtaking sights. Shoals of barracuda taking advantage of the abundant prey living on the reef glide by and if you are lucky you may get a chance to see the playful dolphins cruising in and out of the abyss. Each snorkeling excursion provides new discoveries for guests and with each visit you are unlikely to be disappointed!

With negligiblefishing intrusion for so many years, the marine wildlife has become very unconcerned about those few humans moving around. The diversity of fishes is unbelievable and their tameness very natural. To watch out for:

  • batfishes who have developed the habit of following snorkelers at close range all along the reef (out of curiosity?).
  • our resident hawksbill turtles regularly spotted feeding on the reef. If you imitate the slow flapping movements of her front flippers with your arms while keeping your legs still, she may allow you to accompany her for a long time without showing signs of disturbance.
  • lobsters peeping out from under corals, trying to investigate your presence with their long white feelers.
  • large bluespotted stingrays, apparently believing they are invisible when hiding under a thin layer of sand.
  • Oscar, the 1m potato grouper living in one of the caves, about 5m deep. He is too old to trust humans, so be patient if you'd like to spot him.
  • large, colourful parrotfish wandering about the reef and nibbling on the algae covering the corals with a very audible scratching sound.
  • many more fishes, nearly than 400 species in total; groupers, angelfish, butterfly fish, triggerfish, boxfish, sweetlips, unicornfish, trumpetfish, lionfish, moorish idols ... to name but a few.

All of these sites can be seen by snorkelling through this pristine shallow coral refuge and although SCUBA diving within the Chumbe reef sanctuary is not permitted (except for research and filming activities), it is still possible to enjoy diving on the nearby reefs. See the SCUBA diving section below.

Scuba Diving

Are you interested in diving the beautiful coral reefs off Zanzibar?

For qualified divers (PADI Open Water at least) we can arrange dive excursions from Chumbe Island to visit neighbouring reefs.
The excursion consists of two dives with the lead dive operator in Zanzibar (One Ocean Divers), on reefs off the west coast of Zanzibar, exact location weather dependent.
Departure time from Chumbe Island is 8am, and you will be picked up by One Ocean Divers at Mbweni Ruins. You will return to Chumbe Island around 4pm.
The excursion also includes all transfers, all your dive gear as well as lunch. 

Cost: US$125 per person, all inclusive.
If you would like to join a dive excursion, please let the island management know the day before. A minimum of two people is required.

Nature Trails

Enjoy the Nature Trails on Chumbe Island - ZanzibarWhen the tide is very low it's possible to walk all the way around the island, exploring the rock pools where juvenile fish and a myriad of crabs, shellfish, starfish, oysters and other invertebrates exist in the ever-changing environment of the intertidal. At spring tides, upon reaching the north point of the island, take the time to bask on the exposed sandbar providing over a km of pristine beach (but don't forget to turn back before the tide changes and the sandbar is absorbed back into the ocean). At the south point discover the amazing variety of starfish and explore the small islets where you may be fortunate enough to find Roseate Terns nesting and Fish Eagles battling for territory.

Discover the footpath leading down into a large intertidal pool overgrown with mangroves and shaded by huge baobab trees, where the seawater rises and falls with the tides and where you may observe many creatures adapted to these conditions.

Forest Reserves

A network of nature trails crisscross the southern part of the virgin coral rag forest that covers about 90% of Chumbe.

The bedrock of the island is made up of an impressive substrate of fossilized coral. You can still see the skeletal structures of corals and giant clams - a gentle reminder of the passage of time. More staggering still is the coral-rag forest. You would be forgiven for thinking it a rainforest at first, before closer inspection reveals that on Chumbe a highly specialised plant community has developed that survives without any groundwater. Instead some of these remarkably adapted trees depend on capturing moisture from the humidity in the air while others are able to store away months' supply of water during the rainy season. You will notice leaves that are either fleshy and waxy, or fold up during the heat of the day to reduce transpiration, and spiky euphorbia thrusts forth wherever it can get a stronghold. The dense canopy keeps the scorching sun out of the forest where aerial roots tangle and compete to form the incredibly dense matrix of this special forest habitat. To watch out for:

  • the birds hiding in the thicket. Our bird list consists of 64 species including the Mangrove and Pied Kingfishers, Fish Eagle and Peregrine Falcon.
  • the hermit crabs that busy about searching for new shells to adopt as their homes. Notice the early morning mosaic of trails across the sand where they have been exploring the beach while you sleep.
  • the exceptionally shy Ader’s Duikers (Cephalophus adersi), the rarest antelope in the world. Under threat of extinction in its endemic Zanzibar, where less than 500 individuals remain; CHICOP, in collaboration with the Zanzibar Forestry Department, undertook the translocation as part of a program to protect this species, making Chumbe home to the only Ader’s duiker sanctuary.
  • observe the rare giant Coconut Crabs (Birgus latro). They can reach up to 45 cm in diameter!! These magnificent invertebrates roam about at night and are able to climb palm trees to reach their sought-after coconuts.
  • identify the best examples of petrified stone corals and giant clams that are 15,000 years old, in the rocky lunar landscape on the eastern side of the island where salt sprays from the sea prevent vegetation.

Historical Monuments

You can also climb the 131 steps to the top of the Chumbe Lighthouse, built in 1904 by the Sultan of Zanzibar and the British. From the top you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the turquoise seas between Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, still plied by dhows unchanged for a thousand years. For early risers, reaching the top of the lighthouse at sunrise is a spectacular way to start the day, as the sun appears over the land mass of Zanzibar (Unguja) island, turning the ocean a deep orange and flecking the scenery with spectacular hues. With the arrival of morning the breeze picks up as if on cue, to billow the sails of the flotilla of dhows departing from their village moorings to set sail for the working day.

The lighthouse was fitted with a gas light in 1926 which still works today and this historic monument has featured in the annals of historic manuscripts (one infamous story being the wartime encounter between the battleships 'Koenigsberg' and 'Pegasus' on the 20th September 1914 ....)

After a day of exploration and discovery, dine under the huge palm thatched roof stretching over the ruins of the historical lighthouse keeper's house converted into a visitors' centre. This spectacular structure has kept the enclosed ruins intact, and offers tranquil views across the ocean. Next door nestles the beautifully elaborate small mosque, built for the lighthouse keepers nearly 100 years ago. The mosque is one of the only Indian-style mosques in Zanzibar, and it is still in use today by the team on the island.

Contact Details:

Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd.

P.O.Box 3203, Zanzibar/Tanzania
Tel & Fax +255-(0)24-2231040, Fax (UK) +44-(0)870-1341284
Project Manager: +255-(0)777-413582

General information:  

Bookings & enquiries:  or  


Accommodations Tue, 31 Oct 2006 14:33:00 +0000
Matemwe Bungalows

Matemwe Bungalows

Matemwe Bungalows is located on the East Coast of the magnificent Zanzibar island - right opposite Mnemba Atoll. Matemwe has 12 luxury suite rooms perched on a coral rock, surrounded by the best beaches of Zanzibar. A relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff, 2 intimate swimming pools , lush tropical gardens, massages, cocktails and a fantastic cuisine serving fresh seafood make Matemwe the ultimate tropical paradise. Enjoy unforgettable views of the Indian Ocean whilst relaxing at the pool, having a massage or whilst sipping a cocktail from the comfortable couches and hammocks on your private verandah.

Luxurious suite rooms at Matemwe Bungalows on magnificent Zanzibar Island

The proximity to the Mnemba atoll means that Matemwe is ideally located for scuba diving and snorkeling. Dives and diving courses are on offer and Matemwe’s wooden dhows take its guest for snorkeling or for a fish barbecue on one of the deserted beaches close by.

Matemwe Bungalows has invested a significant part of its profit in the neighboring fishermen village Kigomani for the past 16 years. In the course of these 16 years, Matemwe Bungalows has had a great contribution to sponsoring education, the construction of the local school and library, scholarships for students as well as infrastructural projects (water and electricity supply, road access).

Contact Details

Asilia Lodges & Camps
P.O. Box 2657
Arusha – Tanzania
Telephone: + 255 (0)27 250 4118
or + 255 (0) 784 763 338

Accommodations Wed, 12 Jul 2006 10:23:00 +0000
Zanzibar A Tour of the Famous Zanzibar Island

A tour of the famous Zanzibar Island


The Standard
Published on 31/12/2009
By Gilbert Wandera


For those wishing to get away from the hassle and bustle of the Nairobi traffic, Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar are the places to visit.

Friendly people, sandy beaches, good communication and transport systems are just some of the things that make them a must visit. I

made a short visit to the two separated by the Indian Ocean early last month as part of the entourage for the Fifa World Cup Trophy tour sponsored by Coca-Cola.

The one-hour flight aboard Precision Air was one of the first pleasant parts of the trip.

The airline partly owned by Kenya Airways is efficient to the dot and arrives at the Julius Nyerere International Airport right on schedule.

After a smooth check out of the airport, our first stop is the Move and Pick Hotel, a five-star facility in up-market Dar-es-Saalam.

The hotel is an imposing red brick facility and one is soon hit with a welcoming aura as you get in through the revolving doors.

Helpful porters are at hand to usher you and your luggage into your room as soon as you are checked in. The rooms are marvelous with a view of the Indian Ocean not far off. They are fitted with air conditioners to help you cope with the humidity in the Coastal town.

A huge bed decked in fine linen is a tempting welcome after a long journey. The rooms are fitted with LCD television sets and for sports lovers there are all the Super Sport channels for your enjoyment.

For the busy executive who has to be in touch with their office, there is Internet in the room at an affordable cost. The hotel has several restaurants that serve both continental and other types of menus.

Those too tired to go to the restaurant can order room service.

A huge swimming pool is also available for those wishing to keep cool and relaxed.

After a couple of days in Dar-es Salaam, we headed to Zanzibar, a 15-minute flight away. The first thing that hits you as you disembark at the Zanzibar International Airport is the intense humidity.

Forodhani Park

Even when it has rained, the heat can still be unbearable. Considering the huge number of airplanes on the tarmac, it is easy to conclude that many tourists love to visit this beautiful coast.

Various air charter companies ferry tourists to Zanzibar in all manner of aircraft from the smallest that carry just four people to the largest accommodating more than 50 passengers. Zanzibar has many tourist attractions but one of the most famous sites is Forodhani Park. Situated just 10-minutes drive from the airport, the park recently upgraded by the Aga Khan Cultural Foundation at close to Sh210 million, borders the Indian Ocean. It offers a spectacular view of the blue waters with several vessels anchored. The breeze at the sandy beaches is a welcome relief from the tormenting heat. The whole of Zanzibar seems to congregate at Forodhani and this has been a venue for cultural and other events carried out in this Indian Ocean island.

According to Mr Ali Mirza who works with the Zanzibar Tourism Foundation, they have succeeded in marketing the country as a destination for sun, sand and sea.

He said tourism now contributes 10 per cent to the country’s economy following an aggressive marketing campaign undertaken by the company.

"The largest number of tourists comes from Italy due to the fact that we are near Malindi. We also have a lot of tourists visiting from Germany and England. We are also currently looking to attract tourists from the Far East and Russia," he said.

According to Mirza, the foundation is also working on how to attract other Africans to visit Zanzibar. He said they attend many promotions and tourism fairs _in different world capitals and that this has worked to attract many tourists. He admitted that this year’s _economic crisis also affected their tourism industry but aggressive marketing has reversed the situation.

Houses of wonders

"Tourism is an important part of our economy and employs 10,500 people directly and another 45,000 indirectly. We are looking to attract more than 500,000 tourists next year," he revealed.

Situated next to Forodhani Park are ‘two houses of wonders’. These were official residences of the Kings of Zanzibar. They are thought to be oldest buildings in East Africa, built more than 150 years ago. Serena Group is one of the international hotel chains with hotels in the island. Though tiny compared to its other hotels in the region, the Serena Zanzibar Hotel is a popular destination with foreign tourists frequenting it.

The Fairmont Zanzibar Luxury Hotel is another of the more famous hotels here on the North East Coast of Zanzibar, located along a stretch of white sand beach. On offer here includes a wide range of water sports from scuba diving to snorkeling and fishing.

The Fairmont Group also manages several hotels in Kenya among them the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Mt Kenya Safari Club at the foot of Mt Kenya and the Fairmont Mara Safari Club in the Masai Mara.

Article at:

General information Wed, 06 Jan 2010 22:05:43 +0000
Zanzibar Island

Zanzibar Island

Zanzibar is the collective name for two islands in Tanzania: Unguja and Pemba. The capital of Zanzibar, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City. The city's old quarter, known as Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site. Although Zanzibar enjoys a high degree of autonomy, it is not a sovereign state: it remains part of Tanzania. The population of Zanzibar was 981,754 in the 2002 census, and its area is 1,651 km² (637 mi²).


Photo by Kai Keller

Photo by Kai Keller

Zanzibar's main industries are spices (which include cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper), raffia, and tourism. Zanzibar is also the home of the endemic Zanzibar Red Colobus.

The word "Zanzibar" probably derives from the Persian Zangi-bar ("coast of the blacks"). However, the name could also have been derived from the Arabic Zayn Z'al Barr ("fair is this land"). "Zanzibar" often refers especially to Unguja Island and is sometimes referred to as the "Spice Islands," though this term is more commonly associated with the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Pemba Island is the only island apart of Zanzibar that still produces cloves on a major basis which is the primary source of spice income for the islands.


The first permanent residents of Zanzibar seem to have been the ancestors of the Hadimu and Tumbatu, who began arriving from the East African mainland around AD 1000. They had belonged to various mainland ethnic groups, and on Zanzibar they lived in small villages and did not coalesce to form larger political units. Because they lacked central organization, they were easily subjugated by outsiders.

Ancient pottery demonstrates existing trade routes with Zanzibar as far back as the ancient Assyrians. Traders from Arabia, the Persian Gulf region of modern-day Iran (especially Shiraz), and west India probably visited Zanzibar as early as the 1st century. They used the monsoon winds to sail across the Indian Ocean and landed at the sheltered harbor located on the site of present-day Zanzibar Town. Although the islands had few resources of interest to the traders, they offered a good point from which to make contact with the towns of the East African coast.

Traders from the Persian Gulf region began to settle in small numbers on Zanzibar in the late 11th or 12th century; they intermarried with the indigenous Africans and eventually a hereditary ruler (known as the Mwenyi Mkuu or Jumbe), emerged among the Hadimu. A similar ruler, called the Sheha, was set up among the Tumbatu. Neither ruler had much power, but they helped solidify the ethnic identity of their respective peoples.

Da Gama's visit in 1499 marks the beginning of European influence. The Portuguese established control over the island in 1503. In August 1505 it became part of the Portuguese Empire when captain John (João) Homere of de Almeida's fleet captured the island and claimed it for Portugal. It was to remain a possession of Portugal until 1698.

In 1698, Zanzibar became part of the overseas holdings of Oman, falling under the control of the Sultan of Oman.

Sayyid Said bin Sultan al-Busaid moved his capital from Muscat in Oman to Stone Town in 1840. After his death in 1856, his sons struggled over the succession. On April 6, 1861, Zanzibar and Oman were divided into two separate principalities. Sayyid Majid bin Said Al-Busaid (1834/5–1870), his sixth son, became the Sultan of Zanzibar, while his brother, the third son Sayyid Thuwaini bin Said al-Said became the Sultan of Oman.

During this period, the Sultan of Zanzibar also controlled a substantial portion of the east African coast, known as Zanj, including Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, and trading routes extended much further into Africa, such as to Kindu on the Congo river. In November 1886, a German-British border commission established the Zanj as a ten-nautical mile (19 km) wide strip along the coast from Cape Delgado (now in Mozambique) to Kipini (now in Kenya) including all offshore islands and several towns in what is now Somalia. However, from 1887 to 1892, all of these mainland possessions were subsequently lost to the colonial powers of Britain, Germany, and Italy although some were not formally sold or ceded until the 20th century (Mogadishu to Italy in 1905 and Mombasa to Kenya in 1963).

The British Empire gradually took over, and Zanzibar and the British position was formalized by the 1890 Helgoland-Zanzibar Treaty, in which Germany pledged not to interfere with British interests in insular Zanzibar. Zanzibar became a protectorate of the United Kingdom that year. The British appointed first Viziers from 1890 to 1913, and then British Residents from 1913 to 1963.

On August 27, 1896, the Anglo-Zanzibar War broke out over the succession of Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini and ended with the accession of British client Sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed. It was the shortest war in history; Zanzibar surrendered after 45 minutes [1]. Acquiescing to British demands, Hamoud brought an end to Zanzibar's role as a centre for the eastern slave trade that had begun under Omani rule in 17th Century by banning slavery and freeing the slaves of Zanzibar with compensation in 1897.

On December 10, 1963, Zanzibar received its independence from the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy under the Sultan. This state of affairs was short-lived, as the Sultan was overthrown on January 12, 1964, and on April 26 of that year Zanzibar merged with the mainland state of Tanganyika to form Tanzania, a part of which it remains to this day.

Slave and ivory trade

From the earliest days of trade on the East African coast, slaves had been taken for export overseas. For many centuries the slaves were captured by neighbouring inland tribes and taken to the coast for sale to Persian traders. It was the Nyamwezi people who dominated the interior side of this slave trade, opening up caravan routes from their lands in West Tanzania to the coast and subjugating native Bantu tribes over a wide area.

On the trek to the coast, slaves were made to carry other trade goods from the interior, most notably ivory, with which the Nyamwesi would barter for knives, cloth, cotton and foodstuffs.

Over the years the slave and ivory trades were to become the main sources of income to the merchants of Mombasa and Zanzibar. The ivory was the softest and largest in the world (some tusks requiring four men to lift them) and much in demand as far away as China, whilst the demand for slaves came mainly from India. But it was during the 18th century that the slave trade really boomed, as new demand was generated on the plantations of Mauritius and Réunion. By 1750 over 3000 slaves were passing through the markets of Zanzibar alone.

As the demand grew, so did the competition between Arab traders, who started venturing into the interior themselves in search of ever more slaves and it wasn't long before regular caravan routes and inland stations were established. These stations and their networks of native trade were held in allegiance to the Sultan of the city from which the caravans originated and soon enough the Sultan of Zanzibar had started to build up a considerable sphere of influence on the African mainland.

By the 1770's the caravans had reached Lake Nyasa and established a station at Ujiji and by 1800 over 8000 slaves passed annually through the Zanzibar market. By then Sultan Majid bin Said had taken control in Zanzibar and he soon made the move that would guarantee his dominance of the trade with the interior. By encouraging Indian businessmen, or 'banya's' or 'bania's', to move to Zanzibar he not only ensured the availability of adequate financial backing for the caravans, but also the skilled workforce to carry out the administration and book-keeping on his behalf. The improved financing enabled caravans to offer better trade goods to the tribes of the interior, most notably guns, by which means their loyalty could be relied upon. By 1860 there were 6000 banya's in Zanzibar.

Now the Arabs could organise massive caravans. Up to 1000 men would be assembled at Zanzibar, paid an advance on their wages and put aboard ship for the mainland. The column then marched inland along the established routes, headed by an Arab merchant, mounted on a horse and resplendent in his turban, white robes and silver daggers. Caravans would disappear 'up country' for months, travelling between stations, trading with local tribes and collecting great stores of slaves and ivory. The dirty work of actually catching slaves and hunting elephant could be carried out remotely. By making alliances with tribes such as the Nyamwesi and arming them with guns to ensure their superiority, the goods were brought to them.

Terrible stories abound of the treatment of slaves by the Arabs. They were tied together with chains and yokes around their necks and loaded with great tusks to be whipped along the trails back to the coast. If they were too weak to continue, they would be left for dead. If a woman had a child, then she would carry it on her back as well as her load and if she tired, the child would be pulled off her back and killed. The caravan routes were said to be lined with the corpses of those that fell. On board ship for Zanzibar the slaves were packed so tightly below decks that some would suffocate. If disease broke out, the sick would be thrown overboard. They were fed a handful of rice each day and many starved. On reaching port the Arabs had to pay import duty, so any slaves who looked like they might not survive were also thrown overboard.

On reaching the slave market, the slaves were cleaned up and prepared for sale, wiped with oil and dressed. Owners would then parade them around the market, announcing their price and buyers would inspect their muscles, eyes and teeth for imperfection. Once sold, many of the slaves would again find themselves thrown into the hold of a ship, this time bound for Arabia, India or China.

By 1820, at a time when the west coast slave trade was being closed down by European powers, the trade in Zanzibar was still growing. The Nyamwesi had pushed even further west, into the kingdoms of Katanga, Lunda, and Kazembe in modern Zambia and Zaire.

The most famous of the Zanzibar traders was Tippu Tib, a respected Swahili and close confidante of Sultan Majid bin Said. It was he who was largely responsible for the extension of the Sultan's sphere of influence. Whilst the Sultan managed affairs in Zanzibar, ensuring its security and defending Arab interests from especially British interference, Tippu Tib created a vast empire. Ultimately Said's African dominions covered a staggering two million square kilometres and it was famously said that "when the flute plays in Zanzibar, the whole of Africa dances". Many of the native tribes that had been in league with the Arabs for centuries were by now well-armed and Said considered his hold on the continent and the trade to be impregnable.

Following the death of Said, Tippu continued to work the interior on behalf of his successors. Increasingly though he seems to have been working more for his own personal interests than those of the Sultan. He built himself an empire around the upper Congo, with headquarters at Stanley Falls, where he ruled like a great chief and when American explorer Henry Morton Stanley was attempting his crossing of the continent, it was with Tippu that he had to negotiate his passage.

Stanley was working on behalf of King Leopold II of Belgium and had been sent to ask Tippu to cede the area of the upper Congo to Leopold's Congo Free State and to cease from slave trading in return for the position of governor and a salary of £30 per month. Allegedly, Tippu was insulted by the offer and concerned about the increasing influence of the Europeans on the mainland, fearful of the future of his slave trade. When he went to Barghash (Said's son) for consultation, he was told to do the deal, take the salary, but to carry on with his business as usual. Despite this alleged European concern for slavery, Leopold managed to run the 'Belgian Congo' as a slave camp, resulting in the attentions of anti-slavery campaigner Roger Casement.

Political status

Although Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, it elects its own president who is head of government for matters internal to the island. Amani Abeid Karume was re-elected to that office on October 30, 2005 under criticism from opposition candidate Seif Shariff Hamad [2]. Earlier, the fairness of his election on October 2000 was queried, and in January 2001 at least 27 protestors were killed by the police.

Zanzibar also has its own House of Representatives (with 50 seats, directly elected by universal suffrage to serve five-year terms) to make laws especially for it.

The Island of Zanzibar comprises of three administrative regions Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North and Zanzibar Urban/West. On the Island of Pemba are the two regions Pemba North and Pemba South.

Sultans of Zanzibar

   1. Majid bin Said (1856–1870)
   2. Barghash bin Said (1870–1888)
   3. Khalifah bin Said (1888–1890)
   4. Ali bin Said (1890–1893)
   5. Hamad bin Thuwaini (1893–1896)
   6. Khalid bin Barghash (1896)
   7. Hamud bin Muhammed (1896–1902)
   8. Ali bin Hamud (1902–1911) (abdicated)
   9. Khalifa bin Harub (1911–1960)
  10. Abdullah bin Khalifa (1960–1963)
  11. Jamshid bin Abdullah (1963–1964)


   1. Sir Lloyd William Matthews, (1890 to 1901)
   2. A.S. Rogers, (1901 to 1906)
   3. Arthue Raikes, (1906 to 1908)
   4. Francis Barton, (1906 to 1913)

British residents

   1. Francis Pearce, (1913 to 1922)
   2. John Sinclair, (1922 to 1923)
   3. Alfred Hollis, (1923 to 1929)
   4. Richard Rankine, (1929 to 1937)
   5. John Hall, (1937 to 1940)
   6. Henry Pilling, (1940 to 1946)
   7. Vincent Glenday, 1946 to 1951)
   8. John Sinclair, (1952 to 1954)
   9. Henry Potter, (1954 to 1959)
  10. Arthur Mooring, (1959 to 1963)


Zanzibar's history was influenced by the British, Persians, Arabs, Indians, Portuguese and the African mainland. Stone Town is a place of winding lanes, circular towers, carved wooden doors, raised terraces and beautiful mosques. Important architectural features are the Livingstone house, the Guliani Bridge, and the House of Wonders, a palace constructed by Sultan Barghash in 1883. The town of Kidichi features the Hammam Persian Baths, built by immigrants from Shiraz, Iran during the reign of Sultan Barghash bin Said.


Pemba Island is the leading world clove producer. It also exports spices and fine raffia.


  • Zanzibar was the first region in Africa to introduce colour television, in 1973. The current tv-station is called TvZ. The first television service in mainland Tanzania was not introduced until some twenty years later.
  • Gonzo the Great, the famous Muppet, frequently mentions "going to Zanzibar to fight the Zanzibarbarians!" in more recent appearances, especially Muppet Treasure Island. Zanzibar residents do not normally call themselves "Zanzibarbarians".
  • The musician Farrokh Bulsara (a.k.a Freddie Mercury) of Queen was born in Unguja, Zanzibar on September 5, 1946 to Indian parents who were employed by the British colonial administration. There is also a restaurant named 'Mercurys' on the beachfront of Stone Town. In September 2006, a radical Islamic group on the archipelago, Uamsho, forced organizers to abandon plans to mark his 60th birthday, saying he violated Islam with his openly gay lifestyle.
  • Zanzibar criminalized gay and lesbian sex in 2004.


  • Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar, Emily Ruete, 1888. (Many reprints). Author (1844-1924) was born Princess Salme of Zanzibar and Oman and was a daughter of Sayyid Said.
  • Banani: the Transition from Slavery to Freedom in Zanzibar and Pemba, H. S. Newman, (London, 1898)
  • Travels in the Coastlands of British East Africa, W. W. A. FitzGerald, (London, 1898)
  • Zanzibar in Contemporary Times, R. N. Lyne, (London, 1905)
  • Pemba: The Spice Island of Zanzibar, J. E. E. Craster, (London, 1913)


Districts Sun, 24 Dec 2006 17:22:00 +0000