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Zanzibar is one of those magical travel names and a visit to the "Spice Island" is an invitation to step back in time. Stonetown, a world heritage site, dates from the 19th century slave boom and is a fascinating maze of narrow streets and buildings with ornate brass studded doors and beautifully carved frames just waiting to be discovered.

The name Zanzibar is thought to be derived from a combination of two Arabic words;"Zinj" meaning black and "barr" meaning land. It is considered to be the birthplace of Swahili and was long an important destination on old trading routes. In its hey-day it attracted the Portuguese, Chinese, Arabs and especially the Omanis. The Sultan of Oman even moved his court here and cargo-laden dhows sailed with the trade winds carrying ivory, slaves and cloves to distant lands before returning with silk and other treasures. The great explorers – Burton, Speke, Livingstone and Krapf began their expeditions into Africa's interior from these shores.

Not only is the island steeped in history, it is blessed with a sultry climate and a multitude of idyllic beaches. The warm and clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean and the fringing coral reefs are excellent for snorkeling, diving and a host of other water sport activities. A visit to a spice plantation is worthwhile as is a trip to see the endangered red Colobus monkeys at the Jozani Forest Reserve.

This truly exotic destination, with an amazing selection of wonderful hotels and resorts, is the perfect place to relax after a safari or a location for your next corporate conference or meeting.

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