30 – Beach Bumming in Zanzibar

30 – Beach Bumming in Zanzibar

As soon as we knew we would be spending several months in East Africa, several ‘bucket list places’ were added to our list of places to go; one of which was the Zanzibar Archipelago (off the coast of Tanzania).

After catching up on our beauty sleep, we headed out to explore the narrow streets of Stone Town. Some four hundred thousand tourists walk those same streets every year! We passed souvenir and clothing* boutiques as we ticked off Stonetown’s iconic sites: a cathedral, beaches, an old fort and a pretty park overlooking the sea…

*Heather bought a new floor-length skirt to replace the one she left at Claire’s house (see article N°20). It was super hot and she did not fancy staying in trousers the whole time. Zanzibar, like Lamu, has a conservative Muslim population, so to respect the locals, it is best not to show off your shoulders or knees (unless on the beach!).

Stone Town was like a bigger, cleaner, more touristy Lamu (article N°19). It had the same Swahili houses with ornately decorated wooden doors (though these ones had swarms of tourists in front). Shame we could not take a beautiful door or mirror back with us!

After a couple of nights in Stonetown, we decided to go explore the island’s east coast. Tourists tend to travel by taxi, we travelled by Dala-dala (minibuses). To get to our first destination (Paje), we had to take two buses: the first to the outskirts of Stonetown (Mwanakerekwe), the second directly to Paje. Stopping at Mwanakerekwe gave us a chance to see ‘behind the scenes’ of Zanzibar. Locals lived in small houses made from brick and corrugated iron, surrounded by rubbish filled streams. Here there were no luxury boutiques, only lively markets.

Zanzibari children on a Dalla-dalla (they rather liked our rubber ring “Tutti-Frutti”!)

We spent two days on the coast, mainly relaxing under the palm trees and swimming in turquoise waters (when the tide was not out!). Swimming in the sea was lots of fun, though it was like swimming in a warm bath! We could see why Zanzibar is known as a honeymoon destination.

Despite much of the island being occupied by luxury resorts, and our ferry tickets being expensive, it was still possible to eat well and find accommodation on a tight budget. We generally ate where the locals ate (yummy seafood) and stayed hydrated on fresh fruit juices and coconuts!

When staying in Michamvi, we visited a famous restaurant called The Rock. As the name suggests, it is situated on a rock, in the sea. When the tide is high, the only way to access it is by boat. Sure, the restaurant was pretty, but the real attraction was sitting on the beach watching tourists queue up for a photo! Girls dressed in fancy swooshy dresses posed in front of the restaurant, not leaving until they got the perfect shot for their social media accounts. The restaurant’s boat kept going to the shore and back to drop off and collect clients. We had dinner at a restaurant opposite The Rock, where we enjoyed people watching!

The Rock at low tide
The Rock at high tide with its boat
Maybe because of the seaweed?! 😆

Back in Stone Town, we stopped by the famous fish market for dinner, treating ourselves to fish, and calamari, crab and octopus kebab skewers. We also sipped on sugarcane juice as we tried a vegetarian Zanzibar Pizza (a bit like a folded savoury pancake, filled with cheese, veggies and egg). Soaking up the atmosphere whilst we savoured yummy food was a great way of finishing off our tour of this legendary island.

Stonetown’s Fish Market

The next day we took the ferry back to Dar es Salaam. Soon we would be leaving the East African Coast to head inland.

Goodbye Zanzibar 👋

See the slideshow below for more photos…

2 Replies to “30 – Beach Bumming in Zanzibar”

  1. Oh my, how magnificent is that sea? I like the sound of all the seafood. Yum yum. I am pretty sure this is where Granny and Grandpa honeymooned in June some 58 years ago (I think). Xxx

  2. I’ve been catching up with your adventures over the past few days. What an amazing time you are having and I’ll bet not missing Paris one bit. Robyn says hello from Australia where she is holidaying and hopefully woring till the end of September when she comes back for the birth of Megan and Steves child, our first grandchild. Loving the updates..I wish Robyn had thought of this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *