Spice tour and Jozani Forest
Trip Start Jun 11, 2011
19Trip End Jun 26, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
At the airport in Zanzibar there are again set cab fare prices, and Wolfi negotiated 2,000 Tsh off the rate - saving us about $1.35, which is significant to a Swabian - and then tipping the difference back to the driver.
We had a free room upgrade last night so this time we had an ensuite bathroom and good wi-fi. We also got more welcoming drinks when we arrived
We wandered slowly through the alleys until we found our hotel again. It seemed to take a lot longer to get back than it had to get to the coast.
This morning we were up early to eat our breakfast pole pole and then we were picked up for our Spice Tour with Eco and Culture Tours in Stone Town. We tried to check out but there was some confusion over the rate we had agreed to pay and the rate we were being charged. It seems they lost the note that our upgrade was free, but eventually the situation was resolved with an archived email.
Our tour included just the two of us, a guide and a driver. They took us to spice plantation where we got to smell and taste various plants and then guess what they were. We discovered black pepper, cinnamon, various mints, ginger, iodine, aloe vera, yellow curry and tandoori
From the plantation we went on to visit a Persian bath then had a Zanzibar lunch. We took off our shoes and sat on a mat on the floor, then shared vanilla rice, BBQ fish, tomato sauce, casaba, potatoes and boiled bananas. It was very good and filling, which is good because we still had a couple more stops on our tour.
When I had booked the tour earlier, we arranged to have the half-day spice tour and half-day Jozani Forest trip combined, and I asked if we could stop at the Butterfly Centre as well as it is directly beside the forest. Of course they said no problem! So that's where we went next.
The Butterfly Centre is very interesting. We learned the life cycle of the butterfly, bringing back memories of elementary school science class. We also learned the goals of the centre which are to help locals create butterfly farms and generate eco-friendly income so they stop cutting down the trees for charcoal. Currently they have 14 farmers in the program, and on average they make double the average salary of the area by selling the butterfly pupa to the butterfly centre
We were shown the traps they use to catch the butterflies and saw how they farm the eggs. Fertilized females are kept under a large net which also encloses various host plants. Depending on the butterfly species, the female will deposit her eggs on her plant of choice. The farmers then harvest the eggs. I asked how they know a female is fertilized. I guess they don't know, but they keep the males and females together in a larger netted area with lots of tasty plants and flowers (but no host plants) and hope they breed, then move the females to the host plant area to deposit their eggs. We walked around the large netted area and watched the different butterflies fluttering around and drinking nectar.
After the Butterfly Centre we went to our last stop, Jozani Forest. It is the only National Park in Zanzibar and is famous for its red colobus monkeys, endemic to Zanzibar. We walked through the forest with a park guide who spoke with us about the park's conservation efforts and pointed out some very big ants (that he called "small ants") that would bite us if we weren't careful, and that it was so painful we would cry if we were bitten. I spent the rest of the walk watching the ground around me carefully.
On the forest floor we found an impressively large spider, a tiny frog, a millipede on a tree trunk, lots of mushrooms and a huge snail.
We crossed the road to visit the red colobus monkeys. The monkeys did not mind us humans at all
The monkeys played in the trees around us and relaxed on branches extending out toward us, allowing me to take lots of photos. Unfortunately they were often hiding their faces in the leaves as they ate.
We took a short drive from the monkeys to a mangrove forest. It is 3 kilometres from the ocean but the marshy ground was wet with ocean water and the air had a light, salty scent to it. Several small crabs scurried between the mangrove roots on the mud. We walked on an elevated walkway above the marshy floor and the guide explained that mangroves help to reduce soil erosion and that there are three kinds: coastal, marsh, and a third one that I quickly forgot.
We returned to our minibus after our walk through the mangroves. We dropped off the park guide where we had begun our tour of Jozani Forest, then our guide from Eco & Culture also left us
We walked from Eco & Culture's office to our hotel, which was only a few turns down the alley. The Coffee House had arranged a transfer for us to Matemwe, which is in the north and on the east coast, and we were in the southwest. An hour later with a friendly cab driver, we arrived in paradise!