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Kizimkazi

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... is a stretch of coastline to the south-west of Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania.

The village of Kizimkazi itself is an apparently insignificant little fishing settlement, but one which happens to be of great historical importance, being one of the first places that the Shirazi people from Persia settled along this coast. These people have shared the island with the better known Swahili people, who originated in Oman. With a little practise you may be able to tell the difference between the two groups of people, the Shirazi often having a characteristically broad face with high cheek-bones. This village is still considered to be their cultural home.

The coastline here is very different from the classic palm-backed lagoon of the east coast. Here a coral rag cliff elevates the waterfront above the ocean and the beaches take the form of small coves rather than broad expanses of sand. For this reason there are relatively few lodges and the area has a distinct and authentic atmosphere.

Offshore lies the substantial Menai Bay Marine Park, which includes some very lovely small islands and sandbanks, perfect for lazy days out on the boat and fabulous picnic lunches.

There is excellent diving, snorkelling and sailing in the area, but kite-surfing is not usually available. It is a little too distant for day-trips to Stonetown, although the Jozani Forest is within relatively easy reach. There is virtually no night-life here.

For decades now Kizimkazi has been best known as a location to 'swim with dolphins'. In reality this activity is a rather distasteful tourist trap which offers little chance of decent sightings and is generally best avoided.


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