One of the most famous places in Tanzania is Zanzibar, a small island just off the coast near Dar es Salaam. This weekend I was able to go to Zanzibar, and it was without a doubt one of the highlights of my whole trip.
We started off in Stonetown, which was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Stonetown consists of narrow, winding streets (often called the Labyrinth). The buildings here are absolutely incredible. Our guide told us that in Stonetown you were not allowed to tear a building down or get rid of it until it had come down on its own, which means that a lot of the buildings are crumbling and somewhat dilapidated. There is an atmosphere in Stonetown that is almost impossible to describe. When you’re winding through the small alleys it feels like you’re in a different world all together. I loved just walking around and taking in the scenery.
One of the highlights of Stonetown was going to the Night Food Market at Fodhani Gardens. Basically as soon as the sun goes down an entire market crops up right next to the pier and you can wander around sampling the food, often getting your fill for less than 5000Tsh ($4). My favourite was the Zanzibar Pizza, consisting of fillings being stuffed into a thin dough pocked and fried. There were lots of chocolate and fruit options, but I went for a vegetable and cheese pizza and it was delicious!
Our next stop in Zanzibar was Kendwa, a small town north of Stonetown. Here was where we had our real vacation and stayed in a proper hotel, called Sunset Bungalows. Seeing as I had my first hot shower in 3 months here, I loved it. The best part about Kendwa was definitely the beach. A blinding strip of white sand and clear blue water, it was like finding a small, quiet corner of the world that you could call paradise.
We ended up going snorkelling, and as someone who is scared of fish, it was definitely an experience. I think I’ve managed to somewhat conquer that fear, mostly because snorkeling was so amazing. The coral was huge and filled with life, and I saw fish I couldn’t even imagine. There was of course a moment of panic when a fish swam straight at my face and spent a couple minutes screaming and swallowing a fair amount of the Indian Ocean. Fish attacks aside, I’m very glad I got the opportunity to do this.
We spent the day wandering around the beach, sunbathing, and getting Henna tattoos. Our last night in Kendwa was spent on a converted Dhow sailboat as we sailed out onto the ocean to watch the sunset. All in all, it was a perfect trip which makes me even sadder that I have to leave Tanzania today.