Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of Zanzibar and Pemba
Islands, and several islets. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25
miles from the Tanzanian coast, and 6° south of the equator. Zanzibar Island
(known locally as Unguja, but as Zanzibar internationally) is 60 miles long
and 20 miles wide, occupying a total area of approximately 650 square miles.
It is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs,
and the magic of historic Stone Town - said to be the only functioning
ancient town in East Africa.
Zanzibar's local people are an incredible
mixture of ethnic backgrounds, indicative of her colorful history. Islam is
the dominant religion, and practiced by most Zanzibaris, although there are
also followers of Christianity and Hinduism. Population is estimated at
800,000, with the largest concentration being Zanzibar City which has
approximately 100,000 inhabitants. Zanzibaris speak Swahili (known locally
as Kiswahili), a language which is spoken extensively in East Africa. Many
believe that the purest form is spoken in Zanzibar as it is the birth place
of the language.