It was my fifth trip to Zanzibar and the beaches always leave me awestruck with their crystal clear turquoise waters and powder white sand. Kiwengwa which is where I stayed last time, has been my favourite beach so far but Nungwi is also beautiful.
Nungwi is less touristy and if you walk through the village you will get a sense of local life there. You will find fisherman making nets, Cows grazing, children playing football on the beach and women cooking on fires outside their houses. The beaches are stunning but just not as well maintained in areas, often you see unsightly piles of rubbish.
I stayed at the Kajibange Bar and Guesthouse and highly recommend it if you want a chilled vibe. It is not a plush or pretentious resort, but instead a super relaxed environment. It captured my beach vibe perfectly, it had hammocks and casual dining options on the beach and the rooms were thatched huts constructed amongst wild palm trees. The rooms were really spacious however I did not get hot water despite them saying its hot 24/7. A cold shower is a great way to end a hot beach day though so I wasn’t complaining.
Food in Zanzibar is divine! Octopus and Calamari are the most popular dishes, I enjoyed them as well as the fresh fish. If your not a seafood lover you will have quite limited options however there are options nonetheless! The resort I stayed at had good food and if you walk down Nungwi beach there are plenty of resorts where you can stop to dine. Gerry’s beach bar just opened next door to Kajibange and if you keep walking that way then you will eventually come to A beach bar called Cholo’s which is nice for a night out.
Coastal Zanzibar is definitely worth exploring if you love beaches, the Blue Safari was a real highlight for me and I highly recommend going if you get the chance. You get the chance to see whales and dolphins and go snorkling in crystal clear waters teeming with sealife! I also recommend tearing yourself away from the beach for a day to go and explore the melting pot that is Stone Town.
First Church in Zanzibar
Monument at Former Slave Market
The doors of Zanzibar
The main street of Stonetown
Where the locals gather for shows on holidays
Love the character of the houses
The doors of Zanzibar
Once you have feasted your eyes on the white sandy beaches of Zanzibar, it is difficult to pull yourself away to explore Stone Town. Without a tour of Stone Town however, your trip to Zanzibar will be incomplete. The town captures the history of the city and the unique fusion of cultures that cannot be found anywhere else. The culture is an amalgamation of African, Arab and Indian which you will notice in the food, clothes, handicrafts and even the people.
Stone Town will either fill you with intrigue or it will make you want to run away. The colonial architecture is beautiful but tainted by the poorly maintained exteriors of the buildings. Make sure you get a tour-guide or research as you wont have a clue otherwise.
I learnt so many interesting facts about Zanzibar on the tour however the former slave market overshadowed everything. Everything the tour guide said pulled at my heartstrings and it made me realize how much we had failed as Humanity. Of course I was aware of the slave trade well before this trip, however learning the details and facts made me feel sick to my stomach. As we stood in a room where the ceiling was so low I had to bend down, he explained that this is where slaves were held for weeks and months on end until somebody bought them. They were starved and chained together as a means to test them. They had no toilets no amenities, they were crammed in like sardines into a space that wasn’t even big enough for me to stand in.
The energy in the room made me feel sick, I shuddered at the thought of what these four walls had witnessed, how much suffering this tiny room had endured, how humankind had inflicted this on their own, how people were treated worse then animals. They were given very little food and it was survival of the fittest. They were whipped and tortured as a test to see who was strongest and those who screamed were sold for less or simply just left to die.
It was heartbreaking to listen to and part of me was relieved to move on to the markets. Although there are many tourists, Stone Town is full of locals. You will find them at the many markets doing the daily shopping. There is a market full of artisanal handcrafts, meat, fish and vegetable markets and also Foradhani gardens. Foradhani was my favourite! A streetfood market on the waterfront that comes alive after 5pm. There is a delicious selection of local favourites such as zanzibar pizza, zanzibar mix, grilled skewers of various meats and seafood and plenty of other dishes. I tried all of the above and recommend them all!
Stone Town definitely has an eerie feel to it for me, I loved exploring it but wouldn’t stay there too long. I am definitely a beachbum and those beaches are too good to miss! You will see them in my next post.
Ciao for now x