It seems that Zanzibar has been on my mind a lot recently. I have done three trips to the island and each time I have stayed in a different part, the most memorable time was spent in Stone Town. That being said, it is difficult to fault the ocean, as it forms a large part of the tourist offerings. Be it snorkelling, diving, dolphin watching or just spending time on a boat on the azure water…
Large flocks of sea-birds heading off to who knows where. It always amazes me that they seemingly navigate without the aid of a GPS or Google maps, yet they are able to arrive at a destination without getting lost or having to ask for directions.
Some awesome rock formations have been created by water and wind erosion. Sailing around this particular outcrop brought us into an enclosed lagoon where we were able to swim and enjoy ourselves for a while.
Meanwhile, back in Stone Town. There a re a lot of dark, looming buildings. Many of which have fallen into disrepair and are just left standing in that condition. A sad indictment on the economic situation that Zanzibar finds itself in?
An early morning traffic jam? Invariably during my trip, I was awoken by the call to early morning prayers from the local Mosque. Instead of staying in bed, this was a signal for me to grab a camera and head out before either the heat or the throngs of tourists got in the way. (All the trips were done pre-COVID-19, hence I have no idea of how the tourist infrastructure is currently dealing with the pandemic).
Being there out of season meant that the local craftsmen/women were inclined to barter when it came to prices of goods. Often barter is seen as a requirement when it comes to certain transactions. But, remember, it needs to be a win-win situation for the interaction to be seen as successful. By all means fight for better prices on mass-produced goods that can be bought at any of the market stalls or street vendors, however, when it comes to unique or one-off items be aware of the work that has gone into the production. This fellow and I chatted at length about how hard it was for him to make a living in the off-season.
One of the back alleys in Stone Town. It is easy to get confused in the myriad of narrow winding streets, but not for long as the seafront will always act as a ‘compass.’
You never know what you might find around the next corner. Part of the innate beauty of Stone Town is the fact that a discovery of this sort makes the hours of early morning walking all worthwhile.
Zanzibar is well known for its carved doors. So well known in fact that original doors cannot be exported! Tourists can purchase newly carved work to take off the island, but nothing that could be considered as part of the national heritage.
Not wide enough for motorized transport, but you can get hit by a bicycle if you are not looking out.
Another wall and another door.
I asked a real estate agent friend of mine how he would describe this property. His response was this:
Fully air-conditioned, rustic cottage with full sea view. Forget the old simple SKYLIGHT. This home has a SKY ROOF! Huge potential as this could easily be a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house by simply building on four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Call me now to avoid disappointment. Viewing available any time you like, just go and view.
Beauty is on the hand of the beholder…
Zanzibar Butterfly Centre
Get to know the endemic species of Zanzibar’s butterflies with a visit to the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre ( https://zanzibar-ecotourism.org/ ) in the heart of the island close to the Jozani Forest. The interactive and visual environment offers a pleasant experience for adults and children alike.
You can be part of the feeding ritual and, if you wish, let the butterflies fly close to your hand. The Centre focuses on three areas: educational visits, conservation and butterfly farming. The butterfly farming is done in cooperation with around 40 farmers from the nearby village of Pete. Farming allows the farmers to diversify their income and is especially suitable for women as they can easily integrate the activities around household and childcare duties.
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