Karibu Zanzibar

10:30 am

Zanzibar is an Island o the Indian Ocean just off the coast of Tanzania.

I spent a week in Zanzibar and luckily my stay coincided with the amazing Sauti za Busara Music Festival.

A few facts I would like to share with you regarding Zanzibar and also some activities I did that you might enjoy while you are there.

  • Zanzibar is an Islamic Island. 99% of the population being of the Islamic religion. Please dress accordingly to respect the culture while you are in Zanzibar. What I noticed is in the evening a lot of tourists where able to wear their shorts as the locals where in doors but please just bear this in mind when traveling to Zanzibar. Dress according, respect the culture and the religion. Bikinis have to strictly be worn on the beach and nowhere else.

  • The Name Zanzibar is an Arabic word that is translated to mean “The coast of Black people”.

  • It is so hot and humid that the locals do not have glasses on their windows, just mosquito nets and burglar bars.

  • Kiswahili is the National language. English is also widely spoken as well as French and Italian.

  • There are estimated 1500 Maasai men on the Zanibar Island.

Some of the activities that I would highly recommend include:

  • Dinner and drinks at Mercury Restaurant
Make sure to arrive for dinner early so that you can also watch the sunset.The restaurant is named after Freddy Mercury who was born on the Island. Every year on the 18th of July if Nelson Mandela’s Birthday doesn’t fall on Ramadan, the Restaurant becomes the Mandela Restaurant for the day. I highly recommend their seafood salad.
  • Stone Town Night Market 
Every night at the Forodhani Gardens there is a market filled with amazing Zanzibari cuisine, fresh seafood and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice squeezed while you wait. You can also purchase some clothing items as well as some artifacts.I highly recommend the Zanzibari Pizza and Freshly squeezed sugar cane juice.

  • Visit the Northern Beaches

If you are staying in Stone Town, take a drive north of Zanzibar and experience the white sandy pristine beaches and the turquoise water.
I was able to visit the Kamwembe beach and stayed at the Obama beach lodge. Pay them a visit and say hello to Peter the owner.This is part of where the French and Italian languages are mostly spoken. You will also learn about “Beach boys” – Young African men who get married to wealthy, much older European women. Most of the locals out of Stone Town are accepting of bikinis all day.

  • Visit Prison Island
Meet the endangered Giant Tortoises and get the opportunity to feed them. There are boats available every day for half day trips to the Island. Some offer the option to go snorkelling as well – take it. Trust me on this.

  • Go Snorkeling
I am not such a big fan of ocean snorkelling as I struggle with the salt water but I went snorkelling and it was more beautiful down there than I had ever imagined. The colourful fishes, the scary dark plants they hide under and the rocks.  
Do not knock this until you have tried it.

   Takes place every year in February for 4 days.  
   A music festival that showcases the best of African Music and talent. Definitely in my top 3 of African Music Festivals thus far.

Now go ahead and visit Zanzibar and soak in the Zanzibari hospitality, learn some Kiswahili and watch some breathtaking sunsets.

I travelled from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar by boat. To read how you can also travel on boat, read here.


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