Zanzibar, the spice island

Trip Start Sep 07, 2004
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Trip End Dec 20, 2005


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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Friday, December 31, 2004

I caught a bus back to Dar es Salaam the next day.  The
bus ride was less eventful this time as I only had to
guard my window (as I mentioned in the last email, no
one likes the window open despite the 40 degree
weather so they will actually come from behind you to
close your window...think worse than a sauna).  The bus
was late arriving in Dar (I'm now used to AFT -
African Flexible Time, so it was no surprise).
Unfortunately, this meant that I missed the last ferry
of the day to Zanzibar.  The taxi cab driver ended up
taking me to the airport as for an extra $10 I could
fly.  I figure that would be money well spent.  The
airport was hilarious as I didn't go through security
or immigration and was on a plane 5 minutes after
arriving at the airport.  The plane was a little nerve
wracking as it was really small and I have never been
on one so small.  I literally sat directly behind the
pilot.  There was no stewardess and the co-pilot just
turned around in his seat to welcome everyone aboard.
We arrived with no difficulties (thank goodness!) and
I went to the tourist office to ask some questions.
While in the office, I met the owner of the airline
company who offered to drive me into town.  Hakuna
Matata..that was until he started introducing me as
his soon to be wife! 

There is a famous place to eat in Stonetown called
Forodhani Gardens.  There really isn't any garden
there but anyways...it is right on the Indian Ocean (my
first time ever to the Indian Ocean).  There are lots
of vendors selling food...all the seafood you can
imagine.  My dinner, which I couldn't even finish,
cost me $0.60.  I could get used to this!

The next day I went on a spice tour.  Despite the
name, it's quite an interesting trip.  I had no idea
how most of these spices grew.  We saw nutmeg,
vanilla, cinnamon, lemongrass, black pepper as well as
some other things like jackfruit, breadfruit and
coffee.  The breadfruit is interesting because it has
the taste of banana with the texture of pineapple.
I'm still not sure if I liked it.  We had lunch in a
village.  The food was so good!  Probably because
there were spices used rather than just salt which is
the only "spice" in Malawi.  In the afternoon we went
to a Persian bath and then made our way to the slave
caves.  Zanzibar was a very important slave port and
when slavery was abolished, many traders secretly kept
the trade going using these underground caves to house
the slaves before they were put on boats bound for the
middle east etc.  It was a very moving site.

The next day, new year's eve, I made my way to the
north of the island where it is said to have the best
beaches.  My hotel in Stonetown had arranged
accommodations for me in the north, ...Hakuna Matata
they said.  Well, they hadn't.  Try getting
accommodations in the most popular part of Zanzibar on
New Years!  It was so stressful!  Luckily I managed
after many hours to locate something despite having to
call in some help from some of my new acquaintances.
The hotel was okay...the room was nothing special and a
little overpriced if you ask me but the view was
spectacular.  It was right on the beach.  The beaches
are like those I've never seen before.  The water is
the most amazing turquoise colour and the sand is soft
and white.  It seems like a perfect postcard picture.

New Years was fantastic as I met lots of great people
to hang out with.  I spent the next few days enjoying
the beach.  I could hardly believe that I was swimming
in the Indian Ocean!  I then started my trip back to
Stonetown via minibus.  From Stonetown, I caught the
ferry back to Dar.  I stayed the night in Dar in a
horrible hotel because all the others were full but it
worked out well because it was close to the bus station.
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