Zanzibar’s location off the coast of Tanzania made it a strategic port, heavily influenced by Persian, Arab and Portuguese merchants who, along with the Swahili people, produced and traded nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves there for centuries.
The islands’ complex blend of cultures is preserved in the ancient streets of Stone Town, an UNESCO World Heritage Site—an excellent place to discover the commerce and human history of this Indian Ocean outpost. Visit a dormitory turned interpretive museum where slaves were housed before being shipped off, while learning as well about the devastating ivory trade.
Accommodations range from private barefoot luxury islands to boutique properties to traditional beach resorts. White sand beaches, fresh seafood and 3 million clove trees make Zanzibar a relaxing, sensual and culture-rich end to your East African safari.
On the eastern shore of Kenya lays Lamu, one of the oldest coastal Swahili settlements. A once prominent Arabian trade post it is a now a place where time appears to stand still. The main mode of transportation remains the steadfast donkey or the traditional dhow boat. The tune of life on the island’s powdery beaches and narrow stone streets is punctuated by the call to prayer emanating from 23 mosques. A favorite of the bohemian jet set, visitors enjoy staying in whitewashed villas and congregating at one of the few family-owned hotels. A sizeable artisan community exists on Lamu with carpenters crafting ornate doors and furniture—fear not: shipping can be coordinated if that Lamu bed doesn’t quite pack up in your duffle. (Awkward?)
The Seychelles Islands are composed of 115 granite islands far off the coast of Kenya and are spread like jewels over one million square kilometers of crystal blue ocean waters. Most of these islands are uninhabited and remain sanctuaries for rare plant and animal life and as remote escapes for those seeking privacy in nature without crowds of people. Originally known only to pirates and Arab seafarers, the islands are now more influenced by the French and English. Many tales speak of hidden treasures on these islands. In fact, Anne's father, John Kent led an expedition to the Seychelles to search for hidden pirate treasure. In his journal, he records that the only treasure he discovered was that of the stunning beauty of the islands.