Island of Zanzibar once again draws tourists to East Africa

January 15, 1995|By New York Times News Service

Zanzibar, once a center of the spice trade, has been attracting the tourist trade of late. Hotels and cultural sites on the island off the east coast of Africa had fallen into disrepair. But in the last few years, the government (Zanzibar and Tanganyika united in 1964 to become Tanzania) has encouraged tourism investment. Tour operators say improved facilities have begun drawing travelers, many of them adding stops in Zanzibar to longer tours.

One of the island's chief attractions is the Stone Town section of the city of Zanzibar, with its winding streets and balconied limestone houses with ornately carved doors. One company that operates East African tours,

Wildlife Safari of Moraga, Calif., is offering a two-night stay on Zanzibar before any of its trips. Participants stay in the Dhow Palace, a Stone Town house converted to a 10-room hotel. The cost of $295 a person, based on two in a room, includes breakfast and sightseeing.

Travel to Zanzibar is usually by a flight from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam, followed by a 22-mile hydrofoil ride. Round-trip fare is $300. Wildlife Safari offers a three-night stay on Zanzibar at no extra cost to anyone about to take its 15-day Wings Over Kenya (land cost from $3,195 a person) or Kenya Under Canvas (from $3,795) tours. Call Wildlife Safari, (800) 221-8118; fax (510) 376-5059.

Overseas Adventure Travel of Cambridge, Mass., offers five-night Zanzibar stays as extensions of its East Africa tours. The 1994 cost was $795 a person, double occupancy, and included daily breakfast, two lunches and three dinners and excursions; 1995 prices may rise slightly, the company says.

Call Overseas Adventure Travel, (800) 221-0814; fax (617) 876-0455.

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