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Zanzibar Main

December 5, 2006
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When the famed missionary explorer Dr. David Livingstone was preparing for his final trip into the heart of Africa, he lived in Zanzibar — and as you walk through Stone Town, with its labyrinthine alleys, bazaars, and venerable Arab houses, you have the feeling little has changed in more than a century.

Zanzibar, known locally as Unguja, is only about 50 miles long, and you could see this legendary “Spice Island” at a blur in just a day. But you’d miss much of Zanzibar itself: the fishing villages, like Ras Nungwi at the northern tip, where generations of boatbuilders have hand-crafted dhows to sail these waters … the spice plantations whose clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg created vast wealth for the Sultans of Oman … the ruins of the sultan’s once-lavish palaces … the Jozani Forest, a preserve for the rare red colobus monkey … and the miles upon miles of uncrowded, white-sand beaches along the East Coast, where only a handful of resorts have risen amid quiet villages and impromptu soccer matches on the sand in the late afternoon are the highlight of the day.

In short, Zanzibar is a place to explore on slow time, to tour by bicycle, to get familiar with the sounds of Swahili and the long, colorful history of East Africa.

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