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Zanzibar

Zanzibar is an archipelago consisting of two main Islands of Unguja (commonly referred to as Zanzibar Island), Pemba and about 51 other surrounding small islets. Zanzibar is a partner state in the United Republic of Tanzania with the Mainland. The name Zanzibar is derived from a combination of two Arabic words, 'Zenj', meaning black, and 'bar', being the Arabic word for land, resulting in the ancient title 'Land of the Blacks'. As Zanzibar absorbed peoples from as far as the Orient and Iberia, Assyria and India. Pemba is the second largest island of the Archipelago, named Al-khudra "The Green Island” by the Arabic mariners. It is famous for its clove production and its channels offer some of the best diving experiences in East Africa.

Zanzibar consists of a multiracial and multicultural community. It is a society of many faiths and of different origins. Almost the entire population is of mixed races primarily of Arab and African decent and blended with local culture.

The Zanzibar archipelago is a tropical island and its climate is subject to the whims of monsoon winds. The northern monsoon (known as Kaskazi in Kiswahili) lasts three to four months from December to March. The South west monsoon (Kusi) lasts from April to November. The rainy seasons (Masika) starts in March or April and lasts in May. June to October is the dry season and temperatures are clement. There are short rains known as Vuli. Zanzibar gets about 150 cm of rains annually. The maximum temperatures are 32' C in February and 27' C in July. The minimum temperatures are 26' C in March and 22' C in June.

The two Islands are located in the Indian Ocean about 35km off the coast of mainland Tanzania at longitude 39 degrees East and latitude 6 degrees South of Equator. Pemba is about 40 miles long and 14 miles wide. It has a surface area of 608 square miles (2,332 square kilometers). It is located about 36 miles from the continent and 29 miles north-east of Unguja Island. Unguja Island is 50 miles long and 24 miles wide. It has a surface area of 995 square miles. It is separated from the continent by a 21 mile corridor at its narrowest point. Its highest point is 390 feet above sea level.

 

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