Did you know that Zanzibar is famous for being the Spice Island? A visit here will be incomplete without seeing a spice plantation or shamba. Though the sun is shining there year round, the spice harvest in Zanzibar falls on the dry season. Spices and herbs were originally brought in Zanzibar by Portuguese traders in the 16th century from colonies in South America and India. Сinnamon is a very common spice widely used around the world and is used in Zanzibar for tea or to repel mosquitoes. One more expensive spice growing here is saffron. It is picked by hand from the purple crocus flowers.
Another common spice in Zanzibar, cloves, dry and release a sweet, heady aroma which wafts throughout the island! Dried flowers are used as a spice in cooking, to flavour drinks (like mulled wine), and in medicine. If you visit Pemba in autumn (September-November), you will see how farmers harvest cloves by hand. Lemongrass is very popular locally. In Zanzibar it is used as a spice in cooking,—dried, powdered, or fresh. Citral oil is added to tea, soups, and curries, and used in medicine for making skin ointments, herb extracts, and disinfectants.