So, the end of our African adventure in Tanzania is upon us. Throughout the week Soph and I have been staying in Zanzibar’s hectic capital, Stone Town (Zanzibar Town). We decided to get on AirBnB and find a local host instead of a hotel, so on Tuesday we ended up moving in with a French family (and their kitten – Tom, who live in the heart of Stone Town, on the edge of the town’s maze of old streets that reminded me a little of Venice.
As you can imagine, getting lost in what is quite literally a maze, is part and parcel of a trip to Stone Town, so we just embraced it and didn’t have the foggiest where we were for the majority of the first day or two. It was only really towards the end of the week did we manage to work it out a bit. Once you have been lost a few times, you start recognising places from the last time you were lost, so make yourself believe you know where you are…
After spending a day meandering through the streets of stone town, the local markets (the non-touristy markets to the north of town are so much better!), and getting ripped off at a food market because I ate too much fish, we decided to spend the following day at the beaches at the north of Zanzibar island.
Note to self: Do not go to a food market when you are hungry and fail to agree a price before getting your food. Lots of food in front of you + Hunger = Bad decision-making!
On Wednesday we took the local bus north from Stone Town to a village / beach resort at the Northern tip of Zanzibar called Kendwa. The buses are called ‘dalla dallas’ – an amusing experience similar to the buses I experienced in Ghana, where there is no capacity, just squeeze on and see how it goes – there were people sat on people laps, and others standing who simply ducked and hid when going through police check points! After walking along the beach at Kendwa we found a nice resort (pretty touristy compared to where we stayed in Jambiani, but still nice as it wasn’t too busy) called Kendwa Rocks. We had lunch, a few beers and got crispy in the sun, and were going to head back to get the dalla dalla to Stone Town but spontaneity took hold and we decided to stay the night, which was a fantastic idea because the sunset was incredible!
After a night in Kendwa, we got the dalla dalla back to Stone Town for our final day on the island. The trip back from Kendwa took about 1hr 30mins, so we left early and got back in time to get on a small boat out to Prison Island. The tiny island visible off the coast is home to the large population of Aldabra giant tortoises, which we were allowed to feed, but unfortunately not ride, and as I found out you are also more than welcome to stand in their shit!! The island also contains ‘ruins’ of an old prison (hence the name), which was used as Zanzibar’s prison and a quarantine hospital about 100 years ago. I thought this would be interesting, however turned out to be very underwhelming and just a dull tourist hotspot with a restaurant and hotel.
The remainder of the day was just looking around the markets again and sampling local food. In the evening we went to a restaurant called Lukmaan that had been recommended to us by almost everyone we had spoken to. It was great; amazing local curries for peanuts – my kind of place.
Yesterday morning we got the ferry back from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam. I have never suffered from motion sickness or seasickness, but today it was awful. With every bump of the hull onto the water, I felt like my stomach was going to hop out of my mouth – Soph was no better, probably worse. As soon as we set foot onto solid ground in Dar I felt fine again, and immediately my stomach went from queasy to hungry, so we checked back into the cheap hotel we stayed in 2 weeks earlier and set off to find some food. We found a small Indian restaurant – just trying to get into the swing of things before heading to Goa – called Chapan Bhog. We order 2 masala dosas and all I can say is I cannot wait to get to India after that!
After possibly the sweatiest nights sleep I have ever had in the Safari Inn, where the fan just blew hot air about a bit, now we are sat in Dar airport waiting for our flight to India (via Dubai) at 11am, arriving into Goa at 7am on Sunday, all going well!
Photos to follow because the internet here is terrible!