Michamvi Watersports Hotel

Trip Start Jul 19, 2007
Trip End Aug 03, 2007

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Monday, July 30, 2007

From Stone Town, our van headed due east across the island and and then north up a little peninsula to the tiny fishing village of Michamvi.  When the road turned to dirt and then dead-ended in the middle of a group of huts, we knew something was a little off.  Our driver backtracked up the road a little and found the turn-off we'd missed the first time.  This dirt road dead-ended at our lodging for our last three nights, the Michamvi Watersports Hotel.

The hotel is run by a South African couple and is generally overflowing with Italian tourists.  We were told that among Italians, if you haven't been to Zanzibar you haven't been anywhere!

Michamvi is small and isolated, with nothing other than clear white beaches within walking distance.  To make up for the lack of nearby activities, the hotel has a resident beach bum with a couple of lackies who maintain two motorboats and a bunch of watersports equipment.  We saw a few people skiing, but we spent most of our time unwinding with good books on a great beach during the day and enjoying fantastic sunsets at night (although we were on the east side of the island of Zanzibar, we were on the west side of Michamvi's peninsula).

At high tide, the water came all the way up to the pilings around the hotel's courtyard.  But the beaches around the hotel are very shallow, and at low tide we could walk out 100 yards or more.  We spent a few hours one day walking the beach and collecting shells...there were so many beautiful specimens, it was hard to choose.  A few hours after we rinsed them out in our hotel room, half a dozen of them (most of the prettiest ones, of course) were trying to escape!  There's a large hermit crab population around the hotel, apparently. 

Any time we wandered beyond the hotel property, we ran into locals looking to sell something or offering to take us sight-seeing.  When we were shell-hunting, a teenager came up to Amy saying, "Mama want cocoa?  Mama like cocoa?"  We weren't sure exactly what he meant, but it didn't sound good...

Our tour-mates, Judy and Knox, had also collected some shells and put them on their balcony railing to dry out.  One afternoon we noticed a pied crow (looks like a standard black crow wearing a white vest) flying from their balcony out over the ocean and then back.  Turns out the crow was taking the shells out and dropping them in the water, one by one!

Our lone venture into the "watersports" offered by the hotel was a morning snorkeling outing.  Two guys took us out in a covered motorboat, 'round the tip of the peninsula and down the eastern coast of Zanzibar.  The ride was over an hour, mostly due to tricky navigation around the shallow coral reefs.  Once we got into open water, they strung out a fishing line behind us and actually caught something.  It was pretty small, but they posed for a picture with it.  When Nathan asked them what kind of fish it was, they just said, "No good to eat," and tossed it back.

The snorkeling was fun, and we got some great pictures and movies with the waterproof case we had gotten for Amy's Canon SD800 digital camera.  The area we were snorkeling in was small, but there were tons of beautiful fish.  We spotted a couple of giant clams and even what appeared to be an albino moray eel.

Our biggest adventure from Michamvi was a trip to the Jozani forest.  Click ahead to the next entry to read more...
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