Ruyton XI Towns

Link with Zanzibar

Zanzibar shoreline   Surely one of the most exotic sounding places in the world yet until a few years ago barely known to any but intrepid back packers and 'Old Colonials'.

Our link with Zanzibar stems from Yoland being one of the latter, having lived there as a child . Now we have friends there and are involved in raising funds for the hospital

Africa Tanzania Zanzibar

A small island situated 25 miles off the east coast of Africa, with its name unchanged for a thousand years, Zanzibar and her sister island of Pemba are now part of Tanzania. This beautiful island is 50 miles long and 25 wide and set in the blue blue Indian ocean. The west side is green and fertile - described by Richard Burton in his inimitable way as "no trace of mountain or crag, but all was voluptuous with gentle swellings, with the rounded contours of the girl-negress, and the brown-red tintage of its warm skin showed through the gauzy attire of green". The more remote east side of the island, having less rain, is more scrubby and the white beaches are lined with coconut and swaying casurina trees.

Zanzibar and Pemba have more to offer than sunbathing and scuba diving for as the capital of the Indian ocean for hundreds of years, this has been the stopping off place for ships en route to India and far east as well as a centre of the slave and ivory trade. So much so that in 1832 the Sultan of Oman moved his capital here - the weather being so much more clement. In the 19th century, expeditions to the interior were manned, equipped and left from the island; the British slave rescue fleet operated out of the old arab town. In 1871 H M Stanley embarked on his search for Livingstone and 3 years later left with 680 men and women to cross the African continent.

A walk through the cool narrow streets of the old Stone Town, with its tiny shops and lethal bicycle riders negotiating the obstructions of playing children, shoppers and ambling tourists, feels more like a souk in any other part of the Arab diaspora, yet take a spice tour into the countryside and it is very definitely Africa at its most lush and green - not for nothing is this beautiful place known as the Spice Island of the Indian Ocean.

Roger has made a comprehensive collection of the stamps and postal history of Zanzibar up to 1967. Although this interest is currently on the back burner he welcomes contact from other collectors.

Yoland successfully completed her research on the history of Zanzibar and the East African slave trade with particular reference to May Allen, the first medical missionary with the Universities Mission to Central Africa. The output was the book described on our sister site. www.eleventowns.com

The hospital is, to say the least, not well equipped. Yoland will give talks to clubs and societies on a variety of subjects to raise money to buy things they need. If you can help in any way please contact us.

The Aston-Makunduchi Partnership was founded in 1990. This unique 'twinning' between Aston Comprehensive School in Sheffield and Makunduchi Secondary School and local community on the east coast of Zanzibar exists to promote links, education and support for the children in both localities. The English children have raised money to supply books, stationary, computers and even a chicken farm to help the Zanzibari school become self sufficient. Teachers and children have been brought to Sheffield for further education and at a less tangible, but equally important level, English children have benefited from visiting the homes and seeing the lives of their contempories across the world. Long may the Aston-Makunduchi Partnership continue.

A unique hotel steeped in the history of slavery. Situated about 4 miles from the town just off the airport road. In 1875 a village was created at Mbweni by the Universities Mission to Central Africa to house, rehabilitate and train rescued slaves (dhows still carried on the trade despite the slave rescue ships of the British navy which patrolled the East African coast).

Now, the ruins of the girls school and the chapel are being restored to be part of this quiet friendly hotel set in a tranquil garden. Flo Montgomery  recreated the botanical garden originally made by Sir John Kirk, the botanist who went up the Zambezi river and later became British Consul in Zanzibar. There is a collection of over 200 palm trees as well as many other trees and shrubs from across the tropical world. 


For information on visitor visas etc contact the Tanzanian Embassy (London) on +44 (0)207 499 8951.

For a wealth of information about Zanzibar Information from Zanzibar cc
Zanzibar weather


Ivy Zanzibar