In going to Zanzibar, I didn’t realize I would be amongst mostly Italian tourists. Walking through the villages, the children all were yelling “Ciao, ciao”. I am sure there is an easy direct flight from Italy which makes it a popular tourist destination for them.
The first day we spent exploring Stone Town. This was the old town on the west coast with ancient looking buildings where you could see the all the different influences of Arab, Persian, Indian and European culture. The heart of Stone Town is characterized by narrow, whindy roads where often a car wouldn’t fit. Most of the locals either road mopeds or bicycles around town. One of the most prominent features of the architecture was the elaborate doors. I loved getting lost in the town and looking at the doors with intricate carvings and ones with big brass studs (Indian influence). The bright colors around town were also a nice contrast to the old wood and often neutral colored buildings. Most of the population there is still Muslim so I enjoyed seeing how different the attire was than what people wear in Nairobi.
After Stone Town we took a daladala (the Zanzibar equivalent of a bus but open air and they try and pack twice as many people in than really should be) to the northeast side of the island. There we enjoyed spending time at the beach and relaxing. What was amazing about the beach was that at low tide, the water went out probably about a mile so the beach was covered with just a small layer of water. The women would sit in this layer of water and have little seaweed farms where they would tie seaweed to rope and sticks to grow which would be later sold. The farms are made up of little sticks in neat rows in the warm, shallow water. Ropes are tied between the sticks and the seaweed seedlings are strung between the two. I wish I would have taken more photos of the women out in their seaweed farms but I was afraid of dropping my camera in the water (I’m too much of a spaz…). Here is a nice little video if you want to see more about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YogNrbSwrI0
Our last night in Zanzibar, we went to dinner at this resort below called “the Rock”. At high tide you have to take a boat to get there but at low tide you are able to walk. It was the most amazing little island with just 8 little condos and one little restaurant. We went early to watch the sun set over the water and were pleasantly surprise to also get to see the moon rise (which I didn’t even know could happen). My camera unfortunately was unable to capture the big orange moon as it rose over the ocean, but it was one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen in my life.Old buildings, seaweed farms, moon rise and clear waters made for a wonderful trip to Zanzibar. My Tanzania visa is good for a year so may be worth making another trip back if time permits!