To all my followers: Thank you for your patience. WiFi spots have been practically non-existent for awhile. I’m going to try to release a few blogs over the next few days. My spelling and grammar might have some mistakes too because I often have to type blogs on my tiny little iPhone. Thanks for reading!!!
I made it to the Zanzibar! I’m not talking about the strip club in Toronto …although there were some people skinny dipping in the Ocean. After our safari we camped for one night then woke up at 3:30 in the morning to tear down our tents and get on the road. I thought Toronto commutes were bad but apparently traffic in the city of Dar es Salaam is even crazier. 12 hours later we arrived at a beautiful campsite on the beach with a funky bar and small swimming pool. It’s a shame we didn’t get to stay longer but what was waiting for us after a 2 hour ferry ride was way better! We stayed at the gorgeous Nungwi Hotel on the North tip of the Zanzibar Island. There was a clean pool, a white sand beach, stunning turquoise water, and a delicious bar and restaurant. This place was an African Ritz.
The next day we went snorkeling over the coral reef in the clear blue water. We saw starfish, trumpet fish, zebra fish, sea urchins, and so many other fish of various shapes and colours. Lunch was some fresh tuna, rice, and veggies cooked over the fire on the beach.
That evening we decided to do a group pub crawl down the beach. It essentially consisted of us strolling down the beach trying to get into the fancy hotels to buy a beer and then being asked to leave. Eventually we gave up and decided to have dinner at the cheapest spot we could find. They set up a cute candlelit table on the beach for us and I feasted on a burger, fries, and a giant bottle of beer for $8.12. That was almost as cheap as the amazing Maasai steak dinner I ate the night before for $9.02.
The next day we headed to a spice plantation. The Zanzibar’s main export is spices and it was also a major port for slave trading. As we toured the area they gave us leaves to smell or bark to chew on and we had to guess what type of spice it was. At the end a man climbed a really tall coconut tree for us as he sang a Swahili song. The tree was at least 15 m high and he shimmied up it like it was nothing! We drank the coconut water and ate the coconuts while they made us little crowns and hats made out of grass. It was really touristy but lots of fun.
After the spice plantation we made our way to Old Stone Town, the main port of the Zanzibar. This area is predominately Muslim so us girls had to wear pants that would cover our knees and t-shirts to cover our shoulders. It was HOT! I have no idea how the females wear their long dresses and head scarves all the time. I tried to turn on the air conditioning in our hotel room but the electrical switch sent sparks all over the shag carpet below so I made the executive decision that we would go without air conditioning for the day and night. Our group had lunch at a classy restaurant overlooking the sea and then we had the afternoon to wander. They say the best way to explore Stone Town is to simply get lost. Well… we did. There were so many twisting alleys and little side streets filled with shops it was easy to get really, really lost.
When we eventually found our way back to the hotel we went for dinner to the Forodhani Gardens. This was an area where people come and set up little stands to sell Zanzibar pizzas, chips, samosas, sugar cane juice, and a wide variety of seafood with flies buzzing all over it. I went for the home made French fries and a banana-nutella Zanzibar pizza. It was delectable and only 2000 shillings ($1.20) each!
I awoke the next morning to the sound of an urgent voice yelling over a loudspeaker talking rapidly in Swahili. I had no idea what it was but I can tell you it was not the most relaxing way to wake up. Was the Zanzibar under attack!? Pirates? It turns out it was simply the Call to Prayer. Basically someone comes on a loudspeaker at 5:00 in the morning every day and says a prayer for the Muslims. I’ll never curse my beeping alarm clock again; it’s tranquil in comparison.
We hopped on the ferry back to the mainland. The ride was a lot rougher than before. A lot of people were puking at the back of the boat. I’m lucky I have decent sea legs and Daddy-obo taught me to sit at the front of the boat and look at the horizon. Once back in Dar we met up with Mwendwa our driver and climbed aboard our beloved truck-trolly thing.
I highly recommend the Zanzibar for anyone looking for an exotic beach destination with a lot of history and culture too. I could have easily spent a week there lapping up the luxurious views and visiting the delicious and affordable restaurants. Next stop, Iringa (the capital of Tanzania) and then onward to the country of Malawi.