The Zanzibar Archipelago
The Zanzibar Archipelago consists of several islands lying off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean. There are four main islands, three primary islands with human populations, a fourth coral island that serves as an essential breeding ground for seabirds, plus a number of smaller islets that surround them and an isolated tiny islet.
Most of the archipelago belongs to the Zanzibar semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, while Mafia Island and its associated islets fall under the suzerainty of the Pwani Region on the mainland
People of Zanzibar
The people of Zanzibar are of diverse ethnic origins. The first permanent residents of Zanzibar seem to have been the ancestors of the Bantu Hadimu and Tumbatu, who began arriving from the African Great Lakes mainland around AD 1000. They belonged to various mainland ethnic groups and on Zanzibar, lived in small villages, and did not coalesce to form larger political units.
Zanzibar is today inhabited mostly by ethnic Swahili, a Bantu population. There are also a number of Arabs as well as some Indians.
The heat of summer (corresponding to the Northern Hemisphere winter) is often cooled by strong sea breezes associated with the northeast monsoon (known as Kaskazi in Kiswahili), particularly on the north and east coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm year round. The rainfall regime is split into two main seasons, a primary maximum in March, April, and May in association with the Southwest monsoon (known locally as Kusini in Kiswahili), and a secondary maximum in November and December. The months in between receive less rain, with a minimum in July.
Visas for Zanzibar
Currently, travellers with British or US passports require visas for Tanzania – and Zanzibar is simply an area of Tanzania; there are now no separate requirements for the island.