My Experience in the Island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, Africa!
Zanzibar or Unguja in Swahili – the native language – was where I chose to go after my wonderful safari in Tanzania. I went to the beach for a week in the Island of Zanzibar washed by the Indian Ocean. The area of the island where I chose to stay at was Nungwi, my interest in this area was based on the information I gathered about Zanzibar. Most people consider this part of the island to be the most the most beautiful, and I wanted to understand and see why? The others areas are Pongwe, East Zanzibar, Matemwe North East Zanzibar, Paje & Dongwe, South East Zanzibar, Jambiani, South East & West Zanzibar.
The capital of Zanzibar is Stone Town and Nungwi is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from the capital and Zanzibar International Airport. From the mainland there are direct flights from Kilimanjaro and Arusha Airport, as well from the country’s capital, Dar es Salaam – these are about 50 minutes flights or 2-hour ferry ride from Dar Es Salaam Ferry Terminal. From Dubai, with FlyDubai, there are also direct flights to Zanzibar, a rough 5 hour trip. The tourist visa to enter Tanzania, Zanzibar, is 50 US$ – I had already paid for the visa at Kilimanjaro Airport when I arrived in the country for my Safari. I didn’t have to pay again to get into the island. My hotel and flight reservations were booked directly for me and I flew with Precision Air, but if you wish the safari companies can help you and also make reservations for you. My Safari Company was Gosheni Safaris Africa, based in Arusha and I really enjoyed their work – as well as my guide Sam!
(The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling but we can pay everything in American dollars, but the change we receive in shillings.)
When in Zanzibar Taxis are available at the airport. I opted with requesting a direct transfer when I booked the hotel, it cost 100 USD round trip.
Nungwi, is located in the north end of the island. It is a very poor village with good people, about 5700 inhabitants – all friendly, playful and even understanding when we tell them that we do not want to buy any excursions (here are many people trying to sell us excursions, souvenirs, massages, etc).
Nice beach restaurants for all prices, and I everything I ate was good and of excellent quality. Most restaurants are seafront and built on wooden stakes – necessary because when the tide goes up the beach almost disappears and the sea reaches the restaurants.
Nungwi, a beach with a sand as fine and white as snow with a beautiful blue sea,
The hotels range from the luxurious to the basic bungalows. The beach is particularly full the tide is high, on the other end it is fabulous when the tide is empty. An incredible plus to this location is the sunrise and sunset – absolutely gorgeous, so much so that there are organized excursions from other parts of Zanzibar just to watch the sunset on this beach. Right next door, a rough 30 minute walk on the beach, we can find Kendwa Beach where tide does not retreat so much.
The tides can retreat up to 150 meters in Nungwi, which gives us a great place to walk along the beach, but it is difficult to swim.
Strolling by the beach we find the natives in their daily and main tasks, such as fishing. Men, women and children fish everyday, but each has their own role! Women and children cannot go out on a boat with men, as such they catch fish when the tide is low with their handkerchiefs or nets. They catch a very small fish, that can be fried and eaten whole – SO GOOD!
Part of their daily and main tasks is also to walk the cattle by the beach,
… or to repair boats. Another daily task of the natives is to work in the hotels and restaurants of the area, they settle in the region and financially help to build school, provide clean water or even fund basic sanitation for the villages. Much of the population depends on income brought in by tourism.
I chose a boutique hotel The Z Hotel Zanzibar to stay, with a partially private beach right in the beach of Nungwi and also in the liveliest area (sometimes too lively and too busy for me personally). The Z Hotel rooms are divided into small buildings, I chose one of the suites located on a top floor with a breathtaking view. The room terraces are elegantly decorated with the smells and colors of Africa, and make me sigh for more. The entire hotel is inspired by Africa: the attentive and helpful staff, the infinity pool, the fine dining, the possibility of dining on the beach lit by candlelight, and beast of all the breakfast time. I consider the Z Hotel Zanzibar a very good choice.
The Z Hotel location, in the Nungwi Beach!!!
I left Nungwi once during the week to go to Stone Town and to another small island close by. Called Changuu or Prison Island, The island is roughly 6 KM from Stone Town by boat,
The area was in the past a prison for rebellious slaves, but today it has been transformed into a turtle sanctuary. The oldest turtle has 194 years old and we can interact with them.
You can still visit the old prison,
and there’s also a restaurant and a old and closed hotel. The building is beautiful!
Stone Town in English or Mji Mkongwe, meaning “Old City” in Swahili, is an excellent example of a suali trading town that has developed further with Arab, Indian and European influences but has retained its indigenous elements. Its elegant buildings reflect the influence of African cultures, as well as Arab and European cultures. Stone Town is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center list, while it waits to be classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A place that has great cultural and physical significance – worth a visit for sure! I walked alone through the city but you can arrange a guide to show you the area by foot.
Lastly, I wondered if you know who was born in Stone Town, Zanzibar (Tanzania)?
The one and only Freddy Mercury, lead singer of band Queen!
Also about Tanzania read my blog post regarding my wonderful Safari in the mainland!
Cheers to you and safe trips!