Monday, 18 February 2013

Tanzania Dreaming - Part 2: Zanzibar

Zanzibar door - Indian trader
Couple of days later we were off to Zanzibar for a couple of days staying at Stone Town. Even for an experienced traveler Zanzibar offers something unique. Stone Town is a maze of narrow alleys with a variety of shops selling just about anything but one of the interesting aspects is the locals going about their everyday activities in this place like no other.  

The narrow alleys of Stone Town. 
The Zanzibar doors are an attraction on its own and it’s all over Stone Town.  The story of doors goes back to the days of the slave traders. The arched doors with the copper knobs were used by the Indian traders while the rectangular doors with the chains signify the Arab slave traders.    

Zanzibar door - Arab trader
A walk around Stone Town’s alleys checking out the local markets and shops is interesting but there are a few historical sites that are a must. Amongst the horrific crimes committed against Africa, the slave trade was surely the worst. Zanzibar played a vital role in the Slave trade by playing host to the slave markets and shipping points for slaves rounded up in East Africa. The ‘slave chambers’ offer a moving insight into the awful slave trade and a must visit. 
The slave chambers is a moving and must visit. 
The Stone Town Museum showcases some aspects of life in ancient Zanzibar and its rulers and worth a visit. The House of Wonders is an over rated sight but it did have the first elevator in Africa. In front of the House of Wonders is Forodhani gardens which host the famous sea food barbecue each evening. 
Sea food barbecue like no other. 
The sheer amount and choice of food is mind blowing but it’s also apparent that all this food will not be sold out each night which can result in an inevitable run to the toilet. Zanzibar pizza is probably the safest option and with toppings such as nutella and banana, it’s a pizza like no other.   

Forodhani gardens in front of the house of wonders is the only place for dinner.
Even if you are familiar with white sand beaches and blue water, it’s worth checking out Zanzibar beaches up the east coast in Nungwi. The beaches here are all day swimming beaches unlike the beaches on the east side of the Island which are dependent upon the tides.
White sand and blue water beaches of Zanzibar. 
 The final attraction of Zanzibar is the spice gardens which together with the beaches give it the exotic spice island name and one of the top destinations in the world. The spice gardens are 30 minute drive from Stone Town where you are able to see all your kitchen spices such as cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, ginger and even vanilla growing in its natural form. 

Tropical fruits on sale on the streets of Zanzibar. 
<< Part 1: Arriving in Dar                                   Part 3: Heading to Arusha >>

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