Zanzibar Stories and Tips

Cooling our Heels on the North Coast

Romantic Zanzibar Photo, Zanzibar, Tanzania

We flew Precision Air to Zanzibar from Kilimanjaro Airport. Despite our apprehension our plane left on time! We had read some horror stories of lengthy delays and numerous cancellations but we have only good things to say. It was a nice flight with good service.
We were even served drinks and some cashews even though it was an hour or less. We’re not used to that in Canada

Our drive was waiting when our flight arrived and a short hour later we were at the Langi Langi Beach Bungalows in Nungwi Village. We noticed the change in weather much warmer and a welcome change from Arusha. Lots to see on our short road trip.

Zanzibar is really another world from mainland Tanzania.Even though Ramadan is in full swing there are merchants everywhere, lots of little rustic stores selling everything from soup to nuts. Lots of poverty though and "no littering" is unheard of here. This is a very Muslim island and traditional dress is the norm.

Our hotel is located oceanfront. It is a strictly BYOB, so every evening we tae our wine and sit on the oceanfront patio and enjoy the sunset. The underwater lights along the pier, give us a good view of the fish adding to the magic.

Last night we had fresh tuna made with a tomato and eggplant sauce with lots of spice. It was pretty tasty and also inexpensive at $25.00 for two.

This morning we thought we’d abandon the pool and take a swim in the beach. The water is a gorgeous turquoise colour that we hadn’t seen since Thailand and as warm. I was first in. I took a short swim and felt some sharp stings on my arms and torso. Turns out it was a jellyfish sting. A waiter from a nearby restaurant saw my distress and gave me some vinegar to apply. It really did work. In actual fact it was not that bad and the sting went away fairly quickly. What disturbed me more was the garbage I saw further down the beach. There are lots of bottles and plastics in the water. Even though it was cleaned up in front of the hotels, tides have a way of moving things about and I really didn’t like the idea of maybe stepping on a broken bottle.

As it is Ramadan , the holiest season for Muslims we were surprised that many of the shops and restaurants are open. Prices are less here than in Arusha. 1.5 liters of water is less than a dollar. 500ml of local beer costs about $1.50. That’s at the local liquor store. The liquor store is a small shop that for most of the day is locked ( due to Ramadan) . No fears however, all you have to do is knock and the door is opened. Lots of cold beer and wine and whatever else you would want. Its all crammed into a 10x10 foot room.

Bond Street Shops
There is a narrow and winding lane that leads up from the beach with shops on both sides. Each shop carried many of the same things, wood carvings, beads, cotton wraps and paintings. We really liked the paintings. We watched one artist at work on about 10 paintings at once . First sky then sunsets, etc.They are colorful however and not expensive. We thought they were on canvas but closer examination revealed they are actually on cotton. Some are quite lovely and we ended up buying four animals designs for our grandchildren. They roll well and are easy to carry. I also bought some lovely malagite beads and earrings. Legend says if malagite is worn regularly it will improve mental alertness. Humm not bad for $10.00

On our third evening our hotel manager, Selly, surprises us with a free upgrade to an ocean front room .So this evening we watched the sunset over the ocean from out hotel balcony. We love our new digs. It’s huge and gorgeous room. Just as we were thinking about dinner, one of the staff arrived and invited us to a traditional Swahili dinner compliments of Selly. We had fish with a green peas curry, coconut potatoes and wonderful fluffy flatbread.
Dessert was a type of donut with ice cream . Selly-man told us it is tradition that during Ramadan people invite guests from far away to share the evening meal . Tonight we were the chosen lucky ones!

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