Overview for Zanzibar
Zanzibar is semi-autonomous archipelago paradise off the coast of Tanzania, consisting of Zanzibar Island (Unguja), Pemba Island, and many smaller islands. In 1896, Zanzibar was the location of the world's shortest war — they surrendered to the British Army after 38 minutes.
Zanzibar Island - a.k.a., The Spice Island - is approximately 90km long and 30km wide and an important stop in the Spice Trade centuries ago. Today, it is one of the few places in the world where saffron is produced, and many other Middle Eastern/Asian spices (cardamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, etc.) are grown here. For $10-$15 you can go on a spice tour, which winds you around the island, showing you how anise (licorice) grows; letting you sample some of the exotic fruit grown on the island; and allowing you to tour the beautiful plantations.
Best Time to Visit
Zanzibar is a island paradise 12 months of the year. However, give its predominantly Muslim, during Ramadan -- the month of fasting -- travelers should avoid eating and drinking during the daytime.
All visitors require a passport, valid for the duration of their stay. Visitors may obtain visas upon arriving at Zanzibar International Airport. Other points in Tanzania currently offering visa on entry are Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro International Airports, and Namanga on the road border between Tanzania and Kenya. Nationals of some countries do not require visas, so it is advisable to check with your nearest Tanzanian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate prior to visiting.
Zanzibar is largely a Muslim community. Although they are used to Western ways, you should try to be respectful. This means:
Women and men should make an effort to cover their legs and arms.
It is regarded as disrespectful to show public affection.
Be discreet when drinking alcohol.
During Ramadan -- the month of fasting -- travelers should avoid eating and drinking during the daytime. Also, be sure not to smoke in front of people, nor chew gum, and it is polite to avoid talking about the nice lunch you had.