I spent a week of, let’s call it hard core chilling, in Zanzibar before heading on to the mainland for a 5 day safari (the post about the safari will follow). My friend Anja joined me for these two weeks. We chose to spend the first days on a beach far from Stonetown because foreigners were given the advice to avoid it during the re-elections (20th of March) out of fear of possible tensions. Luckily, there were no issues at all – we only saw a group of people near Matemwe who turned out to be celebrating, not demonstrating –  but it was a good excuse to go to the beach.

Matemwe

Every day was a hard effort of… getting up, having breakfast, laying on the sun loungers until lunch, after lunch going snorkeling or kayaking, and then having dinner. I also met some friends again who were staying in a hostel close by. Matemwe is a place to literally see nobody besides very few tourists and some beach boys selling tours cheaper than the hotel. So relaxing.

 

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Stonetown

We walked around a bit in Stonetown to buy some post cards and souvenirs, see the church at the site of the former slave market and … then we just felt so hot that we had to go back to the beach!

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That’s how we felt in the heat in Stonetown

Mbweni beach

The tide was high when we arrived at the beach, the water was calm and neither too hot nor too cold and we were in paradise. I thought it would be fun for Anja to try out local transport and we took a daladala (truck with a roof in this case). We were quite stuck in the corner and decided to go back by taxi, which made us feel a bit VIP: the taxi was actually big enough for 6 people and had video clips with African music.

 

Safari Blue

My friend Katrina highly recommended to do the day trip Safari Blue, so we did (even if not with the official tour company). It seems that we got the same service, except that we had to carry our snorkeling material ourselves and we didn’t get a welcome dance once we arrived on Kwale island. (Possibly the toilets would be nicer on the official tour.) Besides that everybody seemed to offer the same service and despite around 15 boats doing the same tour they were surprisingly well  organised to arrive at different times so that it didn’t seem crowded at any of the stops. The tour includes:

-transport to Fumba

-wading to the boat through water I thought would be mined with sea urchins, but actually we were lucky enough to hardly see any. Bathing shoes are highly recommended, I didn’t have any though… and was fine.

-chilling on the sand bank in front of Kwale island to snorkel, have some fresh fruit and sit in the shade provided by a tarp that the guide set up.

-some more snorkeling (Another participant preferred to stay in the boat and offered to use her mouth piece. Never ever accept to snorkel with one of these strange mouth pieces that has a hole! It fills up with water… I also found out that the only way to avoid a sunburn is wearing leggings and a long sleeve shirt.)

-eating seafood on Kwale island and climbing on the Baobab tree for a picture

-swimming in a mangrove forest bay

-We were so glad we had taken motion sickness pills before the rocky boat trip back to Fumba. I’m pretty sure we were the only boat full of Germans who all spoke a different dialect and who started singing while getting soaked by the waves. Our guide spoke German, but probably improving his German with us wouldn’t have been a very good idea…

-transport back: when we came back to the shore our taxi driver already waited for us to bring us back to stonetown

The official tour is 75$ and the office is at Jaws corner in Stonetown, which I only realized once I had already booked with a different provider. Alternatively, it’s possible to contact them online (through the Safari Blue website).

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Last Goodbye to Zanzibar

I also met some friends whom I met in Moshi and during my last stay in Zanzibar, said goodbye to my host mum and to my Swahili teacher, went to a rooftop bar I didn’t know (Tausi Palace Hotel, it has very nice views and cheap beer), and felt pretty weird when I left, knowing I wouldn’t come back before a long time.

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