It Was All Worthwhile

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I caught the cheaper and slower ferry over to Zanzibar, it's amazing how they make the sea that translucent turquiose colour.

I had a quick overnight stop in Stonetown when I arrived before getting a tourist bus out to the east coast of Zanzibar. There were loads of places to choose from but I elected to go to Bwejuu, described as a quiet village with nothing to do but walk between the palm trees. It also seemed to have a really great hostel there.

The tourist bus was a real pain though, it firstly took a detour half way down the south coast to a place called Jambiani before doubling back up towards Bwejuu. Despite asking to be taken to 'Mustpha's Nest' they took me and another couple to a completely different hostel, who then quoted an absurd rate of 30 dollars per night each. It was at this point I realised that these guys were just after as much commision from hostels as possible. So I grabbed my bag and got out the bus. The guy tried to tell me that he had a duty to look after me, and that he needed to take me to a hostel. I told him to bugger off.

However, with the day moving on and temperatures rising I wasn't so happy when I couldn't find the hostel that I wanted. Locals would try and help me, but ultimately wouldn't have a clue where it was. Then I met the guy from the minibus again. He insisted on trying to help me...
"Hello my friend, you look hot, let me show you to the hostel that you want"
"Can you just tell me where it is?"
"No my friend, I will take you there, it is no problem."
"No really, I just need directions"
"Please let me help you"
"I don't want you to show me and you don't want to tell me, therefore we can't do anything, goodbye".

It was such a pain, but I eventually found it, and I'm glad I did. It's a beautiful little place with very friendly staff and travellers. Dinner is eaten at one big table so it's very easy to get to know everyone else there. As it happens my suspicion was right, the guy was after commision. He turned up later at the hostel and asked for commision from the owner, who promptly told him to bugger off as well. Apparently they demand as much as 50% of the room rate for commision which goes a long way to explain why some places charge 20-30 US Dollars per person per night. I managed to get my little room for 15 dollars, a bargain round these parts!

My room was excellent, it was above the toilets which wasn't a problem. But it had a view over the hostel and the bamboo walls let through a really cool breeze each night. It also had a brilliant balcony where I sat and watched the world go by for hours on end. The big minus point though was lack of hammocks, now that'd make things much better there.

The beach was only 1 minute's walk away, and it was quite a beach. Great white sand and a lovely coloured sea (when the tide was in), palm trees on the fringe, and barely anyone else on the beach, other than locals just going about their daily business. It really was the postcard deserted beach. Again, I spent a number of hours down here reading my books and just taking in the rays.

I spent 9 days down here in total, that was 9 very lazy days. I did venture out on a snorkle trip one day, which was nice, but not amazing. Another day I walked 3Km down the beach to the next town, Paje, to read my emails, and of course it was a lovely walk as well. But other than that I just chilled out and enjoyed myself. If you're ever in Zanzibar then Mustapha's Nest is a great place to go.

After the 9 days of great food, company, beach, drums, music, games, reading, chilling, and generally doing little each day I had to leave. And I was sad to do so, a few more days would have been excellent, however I have to get up to Nairobi for my flight to Ethiopia. Time to get moving again.
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