Zanzibar. My relationship with Zanzibar began last year, when I won a trip to the Island.
The relationship ended shortly after, actually was there any? Winning the trip was deceptive, because I had to chip in so much for the trip to work, and it wasn’t in my plan anyway. So I let it go! What’s that they say about what’s meant to be? It will be. I’m a sucker for that analogy.
Look at us now Zanzibar!
I was stoked when an opportunity to visit the Island emerged. This one was special because I really felt drawn to it. Before my trip, I didn’t know why, but now I do. Story for my next post! For now, let’s focus on the beautiful Island.
Zanzibar is an Island 25-50 km away from Tanzania, the mainland. Zanzibar is an Arabic word which means “coast of black people.” The average climate ranges between 25 degrees and 30 degrees.
This time it was wet but warm. In fact on our last day there, it rained almost throughout the day.
We traveled from Kenya to Zanzibar via Dar es Salaam by road. Yea you heard me! From Nairobi, we approached the Tanzanian boarder at Namanga which is roughly 3 hours away. At Namanga we were cleared to enter the ‘new’ country. Here, you will need your Yellow Fever Vaccination Card and your Passport.
At the boarder is an opportune moment to change the money you intend to use to Tanzanian currency at Ksh.21 buying.
The real deal is traveling from the boarder to Dar es Salaam, which is the capital city of Tanzania. I say that because when we got there I was taken aback, like, “are we already there” this was followed by many “are we there yets!” We arrived Dar Es Salaam few minutes before 1:00 a.m, where we slept before proceeding to the Island. (I guess we can say that was our layover lol!) Ask Belinda!
Next morning, we were supposed to be at the ferry by 7:30 I think? Notice I say I think, because I lost track! This was kind of a bummer. It was evident we got to the ferry station late because all I heard was “Run! Run! Mtaachwa (you’ll be left.)” Here I was, pulling a suitcase, carrying a back pack and a carry-on bag. Running! There are several men dressed in reflector jackets, one of them runs towards me, he has a badge hanging from his neck, so I trust him. He offers to carry my suitcase so I thought it’s the ferry crew helping passengers to get on board. I was lighter, to run faster, go through the security checks and board the ferry. At this point, I couldn’t see neither the man nor my suitcase. Long story short, I found him in the nick of time, and he ‘conned’ me 10,000 T-Shillings! All this to say, beware friends.
Have you been on the Kenyan ferry? Or at least seen it? I was honestly over-excited when I boarded the ‘Azam’ ferry. Blessing in disguise moment is when we boarded the ferry and all the seats inside were occupied, so we had to sit outside. Oh, the view! So beautiful. I couldn’t stop thinking about the Sovereignty of God. How powerful He is? Ah! If you ever go to Zanzibar via a direct flight, do yourself a favor, take the ferry ride to Dar’, two and a half hours.
So what can you do in Zanzibar?
Zanzibar is very rich in history. Especially Stone Town, ‘Mji Mkongwe’, which is the old part of Zanzibar City. We got a guide, which is advisable to do, so that as you tour, you get to know and understand the history. Back then, buildings in Stone Town were built using coral reef stones but not anymore as fish lay eggs on them.
The city is characterized by narrow walkways, where you’re often disrupted by scooters, a common mode of transport.
Within the city, you will find stores where you can get souvenirs to take back home. They use Tanzanian currency, some shops also accepted USD.
The Jambo Spice Farm. Get to experience your favorite food spices in their natural form! Spending time in the spice farm gets you so in touch with nature as you also get insights on other uses of the plants, aside from food flavoring. It’s also advisable to get a guide as your walk through the spice farm, you might also need a notebook. (Haha!)
The Mangapwani Coral Cavern, a natural cave which apparently was formed 1.6 million years ago. There’s a quite a long stretch within the cave, which we didn’t complete. It would be a good escapade to discover. Within the cave is a fresh water body which was initially a source of drinking water. Today, the locals believe that their prayers are answered when they visit the cave and so they offer burnt offering to God.
Beach please! The beach line at Zanzibar is where I’d rather be, right about now. The water is so clean, the ocean is so surreal, amazing!
Are you a foodie? You can indulge in the local recipes of the Island. I particularly chose not to, no one wants stomach upsets far away from home.
I know I mentioned this, but, the ferry ride. The tides can get rough at times, especially in the evening, this is uncomfortable for some, scary for others, but I loved the overall experience. Need I mention, it can be very romantic.
That’s all for today my loves! The second part of my trip to Zanzibar (why I consider the trip life-changing) will be up soon, look out for it.
Love & Hugs!