Things to do, When You ‘Get Lost’ in Zanzibar
Who would mind to get lost in Zanzibar? Not me and you neither.
Well, I could say that visiting Zanzibar was one of most memorable trips I ever had. Even though I come from a country having 17 thousands islands on the whole, Zanzibar gave me other experiences and perspectives of East African coastal areas and showed how the locals live peacefully in the island. So, if you’re wonder what I did during my five days visit in Zanzibar, you may take a look down here:
Get Lost in Never Ending Labyrinth of Stone Town
On my first visit, I was accompanied by Yusuf, a local tour guide recommended by the hotel where I stayed in. Yusuf is a very nice guy, I couldn’t find any complains about him, nevertheless, as most of trips I did, I prefer to explore the place myself, walking like crazy, stopping and eating wherever I wanted to. Moreover, there was a special satisfaction I felt when I was able successfully to find some places I’d like to visit. It’s like find a treasure in the hidden island. Old Stone Town is filled with many, maybe hundred narrow alleys, with stone houses at left and the right side. Beside settlement of the urbane, you could fine many inside, such as craft shops, book store, hotels, the old fort, restaurants and café where you could enjoy Swahili cuisine or just taste a cup of coffee. For more photos of Stone Town, you can check it here.
Visiting Former Slave Market and Anglican Church
This is the world’s last open slave market where slaves from east and central Africa region were brought and sold. On 8 June 1873, the trade was stopped by decree from Sultan of Zanzibar, following appeal made by Dr. Livingstone in 1857 to liberate Africa from slavery. The church itself, located to the next the former slave market. I explained about these two places at previous post that you could check here.
House of Wonders
It is one of the most prominent buildings in old Stone Town. It was built in 1883 by the order of Sultan Barghash Bin Said for ceremonial purpose. It is among the first buildings built in East Africa using electricity and tap water. Old elevator is still there, even though I’m not sure it’s still functioned well. Today, the government has converted the building into museum of Zanzibar history and Swahili civilization. Nonetheless, I was a bit disappointed when I entered the building where many rooms inside looked not maintained well.
The Palace Museum, Beit El Sahel
It’s a large white building, built in the late 1890’s for members of Sultan’s family. In 1991, it became the official resident of Sultan Zanzibar, but after the revolution in 1964, its name was changed with People’s Palace. Today, the palace is turned into museum and dedicated to the history of Zanzibar’s Sultan where visitors can see Sultan’s possessions.
Zanzibar Hand Craft Exhibition Building
When I was there, there was no exhibition. However, you got nothing to lose to see since there’s no entrance fee to enter the building.
Watching sunset and Eating at Forodhani Garden
This is a wonderful evening food bazaar. If you’re not afraid of local food, this place is definitely worth to visit when you’re ‘stranded’ in Zanzibar. Get all your favorite sea foods, such as shrimp, squids, octopus, and barracuda and don’t miss Zanzibar cuisine like cassava, samosas and sweet potatoes. The price is cheap and reasonable. In addition, you can interact with the locals too. In my last night, I got free pizza given by pizza vendor himself after questioning me so many questions about Indonesia.
Shopping at Local Market As Locals
You could find many vegetables and fruits here, fresh and cheap price too. If you want to taste fresh mangos, oranges, pineapples and many more, you don’t need to go to the restaurants expecting you to pay with the tourist and expat price. Just come to local market where you can shop as locals and get them and save your cash for another day.
Feeding Giant Tortoises in Prison Island
No. There’s no prisoner in this island. OK. In the past, hundreds years ago, this island was used as prison for rebellion slaves. Nonetheless, today, this small island is a home for tortoises with the support of Zanzibar government and World Animal Protection. If you come at the right time, you can feed the tortoise with the salads as I did. You could bring your swim suits too if you want to swim in the blue Indian Ocean sea.
Driving Around the Island
I was broken-hearted, when I saw one email coming to my inbox in one morning. It was from my ex, sent me his wedding invitation held for the next two months. I was fine with that and happy for him. But still, it was enough to put my spirit down and gave me a bad hair day to start a day. But, Hey. I’m in Zanzibar right now. Forget about that broken-hearted email. Go out, enjoy the sun and make your day. So, instead of being lazy for the whole day, I went out from my room, asked the receptionist if he could arrange to rent a car for me. Today, I’m going to explore the whole island.
A young man named Hussein came to pick me. He’s driver who took me around the island. The island is about 85 kilometres (53 mi) long and 39 kilometres wide that just took a day to drive around. I had no particular places to visit (hello. I don’t need to spend whole day sitting on the beach, seeing couples having honeymoon and thinking about my ex who’s getting married). Instead, I just want to see the island as a whole, passing the villages and see the people. The road is really good for African standard. Seriously, I couldn’t find any pot-holes along the way. Like houses in Stone town, houses in the villages were also built from local stone and has similar shapes to others. Rain came when we reached Nungwi village, at the northern part of Zanzibar. Some school kids running away, tried to avoid the rain coming heavily. You can find a lot of beach resorts in Nungwi giving happy hour for those party lovers.
Beside Nungwi, Hussein also took me to Jambiani beach where I had fantastic lunch (too bad, I didn’t remember the name of restaurant). Unlike Nungwi, Jambiani seems more quite and relax. I also met some Maasai men in Jambiani. No wonder, since Tanzania shares the border with Kenya where the Maasai live.
So, what do you think? Are you interested to visit Zanzibar? Grab your passport and fly there and enjoy your trip in African exotic Tropical Island.