Known as the Spice Island, the beautiful island of Zanzibar on Africa’s east coast is bursting with culture and history, seemingly at odds with its idyllic geography of white-sand beaches and palms swaying lazily in the sea breeze. Together this makes Zanzibar a fabulous place to explore as well as a dream to relax and unwind. A rich fusion of African, Arab and Colonial History makes for the islands heritage and offers an escape like no other.
The main island of Zanzibar, Unguja, has a fauna reflecting its connection to the African mainland during the last Ice Age. Endemic mammals with continental relatives include the Zanzibar red colobus, one of Africa's rarest primates, with perhaps only 1,500 existing. Isolated on this island for at least 1,000 years, the Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii) is recognized as a distinct species, with different coat patterns, calls, and food habits than related colobus species on the mainland.
The Zanzibar red colobus live in a wide variety of drier areas of coastal thickets and coral rag scrub, as well as mangrove swamps and agricultural areas. About one third of them live in and around Jozani Forest. The easiest place to see the colubus are on farm land adjacent to the reserve. They are accustomed to people and the low vegetation means they come close to the ground.
Rare native animals include the Zanzibar leopard, which is critically endangered and possibly extinct, and the recently described Zanzibar servaline genet. There are no large wild animals in Unguja, and forest areas such as Jozani are inhabited by monkeys, bush-pigs, small antelopes, civets, and rumour has it, the elusive leopard. Various species of mongoose can also be found on the island. There is a wide variety of birdlife and a large number of butterflies in rural areas.
The Red Colobus of Zanzibar