Touring Zanzibar in Real Time.

I woke up revived to the sound of waves lightly rolling in only metres from my balcony. A relaxed start to the day with a pick up of 10am for my trip to see more of the island.

My smiling guide Bakari welcomes me ‘Jambo’ he says, now a familiar greeting to me. I check there is water available in the car. ‘Hakuna matata… We are organised’

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Of course they are, I should expect nothing less, I have received nothing but excellent service on my DTour.

I don’t think I will ever not smile when I hear the word ‘hakuna matata’ you all know right… ‘It means no worries, for the rest of your days’ I bet I have you all singing it now, it’s been in my head for days and I plan on bringing this word to the UK. A good philosophy… No worries!

We drive first through the local village and promise myself to return for a stroll before I leave.

As we travel through different villages Bakari tells me snippets of interesting facts and the history of Zanzibar.

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There are around 1 million people on the island, a lot more than I expected, many people are unemployed selling small fruit, vegetables and jewellery on the side of the road. The primary economy is now tourism, with spices (specifically cloves) and fishing being the next biggest forms of income on the island.

We drive through Bu Bu Bu where Bakari lives. It is called this because of sound of the train which used to come to this town. You can see the remnants of the old train station by the police station, but otherwise little is left and the ‘bu bu bu’ sound is heard only when people say the name of the this village.

That tight excited knot in my stomach is back. I don’t think I will ever get bored of this feeling of seeing somewhere new, learning something different, meeting new faces! We drive on to our first stop, the Maganga Spice Gardens.

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I’m sat sheltering from the rain, and when I say rain I mean RAIN!

They say when it rains it pours and that is what is happening right now in the Spice Garden. Small streams have formed all over, as I was upgraded from banana leaf, to umbrella to full blown coconut tree leaf built shelter.

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The Maganga spice farm is well worth a visit. I have left with far more than I planned, an array of spices for my cooking back home and a new found knowledge of spice and all things nice. My guide Khamis picked varying fresh fruit from the trees for me to try, from passion fruit to pineapple and custard apples. I was tested by Bakari on the way around, to guess the different spices by their smell and appearance. I think I left with somewhere around 200 points so I did pretty well. :)

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Next stop Stone Town!

I’m sat having a bite to eat in the centre of Stone Town and I am absolutely pooped. It’s been a tiring day so far and it isn’t over yet. My brain hurts from all the information my guide has told me. I know he means well and he is saying loads of interesting stuff, but I’ve never been one to listen for quite so long in one go. Brain squeeze.

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It has been eye opening to see more of ‘real’ Zanzibar. Somewhat sheltered in the luxury resort by the ocean. I stopped at the market, fresh fish, meat, fruit and spices. A sensory overload, from stinking fish to chopped cows heads, a rainbow of fruit and spices and calls at the fish auction, to the chop chop of fish on the stone floor. Next we wondered around the stone streets and stone buildings of stone town. From large Indian doors to small alleyways. Stone Town is a lot quieter than I expected, but I can tell where all the travellers go. I feel like I have reverted to my Asia days, lots of travellers walking around with backpacks and harem pants, just like I once did. I miss those days.

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After lunch we walked by a few more tourist spots, Freddie Mercury’s house, the view from the top of The Africa House, the perfect place to watch the sun set over the ocean I am told.

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On the way home we stopped off at Mtoni Palace, The Palace by the Stream. This place is seeped in history from the reign of¬†Sultan Sayyid Said. The palace itself is in ruins, though you can imagine it’s epic beauty from the tall ceiling rooms, spa bath and steam rooms and its location on the sea front. We don’t stay long, there isn’t much to see there but worth a brief stop if you’re passing by.

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Now I’m ‘home’, shattered and ready for dinner. It was a tiring day, but I saw a lot in one day. It is a must to visit Stone Town and you can’t miss the Spice Tour. Make sure you get a guide though and treat yourself to plenty of tea, coffee and spices to bring home. Time to start preparing some new recipes.

Have you ever been to Zanzibar? Did I miss anything vital in Stone Town or the Spice gardens?

My #DTour is sponsored by Double Tree by Hilton. Though I have been asked to write blogs about my trip it is 100% my decision what I write about and I will be writing my personal opinions on the hotels, excursions and restaurants. Promise! 

Comments

  1. says

    I love your bracelet / ring jewelry! Is it made from banana leaf? I want to make something like it – plenty of banana leaves here in Thailand!

    Lovely post – I think that getting out of resorts is really important :)

    • Jen Lowthrop says

      Thanks Amy. I don’t think it was made from banana leaves, they were long things strips of green he was making it from. You could probably do the same with banana leaves though.

      It was beautiful, I wish I could have kept it, but it is now brown and falling apart. :)

  2. says

    That fish is frightening! I’m so jealous you got to go to Zanzibar. When I was staying in Moshi, Tanzania, I could have popped to the island for the weekend but it would have been pricey so I decided against it. There’s always next time though, eh?

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