10 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know About Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a well-known vacation spot, and is mostly known for its gorgeous beaches and beach resorts. However, there is so much more to experience and discover about this top destination. Read below about all that this unique place has to offer and book your next package holiday to Zanzibar.

1. Zanzibar is actually made up of two islands

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago off the coast of Tanzania and is comprised of two main islands and a few smaller ones. The larger island is Unguja, and a smaller one north of Unguja is known as Pemba Island. When one refers to Zanzibar, it is usually in reference to Unguja. The island is about 90 km long and 40 km wide.

2. Origin of the name Zanzibar

The name Zanzibar is derived from the Arabic language, which in turned was derived from a Persian word, and means “the coast of Black people”. Zanzibar’s location made it an ideal entrepot for Arabs, and was a big part of the slave route before slavery was abolished in the 19th century.

3. There is a heavy Arab influence

While Zanzibar was subject to many visitors and influencers such as the Persians, British, and Indians, the Arabs had the deepest impact. The local language, Swahili (known locally as Kiswahili), was born in Zanzibar and is a blend of mostly Arabic and tribal languages such as Bantu. The Arab influence is also heavily reflected in its bazaars as well as the historic sites and architecture of the island, which can clearly be seen in Stone Town. Islam also plays an important role in the culture and tradition of Zanzibar, as the majority of the population is Muslim.

4. Zanzibar is very diverse

Despite a heavy Arab influence, Zanzibar is very diverse and is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, making it a unique and interesting travel destination. This is heavily reflected in its cuisine, as you can find anything from chapati and Biryani, to mishkaki (Middle-Eastern style meat skewers), bokoboko, and Forodhani (Zanzibar pizza). Moreover, the Taarab, which is the local music style of Zanzibar, is a fusion of Swahili poetry, with musical beats from the Middle East, Africa, India, and the West.

5. The carvings on doors represent different things

Stone Town (which was named so because of the use of coral stone as construction material), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Zanzibar, and is known for its narrow alleys, bazaars, architecture and intricate door carvings. The carvings on the wooden doors are all subtly different, and all have a particular meaning and reason for their details. For instance, some reflect social status and positions, while others reflect ethnicity, and others contain Islamic words or verses from the Quran.

6. Zanzibar is known as Spice Island

Zanzibar is commonly referred to as Spice Island, as many exotic spices can be found there, such as clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and black pepper. Take a tour of spice plantations and learn about the history and cultivation of these crops, along with their culinary and medicinal purposes.

7.  The Anglo-Zanzibar war was the shortest in history

The shortest war ever recorded in history lasted about 40 minutes, and occurred between the Sultans of Zanzibar and the United Kingdom, on August 27th, 1896. Upon the Sultan’s sudden death, his cousin Khalid bin Barghash replaced him immediately without British approval, which caused a stir among the British diplomats in the area. Khalid refused to stand down despite warnings from the British, who then opened fire as Khalid escaped through a back exit, abandoning his army and servants to fight alone. The Sultan’s flag was quickly pulled down after that, ending the war.

8. The red colobus monkey is unique to Zanzibar

Zanzibar is home to the endemic red colobus monkey, which can be found in the Jozani Forest Reserve. An endangered species, the red colobus monkey is a popular attraction as it is one of the rarest primates on the continent, and was very close to extinction. Other interesting native species include certain types of butterflies, which the Butterfly Centre, focused on conserving the local forest, teach locals to farm in a sustainable manner.

9. The lead singer of Queen is Zanzibari

Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, the British rock band from the 1970s, was born in Zanzibar and his real name was Farouk (or Farrokh) Bulsara.

10. Zanzibar hosts two major international festivals

Zanzibar annually hosts the Zanzibar International Film Festival (also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries) in July, one of the largest cultural events in Africa. The event is dedicated to local and international films, art, and music in order to promote social and economic growth. Another major event is the Sauti za Busara music festival in February, which welcomes a rich and diverse variety of African music from the continent.

About the Author:

Mark works at Destiny Holidays and has travelled extensively throughout Africa, having written much about his experiences along the way. He is passionate about changing the misconceptions about the continent and it’s people, bringing awareness to conservation and eco-travel.

Tips For Bad Credit: Here Are Your Best Mobile Phone Options

Mobile phones have become part of our lives. We use them as cameras, alarms, televisions, computers, and much more. Nonetheless, it can be difficult to get one if you have bad credit.

When you are applying for a mobile phone arrangement, there are three possible results. Get an approval with no inquest, since you passed the credit check. Be asked to pay a deposit for the phone you want, which will be refunded after a specified period of time. And lastly, get declined because of bad credit history.

Every phone network keeps its own credit score procedure which, if you do not meet, you get declined. This is because accepting you puts them at risk of losing money. If your mobile phone contract has ever been declined because of bad credit, you still have options.

  1. Look at sim only plans.

The thought of purchasing a cheap phone for the short term or keeping your old phones is unpalatable. However, using a cheap or older phone for 3 months helps you rebuild your credit score, and convince network providers that you are able to make steady monthly payments. This provides you with a strong future platform that will give you the ability to own the best and latest smartphones as soon as they are available in the market. This is the best option if you have been rejected and do not want any more rejections in future.

If you want to completely avoid credit checks, you can go for no credit check sim only options or a pre-paid phone plan. The firms that offer this service do not execute any credit checks because you pay for the service in advance. The deals in these firms work on a monthly basis and you have the advantage of revoking at any time without extra costs. They are cheaper than traditional plans.

You can also go for pay-as-you-go plans which let you add more talk time or data when you need them.

The disadvantage of this plan is that; you cannot purchase a phone and pay for it in instalments like you would do with a regular plan as there is no commitment.

  1. Family plan

Most network providers give family cell phone options. Some networks allow as much as 10 sim cards on a single plan. However, in order to authorise service under this plan, only the holder of the main account must pass a credit check. The same account holder is the one responsible for paying the monthly bill. If you do not pay your own bill, he has to pay it, so do not you’re your payments.

The advantage of joining a family plan is that it allows you to get around credit checks and save money.

  1. A co- signer

If you have a co-signer with good credit, you can get a mobile phone plan with bad credit. Nonetheless, the account would be under the cosigner’s name. This acts as security for the service provider so that just in case you default in your bill payment, your co-signer will have to pay it.

The co-signer can, in the future, change the account name to yours. Many service providers will run your credit score if you do change the name, but you will not have to pay a deposit since the account is already opened. Remember that service providers are different, each one could have a contrasting way of executing this.

  1. Security deposit.

You can still get a cell phone plan with bad credit if you pay a security deposit. Most service providers will repay your deposit after a given period of time if your bill is paid on time. The amount of deposit you pay depends on your credit score. The deposits are mostly per sim card. You will pay multiple deposits if you have more than one phone under the same account.

If you have bad credit, the best mobile phone option would be a sim only plan. In a case where the upfront payment is too high, join a family plan and work to build your credit score as you share costs in the family plan. In time, you will be able to get your own plan.