Happy new month to everyone! Wow it’s only a bit over a month to Christmas so I’m already getting the chills. The holiday season, just has a special place in my heart; but for now, let’s flash back to last month a little bit. I was so happy to visit one of the best tourist destinations in the world, Zanzibar a small town 15 miles off the Tanzanian Coast. Zanzibar is best known for its rich historic culture, delicious Swahili cuisine, turquoise blue waters and beautiful sunset sails. So here are some great experiences we had…
The Boat Ride
We left Dar es Salaam at 7.00am by boat, Zanzibar is about two hours away so it’s such a calming experience sailing in the lovely blue still waters in the early morning. There is a lot of activity going on by then in the ocean, some fishermen looking for a catch, other private boats sailing and best of all small islands full of thick green trees which you can see from a distance. We arrived at exactly 9.00am.
Stone Town Café
Walking into Zanzibar is such a beautiful feeling. The town looks like a perfect work of art. A few metres from the entry point just after where the boats are parked, we came across a cosy little restaurant called Stone Town Café. The aroma of scrambled eggs and home-made tea from their very home-grown spices led us right inside. We had a hearty breakfast after which we began our tour.
The Sultan’s Palace, Bait As-Sahel
It’s beautiful with white walls and located right at the sea front. This is one of the most historical buildings in Stone Town, dated back to 1886. We didn’t go in but had a one-on-one with one of the attendants there and he gave us a brief history of the place, you could read more here. Another historical bulding just nearby is the Old Fort, locally known in Swahili as Ngome Kongwe; at some point it was used as a prison and barracks.
Of course we went to the Spice Market! The variety is overwhelming, I just kept picking more and more. The guys selling the spices seem to have a cure for everything and that’s how you end up buying them all. A little further down, we visited some kitenge, leso and beadware shops and picked up a few items as well.
Perfumes and Jeweller
You know a girl has these two best friends right? We got into a perfume shop and the whole place was filled with the sweetest scents of flowers and incense. They welcomed us warmly with a a cup of pinkish-red tea made of fresh hibiscus flowers and of course, their home grown spices. Sweetest-taste-ever. The narrow streets nearby have jewellery stores side to side with some gorgeous rare gems.
Sea Front Canons and Fordhani Gardens
Forodhani Gardens is well known for its exquisite night life. The place lights up after sunset with the biggest tourist attraction being the popular food market with Zanzibar and Swahili cuisine. Here we also got to see the famous canons at the sea front which were used by the Portuguese.