Time and Spice in Zanzibar

Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
Trip End Dec 22, 2013

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Where I stayed
Sunset Kendwa Zanzibar
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Spice Tour

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We traveled with the locals to get to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam. Our driver dropped us off at a petrol station and we had to walk about 750m to a ferry terminal to catch the ferry across the bay to the city centre of Dar es Salaam.  Pushing and shoving to get on and off with the locals was an experience; getting off slightly more difficult due to the slippery conditions on the dock due to rain and algae. Many of us were slip sliding around but the locals were very helpful in catching those about to fall and directing us to a less slippery route.  Originally we were supposed to walk about 1.5km to the main ferry terminal but due to the rain, our leader took pity on us and got us a matatu.  Then after getting on the main ferry, the Kilimanjaro II (a new and seaworthy boat if you've heard about the recent ferry sinking(s) in Zanzibar) it took about 2.5 hrs across the Indian Ocean to Zanzibar.  We were able to get seats (very common for them to sell more tickets than seats) on the top deck for maximum views. Leaving the harbour, I was amazed at how many ships were out at sea and how massive they were.  Easily 10 times the size of the sugar boats we see come into dock at the Toronto Harbour.  About half way across we saw a whale traveling in the opposite direction.   As we got closer to Zanzibar the colour of the water and the bright whiteness of the sandbars were unbelievable; the colours of tropical paradise.

We arrived in Stone Town which is the main town of the island. Being founded by the Arabs there is a very Arab feel to the town and reminded me a lot of Morocco.   The massive wooden doors on many of the buildings however were something I hadn’t really seen in Morocco and were beautiful.  Stone Town’s history includes having a very active slave market in the early 1800’s.  The market area still exists, including the holding areas for the slaves. We did not get a tour but our leader told us about it and I have enough sense about the poor conditions the slaves endured.   For sunset we meet at the Africa House Hotel, a posh hotel where they have a rooftop patio to enjoy the sunset and a drink. Afterwards we went to the night market which is much more manageable then the one I experienced in Marrakesh.  There was lots of seafood to be had and the famous Zanzibar pizza. Upon advisement to go easy on the seafood and one guy having had some rancid tuna, I opted to try a Zanzibar pizza.  It’s basically a very thin pastry with another small piece of pastry in the middle to hold the filling. Once the filling is in, they fold the edges and then fry it in a pan.  I had the tomato and cheese and it was quite delicious. Later in the evening a few of us went to another rooftop bar at another swanky hotel for a drink then back to our humble but clean hotel called the Safari Lodge (bonus was it was very near the ferry dock).

The next morning we drove to the spice plantations and got a guided tour that give us an opportunity to touch, smell and taste the various fruits and spices that are grown.  Our guide’s name was Ali-G, and he had been well taught on the Ali-G we all know as Sacha Baron Cohen, so he was quite quick with Ali-G sayings  It was quite comically at times.  We also were able to drink various teas, my favourite being the lemongrass with a dash of vanilla and had the freshest citrus fruit I think ever.  I also got to taste jackfruit; it’s an acquired taste for me I think. After the tour we head further north on the lsland, were we had 2 nights at Sunset Bunglows, which was a really nice beach front resort.  For the first afternoon I just swam in the ocean and enjoyed the beach and bar. The next day about half the group took a Dho boat out to Mnemba Island (about 1.5 hr away) and went snorkeling.  We went to two different spots to snorkel and had a guide with us to help spot and identify fish and other creatures.  The coral was amazing and the water was so clear.  There were scuba divers in our area as well and they said further down the coral reef the saw turtles.  So I was close.  Guess I need to gather up my courage and learn to scuba dive.

Obviously it’s with mixed emotions to leave such a beautiful place but there will be more beaches to come.  Heading back to camp on the mainland was a day’s effort and the heat of the sun on sunburns was not making anyone a happy camper, including myself.  I also think the next four days of 10-12hrs driving each day is weighing heavy on everyone’s mind.  Lake Malawi get ready here we come.
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Tracey, Scott and Colette on

Molly - your pics and the story are amazing. Colette has received the first two post cards you sent, and she has bought a special photo box for them that she's calling "Molly Around the World"! She wants to know what the school children were eating in one of your first few posts, the picture where you wrote that they had to pick a bowl and then go and eat their lunch. She was trying to see what was in the bowl but couldn't. Colette is gearing up for Hallow'en and is going as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. We all hope you are having a wonderful time - the pictures certainly show that you are! :) Continue to have a safe and fun trip, and looking forward to reading more blogs posts and seeing more pics!

Lynne on

Wow Molly! This is absolutely incredible. It seems so beautiful. I'm loving the blog ... good job and love learning more and more about Africa through your experience.

JoJo on

Love the Sunset!

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