|Swahili derives from an Arabic word meaning
'of the coast', and so it is that much of the Swahili language and culture trace their roots to the Indian Ocean coastline. Explorers, Sultans and Slave Traders all encountered Africa for the first time along this history-steeped coastline creating the events that were to define modern Tanzania, whilst the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago were to become principal stepping stones for the culture that was to mould Tanzania's people and their language.
The town of Kilwa can date its authoritative Islamic architecture to the 13th Century when it was one of the principal city-states of the Shirazi empire. Bagamoyo hosted
Livingstone, Pasha and Speke, before they set off on their historical destinies and was named by the caravans of captives, who
'laid down their hearts' there before they were shipped to Zanzibar's slave markets.
Pangani, Tanga and Dar es Salaam were all outposts for first the German and then the British colonial administrations - and the Great War that separated them.
However, history is not alone amongst the charms of the Swahili Coast:
Saadani Game Reserve, north of
Bagamoyo, offers a combination of beach and bush that lures lions and elephant to the Indian Ocean and entices visitors with its unusual mixture of game drives, boat safaris and Indian Ocean swimming.
Unguja, commonly known simply
as Zanzibar is the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago.
Rich in culture and history, it is surrounded by beautiful beaches
and coral reefs.
Pemba, the hillier, more thickly-forested island in the north of the Zanzibar Archipelago, perches on a granite outcrop of the Indian Ocean and is home to some of the best diving and big-game fishing on the East African coast. Dedicated lodges and live-aboard boats furnish visitors with the perfect expression of their interests.
Mafia, to the south of the Archipelago, is home to big-game fishing good enough for Hemingway, coral gardens so fish-fertile that they are protected by Tanzania's first Marine Park and a standard of accommodation specifically- tailored for those in search of a low-impact beach holiday.
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