The magic of Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar was the only place I’d researched ahead of our East Africa trip. So needless to say I was beyond excited for the blinding turquoise blue water, traditional architecture and history of the old town.

After our safari we flew from Arusha to Dar Es Salaam (we spotted Kilimanjaro out the plane window!) on the coast. We stayed the night with a friend and then got a ferry to Zanzibar. We didn’t book ahead so had to buy ‘first class’ tickets for $USD50 (only $15 more than regular tickets) and then squeeze our way through hoards of porters and people selling cashews to get to the dock.

This was the view when we arrived:

Magic

Two of my greatest travel loves: blue water and incredible movie-set style buildings in one destination. Zanzibar was like a far more touristy Lamu, a very similar Swahili settlement island in Kenya that Persian, Indian, and Arab traders used as a base for voyages between the Middle East.

My sister Sarah and I

Just like in Lamu, Zanzibar has the (far more pristine) waterfront…

There’s the ornate carved doors…

Love them

And the bustling, twisting alleyways. These ones bursting at the seams with souvenir shops instead of local butchers and women selling fruit. My sister and I bought sarong muumuus for exclusive wear on the island.

Andy and I bought a chapati from this little stand and locals kept commenting on it as we walked and ate?!

We spent our first evening in Stone Town and went for sundowners on the rooftop terrace of the Maru Maru Hotel.

Sisters

It was happy hour and I tried my first dawa, an East African cocktail with Tanzanian konyagi (kind of like gin), of the trip.

Sisters with dawas

The following day we got a taxi from Stone Town to Bwejuu beach. We stayed at Mustapha’s Place, 50 metres from this:

Not bad!

Aforementioned muumuu

Sarah models her muumuu

The best thing about our accommodation was probably the pool:

Someone was a little heavy handed with the chlorine though and after a day of floating and splashing I noticed my hair had turned slightly green!!

It took a few treatments of tomato sauce, a bottle of which my sister swiped from the bar, to get it back to normal. I was amazed it worked!

Dawas in the pool

We wandered south along the sand to Paje beach.

That water!

Sarah and Andy

The tide was coming in which made for some climbing and detours.

Detouring along this sea wall.

After ripping my shorts in a climbing incident and cracking the sads (true story- my sister will tell you!) I cheered up with a dip.

Devotin’ full time to floatin’

We wandered further and stopped for a delicious lunch at Mr Kahawa, followed by reading and snoozing.

A local kitty joined us

For our final day, Andy and I took a snorkelling trip to near Mnemba Island. It’s privately owned so you can’t touch it without paying! The snorkelling was very average but we saw dolphins and it was worth it just to be out on the water.

Such dags in our hats

On our last night we went to Zanzibar’s must-see restaurant The Rock for a few drinks. It’s insanely popular due to its amazing location and you can’t get a table without booking ahead.

The Rock

At high tide you have to take a small boat attached to a rope to get to the restaurant.

View from The Rock

It was pretty cool but the service wasn’t great, it was definitely the kind of place you feel like you have to go to.

After Zanzibar it was finally time to fly to Rwanda for my sister’s wedding!

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