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.

Zanzabari dhow

See the mattress on top where we enjoyed a beer (or two) and an incredible African sunset

Sun dipping over horizon

At last, the African sunset I had heard so much about

Muyuni Beach

Our island getaway – swimming, snorkelling and plenty of BBQ lobster

Swimming in warm water

Swimming in 30C water is not nearly as relaxing as you’d think

Swimming at sunset

Much better, enjoying the delights of our hotel pool

Aww thanks

Thanks hotel staff for the lovely welcome home!

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church cathedral, built on the remains of the slave market to celebrate its demise

Christ Church Cathedral

The altar, said to be on the site of the old “whipping post” of the slave market

Climbing for a free call

Need a free phone call? Sure – just climb the post in the middle of the busiest intersection in old town

Giant bananas

The biggest bananas I’ve ever seen

Inside the market

Dhrajani market

English club

View from the old men’s quarters – not bad ey?

Wandering through the narrow streets of old town

The guide honestly thought this was the last remaining one – he nearly fell over when I told him I drove to my wedding in an Austin Princess


Heading out to prison island

Holding the baby tortoise

Michael holding one of the baby giant tortoises

Patting the giant tortoise

Patting one of the Aldabra giant tortoises on Prison Island

Trying out the wares of the spice tour

Banana tree

Wow – baby bananas!

Suze's treasures

With my jewellery from the spice tour

Mikey's treasures

Michael showing off his prizes from the spice tour

Sunset bar

Just one of the many incredible views from our hotel

Enjoying the sunset bar

There’s nothing better than a cocktail overlooking the sunset