From our chosen destinations lately, I’d dare to claim that we’re more beach person than mountain person.
And if we could categorize the beach person kind of type, we are leaning towards island person. Simply because we’re more excited to explore smaller islands. This is also part of why we were so excited to go to Zanzibar!
Overview About Zanzibar
Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa, and a popular holiday destination for tourists from Europe and Africa. We stayed 3 nights there, and after some browsing, we decided to stay at a more quiet area on the eastern side of Zanzibar, an area called Jambiani. Most of the resorts are located on the northern side of the island. Our hotel was called Mamamapambo, a 6-rooms beach boutique hotel heavily decorated with authentic beach-African style, which was the main reason why we chose the hotel. Our room was so Moroccan-African, we loved it! Jambiani is famous for its strong wind, therefore there are many spots of kite-surfing there. On the first day, we went to walk along the shore. The sand there is very soft unlike anywhere we’ve been! We met some locals on the beach, which were very friendly waving and saying hi to us.
How We Get Around
To get around in Zanzibar, it is very convenient to rent a car so you can easily go around. However, we learned later that it was not common for tourists to rent a car – maybe because you have to apply for a local license in order to be able to drive on the island. There were several police checks along the main road, so better taketall your documents with you. We rented a 4×4 and were not regretting that because the sandy roads of Zanzibar can be quite a challenge.
What We Did In Zanzibar
On the second day we went snorkeling, and the starting point was on the northern side of the island – Mengwi area. We went with 10 others, from the hotel to the snorkeling spot using a motor rubber boat. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side and it was a very bumpy ride. I sat at the front end of the boat, and it was the part which got shaken a lot. We stopped near Mnemba island to start our snorkeling trip. A little story about the island, rumour has it that it was once owned by Bill Gates, and is now managed by andBeyond for its ulltra luxury barefoot resort. Of course snorkelers are not allowed to get near the island.
Due to the effect of the bumpy ride and wavy water, I got seasick and only managed to snorkel for 5 minutes. I was the first to go back to the boat and decided to sleep while waiting for the others. After two hours, the rain came and we went back to the main island. The journey was even bumpier this time, in addition it was windy and cold, plus all of us were wet. I was so happy when we touched the sand!
After the tough snorkeling trip, we went to a Pizzeria that the Italian lady at the snorkeling shop recommended, and it was one very delicious pizza meal! It felt so rewarding 😀
Our other highlight was a dinner at The Rock Restaurant. Try to google Zanzibar, and probably the picture of the restaurant is what will come up. It was a unique restaurant located on top of a rock, and probably the only off shore restaurant in the world. We arrived right before sunset, and it was a very picturesque view. I was in awe. I was so blessed with several magical moments this year, and this is one of them. We were lucky that we came when the tide was high, so we had to take a boat to go to the restaurant. The food prep was efficient (they had an adequate list of food and drinks) and the service was good, despite some bad comments on Googlemaps.
On the last day, we allocated several hours before the airport to stroll around in Stone Town. It was the most crowded area in Zanzibar as well as the old town area of the island. It was located on the central west of the island. Stonetown was famous as the slave trade capital back on the 19th century, and the current architectural blend of Arab, Persian, Indian and European qualified it as UNESCO Heritage Site. Looking at the Stonetown map, most of the area consists of narrow alleys of houses, mosques, and small stores. It’s best to stroll around the area by foot, as it is not that big.
Stone Town seriously needs some major cleaning and restoration. However, you can really tell that this town kept an extensive history. We were in awe of Stone Town’s architectural features, and their doors! The doors are a feature that stood out. The fanciest ones are studded – called Indian doors, it said to protect the house from war against the elephants back then.
Below are places we’ve been:
- Delicious pizza restaurant, called Mama Mia – Nungwi
- Our hotel in Zanzibar is Mamamapambo – Jambiani
- The Rock Restaurant, the epic floating restaurant – Pingwe, reservations needed
- We booked our snorkeling tour through Team Aqua Zanzibar, the team organized the trip well, only the weather luck was not on our side that day.
- Awesome fusion restaurant in Stone Town, Beyt Al Salaam