So there we were…riding the ferry through the bright blue waters of the Indian Ocean, anxiously awaiting our arrival to the magical island of Zanzibar. Stepping down off the boat, the winding streets and exotic feel of Stone Town made it hard to think about ever leaving this alluring place.
A few hours off the coast of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, sits the Zanzibar archipelago, a small chain of islands surrounded by crystal clear blue water and white sand beaches. Zanzibar, being the largest and most visited island, had been on our minds since landing in Nairobi a few months ago and after reaching the base of Kilimanjaro, it was all we could think about.
Stone Town, the heart of soul of Zanzibar, was an easy place to use as a base to explore the island. The cobblestone streets wind through old historic buildings, mosques and shops. We wandered for hours getting lost in the narrow, colorful streets of the city. Stone Town was East Africa, India, and The Middle East all rolled into one – like no place we have ever seen. After a few days exploring the capital, it was time to head out to the beach.
After renting a car, we headed east to the small village of Jambiani. The turquoise water and laid back vibe of this part of the island was just what we had been looking for. The ever-changing tide creates a stunning ocean backdrop of blue/green waters coming and going throughout the day. Dhows (local fishing boats) glide back and forth making the scenery picture perfect as you relax in the sand. Wanting to stay longer, but having to get the rental car back, we drove back to Stone Town, dropped off the car and then headed north to explore another part of the island.
A quick mini bus ride brought us up to Kendwa where we quickly found out the vibe is very different from Jambiani. With no major tides coming or going, you can swim here all day drawing a much more lively crowd of people. We met some great people (including someone from Colorado!) on the mini bus up to Kendwa and spent the next few days loungin’ at the beach during the day and then partying at the beach bars each night with them. We happened to be there when one of the popular full-moon parties was going on, which provided for a great night of dancing and Konyagi (local poison) drinking. We are looking forward to seeing how the FM party compares to Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Sun-baked and utterly relaxed, it was hard to convince ourselves it was time to leave such a lovely island. But with a tentative schedule to keep, we knew it was time to move on. Back to Stone Town and on the ferry to the mainland, we said goodbye to Zanzibar, hoping one day to return and experience its charm all over again.
- Getting lost in the streets of Stone Town and visiting the Forodhani Gardens, the night food market serving fresh fish, meat and Zanzibari pizzas
- Dudes Guesthouse in Jambiani where we had our own kitchen and a great room along with a cute dog who accompanied us to dinner on the beach and then walked us home
- Fun nights at the beach bars in Kendwa with good company
- The vomit party on the fast ferry back from Zanzibar to the mainland (we took the slow ferry going out and it was much easier on the stomach). Luckily we were supplied with “sick” bags, which locals and tourists alike used throughout the 90 minute journey.