Zanzibar is historic. Exquisite blue water surround each of these islands. Beautiful landscape is plenty. There are warm people everywhere. As a result, these islands will leave you feeling inspired.

“I was having a burnout,” says Dimo, a Russian tourist. “After a few days I already feel so much better!”

Tourists like Dimo know the value of a place like this. He says it was his wife who introduced him to the island several years ago. Today he comes on his own.

“Great country,” he smiles. “It has everything!”


Zanzibar Has A Long History

Researchers at Dar es Salaam University argue these islands are very old. They say excavations made at Kuumbi Cave prove their point. The research shows “heavy duty stone tools and an array of large fauna.”  Life as far back as 22,000 years ago is associated with those things. Zanzibar saw good and bad things in recent history. The inter-African, Muslim, and European slave trade was awful. Importing and exporting diverse Africans was normal. As a result, the islands are pretty diverse.

“Everyone is welcome in Zanzibar,” smiles Adore, an artist from Unguja. “I think anyone can settle here.”

Adore, who works as a model and fitness trainer, is a known local face. Consequently, folks stop him everywhere. There are greetings and small talk.

“We love each other,” says Adore, who lives in Stone Town, Zanzibar’s most treasured town. “We don’t care what ethnic background you come from. Everyone is a brother or sister.”

The majority of people here today are Bantus. While the ethnographers might think that, many locals think differently. Certainly I met people who identify as Arab, Hadimu, Khojas (Indian), Shirazi (Persian), or Tumbatu. In contrast, in the United States most would be considered Black.


Zanzibar In Tanzania

Zanzibar is part of Tanzania as a semi-autonomous region. It joined Tangayinka in 1964 to form Tanzania. “Tanzania” is a word made up of Tanganyika, Zanzibar, and Azania. “Azania” was the name for the region in the Roman times. As a result, Tanzanian citizens like Thomas Nguka can move freely in the islands, as it is part of their country.

For the reason that he works as a model I invited Thomas to Zanzibar.

“I’m very happy to be here,” says Thomas. “I think Zanzibar feels very different from the rest of Tanzania.”

Thomas is from Mwanza, near the famous Lake Victoria. Similarly to most in Tanzania he is Christian. In contrast, Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim. As a result, women here are draped in colorful clothes called kanga.

“They’re beautiful,” says Thomas.

Due to the fact that it is monsoon season it is raining heavily. As a result we are watching a group of young women make a run across the street. You can’t miss all of the diverse colors they wear. Similarly school children from several schools are present. Hence why these children wear different color uniforms. Consequently, I learn a bit more about the colors of the country. Most noteworthy, I’m not the only one.

“It is very colorful here,” Thomas says to me.

This is the first time Thomas is in Zanzibar and I, as a foreigner in his country, can see a glimpse of my own curiosity in him.

Therefore, it turns out, Zanzibar has something for everyone.

AJ Paris is a New York based photographer and the author of the coffee table book Men Around the World.

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