“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
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
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.
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
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)
“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 😊”
“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)
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.
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!”
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.