|Fishing dhows on the Zanzibari beach|
We had actually planned to go to Mikumi NP for the long weekend, but with the car breakdown a couple of weeks ago, and having spent a lot of money the month before going to the Serengeti, we decided at the last moment to go to Zanzibar.
|Leaving Dar on the Kilimanjaro ferry|
Although a long weekend, and pretty busy, it was the rainy low season, so we were able to get accommodation fairly cheaply where we wanted to stay. We decided one night in the south of the island in Jambiani, then one night in Kendwa, and our last night in Stone Town.
Every place has its own unique appeal and we enjoyed each one of them thoroughly – so a bit about each one… we basically went through the guide book and looked for a good balance between location and value – well, we looked for the cheapest options ;)
We’d actually wanted to stay at the Hotel Red Colobus Monkey (apparently they have a troupe of monkeys that hang around the area) but through a mix up in phone numbers, we ended up arriving here in the middle of a thunderstorm. Still, we were given a lovely double storey wooden cabin that looks right over the beach – very romantic ;)
|The view from our cabin|
The whole setup is very rustic, with a menu to match, but the atmosphere is very tranquil and doesn’t have the hordes of visitors that the north has. The reason is probably because of the tides – it’s very extreme and was about a km out for most of the time that we were there. So there was no swimming except for the most determined individuals. We weren’t that keen, so lay on the beach under the bomas that are provided.
It’s a fabulous place if you want to just chill out and enjoy the scenery while relaxing. We spent a nice day doing nothing and waking up with the sea right there in the morning is absolutely fabulous! The cabin was $50 for the night for both of us, with breakfast included, but there are more upmarket lodges available right next if you’re looking for more luxury.
White Sands, Kendwa
The most popular place for holiday makers I’d say, if the crowds were anything to judge by. We arrived to a local organisation having their team building day, so the music started early – and it’s loud ;) The restaurant was pretty basic, and we only ate there once. The advantage is that there are a number of lodges right next to each other, so you can just walk across and have dinner or lunch in one of the others – which were a lot better with a bigger variety of Zanzibar meals.
|Catching some sun in Kendwa|
|Fishing dhow sailing under black skies|
The next morning we were up early and got a prime spot under the thatch roof on the beach – just as well, since it kept raining. Still, although there were thundershowers, they didn’t last too long before the sun would come out again. And because it doesn’t get cold, it’s not too bad. We spent the morning, and then lunch, on the beach enjoying the sun (when it was out) and watching the dhows carrying on their daily business of fishing. The scenery is lovely; you can see where all those postcards of white sands and turquoise sea come from!
The room was $50 for both of us, including a basic breakfast, and was fine – with air con working and a big bathroom – pretty good value for money, especially since you can walk to the other lodges for lunch and dinner.
After lunch in Kendwa we headed to Stone Town, about an hour’s taxi drive away. After finding our hotel, we wondered around the pier before having a couple of beers at Livingstone’s pub.
The setup of the place is pretty nice and you can sit on the deck under a grove of trees, but the real highlight is the view – but not what you expect ;) It right on the seafront, but it’s also where the ships dock to load and offload cars coming from the middle east on their way to the African mainland.
|Cars stuck being loaded onto the ship|
The entertainment comes in, when watching the guys try to load the cars, as the cars have to drive across about 30 meters of thick sand to get the cars or trucks onto the ship. They inevitably get stuck and is hilarious to watch the digging out. We spent about an hour just watching the chaos of trying to get these cars on the ships and the flurry of activity every time they got stuck.
|Making a Zanzibari pizza|
We had dinner at the Forodhani Gardens, an outdoor seafood restaurant that has a ton of different seafood, as well as Zanzibari pizzas. The prices are cheap and you can gorge yourself on chicken, beef, prawns, octopus, and all sorts of other kebabs. Well worth the visit! And for us a bargain, since our hotel was a short walk away.
|Seafood at Forodhani Gardens|
|Chill out at the Clove Hotel's upper lounge|
|Shopping in Stone Town|
|Chaos at the ferry|