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Zanzibar - Stone Town 2. - l.z. photo

Zanzibar - Paje - beach - l.z. photo

Walk down the street and your nose is sure to be tickled by the scent of drying cloves. Roadside street vendors will sell you honey-sweet pineapple, as well as coconuts and ten kinds of banana, and all for next to nothing… After boring a hole in the coconut and drinking the refreshing juice, you can split it in half and eat the tasty flesh.
If you want to travel like a local, then hop aboard a dala dala. These are minibusses that will take you as far as you want to go for $0.50. Here there’s no such thing as ‘full’ – they always find room for one more. Back in the city, be sure to try a chapati, which is a naan-like flatbread made of crushed corn and cane sugar, cooked over hot embers. You can get them rolled up and filled with sweet, sugary nectar so that when you squeeze it the filling oozes out. Kids keep rushing up, shouting for a jumbo pipi – a pipi’s a kind of sweet.

In the Stone Town market, you can find fish, seafood, and virtually every herb and spice in the world. Fruit markets, narrow alleyways, bakers selling fresh, crusty bread, and kids selling handfuls of nuts for pennies. The evening market, which greets you with the atmosphere of a town fair, is suffused with the indescribably seductive aroma of seafood on the grill.

Swimming with turtles… Get into the water and touch a passing turtle as it swims by. On Prison Island, you can admire some giant tortoises which are several centuries old. On the dolphin-spotting tour, meanwhile, you can jump into the water and swim with the dolphins as they glide past within touching distance. The herb and spice tour shows how fragrant spices are grown and prepared, while plants are folded into beautiful jewelry.

On the island of Mnemba you can marvel at the underwater world. Dive from a boat into the crystal blue waters of the lagoon, or else take a trip on a sailing ship that will take you back in time to the golden age of piracy. Nungwi is the place to watch the sunset on the beach, while the place we stayed, Kili Majuu, is perfect for watching the sunrise.

While you’re there, it feels good to give something back. We brought some notebooks from the city out to a rural school. Unfortunately, most tourists never see places like this; many of the kids don’t even have a pen to write with. The school itself is an unfinished building with two sides open to the elements, and only every other class has a teacher. Next time we come we’ll try to bring some necessary things from home. Every seventh person in the country doesn’t have access to clean drinking water, and by African standards this still counts as good.

We met many locals who don’t have electricity in their homes, so they charge their phones at a neighbor’s place. There isn’t usually glass in the windows. Still, everyone seems cheerful, and there’s none of the depression which is so ubiquitous in Europe these days.” (2019)


Zanzibar 2

I’d never been to Africa before, and I was a bit worried, but I soon fell in love with the place. It’s a gorgeous landscape, with snow-white beaches, sand as soft as flour, and friendly locals. (Everyone smiles and says hello, and they’re always happy to help a perplexed tourist). There are many possibilities for excursions, though there’s no escaping the unimaginable poverty many people live in . My heart broke at times to see the stone/mud-brick houses without a stick of furniture. Listless, unemployed people sit on the concrete in front of their houses. There are no publicly maintained roads and no street lighting. What I loved, on the other hand, was the way the kids here all play outside. The grown-ups socialize, chat, and play football together in the evening. Nobody is captivated by their electronic devices. Tranquility.

For anyone heading to Zanzibar, I highly recommend a young TAXI driver. Extraordinarily reliable and friendly. He drives an air-conditioned people-carrier that can fit nine comfortably. Look him up on WhatsApp or Facebook.
Saif Salim +255 773 299 070 😊” (B.V., 2019)

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We took an ‘optional extra’ tour, which visited a couple of the island’s major attractions – the spice farms. Here we were able, ‘on the spot’ to taste and smell these flavors and aromas while still fresh and learn a lot of fascinating facts about how these plants are grown. We also visited Prison Island, where giant, 100-150-year-old tortoises live. Then we took a walk in the world-heritage-listed section of the old town, and of course, took a look (though unfortunately only from the outside) at the house where Freddie Mercury was born.

One morning at dawn we went on a dolphin-spotting tour, which I’m almost tempted to call a major life event. We took a canoe out into open water, where the dolphins were swimming, and jumped in. We also hiked out to see the Zanzibar red colobus monkeys, which are unique to the island. Our final two days were spent relaxing at the hotel, which was entirely satisfactory in every respect and strolling along the beach at low tide to admire the many little creatures that live in the shallow waters along the shore. The Masai traders of the handicrafts market near the hotel were always cheerful, good-natured, and entertaining.

Given the generally poor impression Europeans tend to have of the hygiene and security situation in Sub-Saharan Africa, we came prepared with a stockpile of vaccines and minor chemical/medicinal armaments – practically a walking pharmacopeia. In contrast to our preconceived notions, however, we found that as tourists, so long as we observed the standard hygiene and security advice, we never felt in any danger. The restroom facilities in roadside cafés were generally cleaner and better provided than, for instance, in certain Eastern European medical establishments we have had the misfortune to visit. Hotels always provided bottled water, even for brushing teeth.

The locals were exceptionally friendly, hospitable, and willing to help, and in spite of some warnings to the contrary, we were in constant contact with them. That didn’t prove any problem at all. The meals in hotels were all first class, with a huge range of options and all manner of delicious spices. We tried all the cooked/baked food, and all the fruit that could be peeled, and everything was delicious. The only mild discomfort came from an overdose of vitamin D – I’d never even heard of such a thing before this trip. Still, if that’s the price to pay for such a fabulous trip then I’ll pay it… any day! 😊 (b. zs., 2018)

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Zanzibar 4

I spent three weeks in Zanzibar, and the more I traveled around the island, the more convinced I became that this is the dirtiest place in the world. Everywhere I went there were stinking piles of trash, and the vendors in the markets are as shameless as they come. For example, one guy asked $250 for a pair of tarnished silver earrings.

Two hundred and fifty. US. Dollars.

They also charged outrageous prices for pretty terrible food, especially the tough, poor-quality meat which may or may not be rancid.

Normal toilets can only be found in the big cities and major tourist sites – elsewhere not at all. Even when you find one, it’s often a real stinker with no toilet paper. The taxis are exponentially more expensive than the buses, but just how much more depends on how much you flaunt your money. Still, if you’re a foreigner in Zanzibar they’ll all assume you’re a millionaire regardless. And don’t get me started on the beach hustlers… Jesus, I even yelled at a couple of them to leave me the hell alone. Sorry, but I’m just being honest.
It’s true that I was there during a particularly rainy spell, but the mosquitos ate me alive, and every river and stream had burst its banks. The wi-fi never worked properly, there was no hot water, and I got the same breakfast every morning. I’m glad I survived and I’m never going back. If you’re going then for God’s sake don’t rent a bungalow, because that was like something from a disaster movie. Especially not with kids – unless they love cockroaches!” (amd, 2018)

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As soon as you leave your hotel or resort, you experience a big contrast when seeing the locals' small huts and the dusty, dirt roads. Unfortunately, there is no public lighting, but at least the public safety is good.
While on the island, we paid only in USD; we did not need any Tanzanian Schillings. They only accept USD banknotes issued after 2009.




Practicals

Transport

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Zanzibar - Stone Town - motorised tricycle rickshaw taxi - Dear Mama - b.b. photo

Zanzibar - public bus - s.t. photo

Zanzibar - street scene - s.k. photo

Accomodation

Attention! By all means, choose a hotel in the north or northwest of the island if you want to avoid ebb and flow-related problems with enjoying the sea for swimming, splash-in. 

Food

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Zanzibar - Freshly catched octopus for dinner -l..z. photo

Shopping

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Zanzibar - Paje - beach vendor - l.z. photo

Zanzibar - Stone Town - fruits - l.z. photo

Zanzibar - IKEA - o.i. photo

Zanzibar - shopping - p.b. photo

Fun

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Zanzibar - band - s.k. photo

Zanzibar - musicians - s.k. photo

Others

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Zanzibar - p.b. photo

Zanzibar - Stone Town - coast - l.z. photo

Background

Zanzibar - Nungwi Beach from above - f.v. photo

Destination in brief

Zanzibar is part of Tanzania (East Africa), an island in the Indian Ocean.

Size: 2,461 km²  (950.2 mi²)

Capital city: Zanzibar City (or Zanzibar Town)

Population (in 2020): 705,000

Languages: Swahili (olcally called Kiswahili)

Religions: 98% Muslim (mostly Sunni)

Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TZS)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 160 USD

Most common surname: Unguja

Stone Town, an ancient city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Climate

Zanzibar has two rainy seasons: a long and a shot one. The long rainy season lasts roughly from March until May. The short rains mostly take place between November and December, but aren’t nearly as intense—they tend to show up in short and torrential bursts, then quickly fade back to blue skies.

History

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Zanzibar - Stone Town - slave memorial - l.z. photo

Zanzibar - happy smoker - s.k. photo

Nowadays

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Zanzibar - street scene - s.k. photo

Zanzibar - Girls going home after school - l.z. photo

Zanzibar - p.b. photo

People

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Zanzibar - lady - l.z. photo

Zanzibar - queuing

Zanzibar - Stone Town

Zanzibar - Nungwi - girls - l.z. photo

Zanzibar- children - s.k. photo

Zanzibar - Nungwi- kids - l.z. photo

Tourist etiquette

1. While in Zanzibar, the tourists should accept and tolerate the unhurried pace in the services. Visitors quickly learn the expression, pole pole, which means, slow down" in Swahili. In a restaurant or a cafe, your ordered drink may arrive in 45 minutes, but being on vacation no sense to become nervous. I am not saying that it is easy to tolerate Zanzibar's calm chaos, but it's worth it.

Attractions

Stone Town

Zanzibar - Stone Town 3 - l.z. photo

Zanzibar - Stone Town 4- l.z. photo

Zanzibar - Stone Town - l.z. photo

Zanzibar - Stone Town - door - l.z. photo

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