Travels: Zanzibar

1 Apr

Continuing on from my previous travels post, I’ve got a bit to share with you from my trip to Zanzibar. I spent a week on the island, starting with 2 nights at Mbweni Ruins hotel, 2 nights at Chumbe Island Coral Reserve and 2 nights at Warere Town House in Stone Town.

This was my first experience of ‘proper’ Africa (it was very different to Morocco and South Africa with their strong connections to European culture). The prices of the resorts we stayed at were heavily inflated, and Stone Town was the other extreme – we stayed at a backpackers guest house with daily power cuts and no back up generator.

The highs were beautiful sunsets and warm waters, but the lows were tourist-savvy locals, polluted beaches and mediocre resorts at high prices.

Stone Town is a UNESCO world heritage site and did have it’s own cultural beauty, but it isn’t being maintained even with tourism bringing in a large amount of the island’s income. I loved walking around the House of Wonders – a Sultan’s home (the first to have running water and lifts) – now a “museum” in a loose sense of the term; I was the only visitor at the time, nearly all the exhibits were shut and there was a thick layer of dust on the bannister as I walked up the grand, ornately carved, mahogany staircase. The whole experience had some odd charm about it.

I also fell for the handful of Aladdin’s cave style Curio’s – even if I was sneezing every couple of minutes. I am a sucker for a broken 19th century timepiece and empty food/cigarette tins with their lovely vintage typography and imagery.

kilimanjaroFlying from Nairobi to Zanzibar we got an epic view of Mount Kilimanjaro

beach umbrella sunsetBeach Sunset at Mbweni Ruins Hotel

way to chum beOn the way to Chumbe Island

chumbe arrival lighthouse

Arrival to Chumbe Island (it really reminded me of the Lost Island!)

DSC09609Inside our Eco-bungalow

bungalowsEco-Bungalows

forodhani sunsetSunset from Forodhani Gardens, Stone Town

turtlesSeriously cute turtles at Jozeni Turtle Reserve

jozeni monkeyAnd cute monkeys at Jozeni Forest

stone townStreets of Stone Town – beautiful carvings

zanzibar doorOne of Stone Towns ornately carved doors – and me in my Traveller gear!

Curio StonetownAn amazing old till (and old divers helmet to the right of it!) in one of Stone Town’s Curio’s.

I’d definitely recommend a short visit to Zanzibar alongside a safari, but don’t go out of your way to get there.

Have you been to Zanzibar? Do you agree with my overall perception? Let me know in the comments section.

LDNshopaholic xxx

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