Zanzibar is not very big but hundreds of thousands of tourists travel here each year for the atmosphere and culture. A combination of African and Arabian culture, the name Zanzibar is thought to have come from either zini el barr, an Arab term meaning "land of the black people" or zayn zal barr, a Persian phrase meaning "fair is the island".Zanzibar consists of two major islands, Pemba and Unguja. Unguja is a sleepy undisturbed island with friendly locals and less development on the western portion of the island. Pemba Island is located north of Unguja and has become very popular with scuba divers because of the lush coral gardens.
Zanzibar has many beaches and small villages to be discovered.
Chumbe Island is uninhabited with an exceptional coral reef. To preserve the coral reef, the Chumbe Island Coral Park began in 1994. The reef has a diverse ecosystem in an area that was heavily over fished.The 200 species of coral can be seen from glass-bottomed boats or by snorkeling at the reef ridge. Over 400 species of fish, groups of dolphins or barracudas have been seen in the surrounding waters of Chumbe Island Coral Park. The rare Robber or Coconut Crab, the largest land crab on earth, is common on Chumbe Island even though it is threatened elsewhere in the Indian Ocean.Several historical points on Chumbe Island include a mosque, a lighthouse from 1904 and the former warden's house.
Changuu Island is also known as Prison Island as an Arab slave trader, who once owned it, used it for troublesome slaves. In 1893, under the orders of the British administrators a prison was built on Changuu Island to house violent criminals from mainland. However it ended up becoming a quarantine center for the yellow fever epidemic. The prison is still fairly intact and the cells can be visited. A family of tortoises is a big attraction as they could be approximately 100 years old.The small beach offers snorkeling, swimming or sunbathing opportunities. The former house of the British Governor, General Lloyd Matthews is now a restaurant.
Chapwani Island is privately owned and is also known as Grave Island because of the cemetery and tombs of British seamen from colonial times. The headstones mark the graves of sailors and marines that lost their lives fighting slavery and in World War I. Some of the sailors were killed in action between the HMS Pegasus and German cruiser Konigsberg in 1914.The forested section of Chapwni Island is home to many birds and Colobus monkeys as well as a herd of indigenous Duikers. The white sandy beach is excellent for swimming or relaxing. A small exclusive lodge is the only development on Chapwani Island