ZANZIBAR - April 2017

🇹🇿  TANZANIA  🇹🇿

Zanzibar Town

"Hakuna  matata" (no worries)  is the common say on this island and indeed everybody is really chilled out. Who wouldn't be when you are surrounded with white sandy beach and the Indian Ocean ! Paradise on Earth.

The flight there, however, wasn't so chilled - no direct flight from the UK but we got there with Quatar Airways via Doha. All in all a 15-hour journey but worth it.

I was slightly anxious arriving without a visa but it proved to be an easy process and costed 50. Credit cards are now accepted and no need to take ID photos with you as they have the latest technology to take them there. The whole visa application process took no more than 15 minutes. You then scramble your way out and hopefully re-unite with your luggage.

Before I forget, the US $ and the Tanzanian Shilling are the preferred tender. There are plenty of exchange places in Stone Town but no ATMs once you leave the town so make sure you take enough cash with you (not many places accept credit cards).

Stone Town - April 11th to 14th  2017

The old fort

The first 3 days were spent in Stone Town., the old part of Zanzibar city. Tembo House Hotel is the ideal base to explore Stone Town. It's location on the beach adds an extra touch.

Insist  on an ocean-view room as you can enjoy the sunset sitting on your balcony.

The pool offers perfect relaxation and a must after rambling through the maze of  Stone Town.

Don't forget to visit the Livingstone restaurant, next door on the beach. Delicious fresh fish served with the local coconut sauce.

Tembo House Hotel

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  • View from the hotel

  • The perfect pool !

  • The Floating restaurant

Chapwani Island - 13th April 2017

 

 

A short boat ride away lies  Chapwani Island. Also known as Grave Island or Prison Island by the locals. It is now privately owned but used to be a prison for slaves before transporting them elsewhere. It is also a sanctuary for tortoises, the oldest one being a mere 192 years old ! Well worth a visit.

  • The prison

Yum yum...

En route to Matemwe - 14th April  2017

Goodbye Stone Town, here we come Matemwe. Situated north of the island, Matemwe is a quiet village stretching along the coast. We hired a car ($50 / day) to get there as we didn't want to rely on local taxis. As there are only a few roads on Zanzibar, the chances of getting lost were pretty slim.  However as we were there  during he rainy season driving in torrential rain  was interesting ...

Best to avoid chickens, goats, cows  and monkeys !!!

oh yes they drive on the left - well almost everyone !!!

Matemwe Beach

Sun ( interspersed with the occasional rain shower), sand ( white and very fine) and sea (blue and as warm as a bath).

Villa Kiva,  run by an Italian family is a real find. Immaculate service, lovely room overlooking the ocean (again) and a mouth-warweing menu including a daily fresh catch  from the sea. I tasted barracuda and  highly recommend this fish.

The  beach is right there on your doorstep .The  tied proceeds along way,  leaving seaweed on the beach but staff at Villa promptly sweeps it away.  That's what I call service  ! 

 

Villa Kiva

  • View from Villa Kiva

  • Small but refreshing

  • Preparing dinner

  • Fishing at low tide

  • The tide is very low Indeed !

how to fish when the tide is low 

Nungwe beach for the day (with umbrellas)

 

 

A rainy day but it didn't stop us from visiting this beach where all the action is. Bars on the beach and local artisans await you. 

Mnemmba Island

 

 

The perfect desert island ! If you like  snorkelling or diving  this is the place to go.  Just like watching Finding Nemo under water. If you are lucky dolphins may join you for a swim. '

You can stay on the island but it will relieve you of €1,000 a night for accommodation only ! 

This is the way to Sunbathe !

Starfishes of the day !

Mama starfish

Going South to Jambiani

 

 

The journey by car  from Matemwe to Jambiani took  an hour and a half  through beautiful countryside  and villages.  The vegetation is very green and lush  as the island has a rainy season.  A very pleasant drive.

Nur Beach Resort

Great  location on the beach.  It is a small resort with eight bungalows  surrounding an infinity pool .  It is a magnificently kept pool but it isn't lit up at night which is a great shame.  The service is very pole pole (slow slow in Swahili)  and don't expect to receive what you ordered -  Rice instead of couscous !  However the mango and strawberry smoothie is delicious  as is the ice cream.  The result used to be run by French couple  but has recently changed hands.

 The bungalow is  well appointed and prayed every night with a mosquito repellent spray.

 The area outside the  room is  very comfortable with sofas and loads of cushions.  The perfect place to relax and hide from the sun.

The Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

The Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is a 50 km2 area of rain forest and mangrove and the only national park on Zanzibar. The Zanzibar red colobus monkey, Procolobus kirkii is found in the park. Its population count is about 1000.  It is also known as Kirk's red colobus, named after Sir John Kirk (1832–1922).

The mangrove forest is a sea water mangrove so no  mosquitoes  here !!!  Three different types of mangrove trees can be found in this park.  Zanzibar has nine species in total.

Spot the monkey

The sea water mangrove forest

A little about spices

The history of Zanzibar would not be complete without the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamonpepper and many other spices which are essential ingredient in a Zanzibari's everyday life, it is the island's connection to spices and herbs. Zanzibar and Spice is a duo that dates back to the 16th century.

 Many spice tours are on offer to explore spice farms. 

The best eats in Stone Town

Rooftop Tea House

 One of the tallest rooftop restaurants in Stone town. It  is,  without the shadow of a doubt, an amazing culinary experience to eat there. My tastebuds came alive with every  mouthful  I took  of this delicious cuisine !

 It isn't cheap but worth every penny of it.  An added touch is to have your hands washed with rose water.  You can sit at a  table (  only two available )  or  you sit on luscious cushions on the floor.  Possibly the best evening I  had in Stone town.

The Livingstone beach restaurant

As the  name indicates  the restaurant is located on the beach (next to the Tembo House hotel). It is a cosy relaxed place to eat.  

It serves good  local food and I had barracuda ( for the first time ) with coconut sauce that was deliciou.

 

 

Tips  🇹🇿

💰US$ and Tanzanian Shilling in use. Take plenty of cash with you and change some for Shillings (tips, souvenirs, snacks,taxi rides etc.). There are plenty of bureau de change in Stone Town  as well as a couple at the airport.

 A large bottle of water should cost you no more than 1000 Shillings  on the street 

🛂 Visas can be obtained on arrival. Cost $50  but they now take credit cards.

🍷  Please note that some establishments do not serve alcohol.

🏥   A high risk malaria zone so check with your GP whether you need to take malaria tablets or not.  Make sure you use a mosquito repellent spray especially at dusk.

 

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