Zanzibar is a world unlike no other. On the one hand it’s like going back in time with stone buildings, livestock markets, narrow streets and shanties. On the other, it’s a paradise for the rich, with fancy hotels, seafood barbeques on tiny faraway islands and all the time in the world to swim, snorkel and marvel at dancing dolphins.
Known as the Spice Island for obvious reasons, Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania famous for its history as a centre for slave trading. Under the control of the Sultanate of Oman from 1698 to 1890, it feels more a part of the Middle East than the mainland of Africa.
Our trip began with what turns out to be a common debarkle. Plane flights (or the lack of them). Of the three bookable flights to Zanzibar, only one ever departs. Therefore, our 3pm flight became a delayed 9pm flight and the lack of an ATM or an EFTPOS machine led to a hungry (and very grumpy) couple.
All this was fixed by a day relaxing by the pool, drink and umbrella in hand, interrupted only by an hour long massage and manicure. The relaxation process was completed by an evening sunset cruise on a traditional wooden Dhow, a beer in hand and (finally) that African sunset I’d been dreaming about.
A boat cruise, dolphins swimming along side our Dhow, beautiful underwater coral and a swim in 30C water were just some of the delights of our second day in Zanzibar, the highlight of which was a three course Zanzabari seafood BBQ. Oh what a pleasure to hear “more lobster, anyone?”.
Our third, and final day involved a walk around the old stone town, a trip to Prison island and a spice tour like no other. The end of the day also saw the end of our honeymoon. We were upset to leave Africa behind, not quite my favourite destination but a trip to last a lifetime.