In terms of stunning, exotic destinations, Zanzibar certainly features amongst the top in the world. Beaches, art, culture and natural abundance combine to create a unique destination that has proven to be a firm favourite amongst travellers from all over the world.

The beaches certainly stand out as one of the primary attractions. The warm Indian Ocean creates optimal swimming and water sport conditions. SCUBA diving, snorkelling, fishing, surfing, yachting, kayaking and sailing on dhows are just some of the fun activities that keep tourists busy until the warm daylight fades. Zanzibar boasts nearly 30 stunning beaches, each with its own aspect of allure. Pristine blue waters lap the white grains of the shoreline, while visitors and locals relax under the toasty warmth of the African sun. Unlike many other beach destinations in the world, Zanzibar’s
Spice Island, Zanzibarbeaches are quiet and sparsely populated, proving to be true getaways from the city’s hustle and bustle. They include Kiwengwa, Pwani Mchangani, Uroa and Bwejuu.

Image of a Spice Island, Zanzibar.
Spice Island, Zanzibar.

In addition to these beaches, rural fishing villages along the coastline provide a glimpse into the restful lives of the locals. There are also several islands off the coast of Zanzibar to which tourists can travel as a day trip. This is a great way for the entire family to learn more about some of the cultures and history that have created the modern-day Zanzibar.

Tour operators in Zanzibar usually include an organised trip to Stone Town as it is one of the country’s most popular attractions. This town was at its peak in terms of political and economic power during the 19th Century, when Zanzibar was a major player in the trading world. The attraction of this town is that it seems to have been frozen in the annals of history. Market places, mosques, museums, as well as places like the Arab Fort, Dr Livingstone’s House and the House of Wonders provide visitors with plenty to see and do.

The Jozani Natural Forest Reserve is another ‘must see’. This forest is home to many species of animal, some of them rather rare. Many species of monkey and buck share this densely vegetated home with birds, insects and, according to legend, the Zanzibar leopard. Guided walks and hikes are conducted through Jozani for a true, first-hand African experience.

Nature lovers will delight in seizing the opportunity to swim alongside hundreds of bottle-nosed dolphins off the coast of the Kizimkazi fishing village. This village is the site in which a mosque was built in the 1100’s of our Common Era (CE). This is believed to be the first sign of the Islam religion in East Africa.

Image of Stone Town,Zanzibar.
Stone Town,Zanzibar.

Chumbe Coral Park, on the Chumbe islands, is a marine park where visitors can see and learn about the stunning coral reefs off Zanzibar’s coastline, as well as the abundance of marine life under the waters. On the Chumbe islands themselves are lots of nature trails for visitors wanting to see the fauna and flora on land. The endangered Green Turtle can be spotted in the Conservation Zone around Mnemba Island, while the Misali Island provides historical features, a gorgeous coral reef and a stunning forest.

A valid passport and Visa are required for visitors to Zanzibar. There are also certain vaccinations and health precautions that need to be adhered to, and these should be discussed with your nearest travel clinic or an experienced tour operator. This will ensure your safety while you take in all of the beautiful and unrivalled sights and sounds of this awe-inspiring land.

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Effects Of Climatic And Environmental Changes On Ancient African Civilisations

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the entire planet earth looked very different to what modern man experiences today. Continents were not yet divided, and the vegetation and animals were different. Significantly, the climate was also vastly different to what it is today. Climate plays an integral role in determining the plants and animal that live in a certain areas, as well as how habitable a place is for human beings.

In fact, even the theory of the evolution of man was dependent largely on the climatic influences on our ancient ancestors. It is hypothesised that the ancient versions of man were forced to walk upright, lose body hair and develop their coordination for survival in a changing environment. New skills also needed to be learned as farming techniques and living habits had to be adapted.

Ancient Africa experienced major vacillations between mega-droughts and Ice Ages, although these fluctuations occurred over thousands and thousands of years. As humans continued to develop and evolve through these phases, they needed to make major adaptations, not only to their ways of life, but also to their personal body structure. Prior to 135 000 years ago, the whole of Africa was lush and fertile, with a tropical climate. Then, the most intense mega-drought ever to occur hit the continent in the period referred to as the early part of the Late Pleistocene epoch. This is believed to have led to the migration of most of our human ancestors into other areas that were more habitable and fertile. Lake Malawi has been used by scientists as a rain gauge to ascertain water levels in ancient times. Research has shown that, during this mega-drought, the lake’s level dropped at least 1968 feet, or 600 metres! Evolutionists claim that this severe lack of water not only pushed ancient man from the area, it also forced aquatic animals (such as fish) to develop the facilities to be able to survive on dry land, thus evolving into land animals.

As people flocked out of the continent, only a very small proportion of this specific generation remained. Humankind as we know it is widely believed to have come from these few remaining on the continent, who evolved significantly and in response to the climatic changes.

These conditions continued until about 70 000 years ago, when the climate was again characterised by wetter conditions. These led to the growth and renewal of fresh vegetation, as well as an increased water supply to the region. More people were in the area during this time of abundance, and the population grew. This increase in numbers eventually led to migrations due to space limitations and the ownership of land.

Then, about 20 000 years ago, an Ice Age overcame the entire earth. This meant that the planet underwent a long-term period of cold temperatures over most of its surface. In places like North America and Eurasia, giant ice sheets covered enormous proportions of the land, making it impossible to farm and, sometimes, even live in these areas. This final Ice Age lasted for about 9 500 years. It forced most of the populations to migrate to the highlands, where they would be relatively protected from the ice sheets. Again, these civilisations had to adapt their farming methods, and change their diet, social habits, clothing and migratory patterns. This forced an evolution to a certain extent. Body hair was necessary to keep people warm, their skin lightened due to a lack of the harsh rays of the sun that they experienced during the mega-droughts, etc…

When this Ice Age came to an end 10 500 years ago, areas like the Sahara were left fertile and healthy. This made it and the other areas like it the ideal spots in which to settle as ancient man began to descend from the highlands. Animals and plants thrived in this environment, which made it very desirable in the eyes of mankind. The abundance of food, water and sunshine again changed the habits and physical structures of our earliest forefathers.

These conditions lasted for some time, but the Sahara in particular continued to experience fluctuations between humid and dry conditions. These eventually left the entire area unable to yield crops or sustain life for any extended period of time. Today, it remains a large stretch of desert. Then, approximately 2500 years ago, the group of people who had made their home in the Sahara began to follow the direction of the Nile River, which held promise of a rich water supply. The arid conditions of the Sahara and its surrounds continue to the present day.

Africa has, since prehistoric times, proven to be a place of fascination, life and evolution. Changes in the climate were often dramatic, and these were, to a great extent, responsible for determining the ancient civilisations that inhabited this vast continent. It is no wonder that many researchers and scientists maintain that Africa is the Cradle of Mankind, and research continues to yield fascinating evidence of this theory.