Zanzibar – Island in the Indian Ocean

by Kayla Magazine
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We’re flying to Zanzibar today. This is heaven on earth and it is difficult to argue with that. We will see the most beautiful places, taste the most delicious food and get to know the culture. If you don’t live in Florida or Spain, Zanzibar is a great place to get away from cold weather.

A Boat trip to Zanzibar

We landed at Dar es Salam airport, headed to the marina and sailed to Zazibar. It took us one hour to get here. We arrived on the east side of Kiwengwa Beach. In the scale of Zanzibar it is a quite small beach, with several larger hotels and small apartment buildings run by Italians.

When you walk along the beach in the south, you can see fishermen coming back from the ocean with their catch. I got fresh fish, squid, and octopus from them. They’ve cleaned the fish before selling it, and processed the octopus in a strange way. They roll it on the sand and beat it with a cudgel to make it relax and widen the tentacles. Seafood is really cheap here. The biggest fish costs about $3. An octopus that weighs one kilo costs the same.

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Fruits grown in Zanzibar are the best on the planet

If you live on the coast, you can walk or take a scooter taxi to the street market, to buy fruits at reasonable prices, grown in Zanzibar. We ate the most delicious pineapples, mangoes, papayas and passion fruits every day. All fruits were naturally ripe and very sweet. You can also buy large avocados, pomelo grapefruits or coconuts for pennies. Zanzibar is a real paradise for those who love organic fruits.

Seaweed farming in Zanzibar

All oceanfront real estate belongs to foreigners. Locals’ houses are a bit farther away. They live their lives here: wash clothes, graze cows and work. Local children enjoy swimming in the ocean if it is not at low tide. Tides are twice a day here. The seaweed grown by locals can be seen at low tide. The women tie the seaweed to the bottom with ropes and leave it to mature. Once it is ready, they take them ashore. You can see dozens of seaweed hanging on the beach. After drying, they are sold or exported. These seaweed are used to make snacks, foods and medicine.

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School girls

I rented a scooter and left to explore the island of Zanzibar. I met a fisherman with a huge tuna on his scooter on my way. He proudly took it to the restaurant for sale. I drove to Nungwi beach in the North. The water looked crystal clear to me and local kids enjoyed bathing in it. The man smoked his boat to make it more airtight. I visited the Maasai market. It was very hot outside, so I bought a coconut to cool off.

The next day, I left to see the monkeys and walked through the paths of local swamps. I saw the strange roots of the trees here.

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Kite-surfing in Zanzibar / Image by Kitereisen from Pixabay

Stone town – the main city of Zanzibar

I took a trip to the largest city in Zanzibar – Stone Town. Here I walked through the narrow streets, I saw many doors with interesting patterns, local sellers and also the house where the famous singer Freddie Mercury lived.

I visited a fishermen’s town. At the city entrance stands a market where local women sell fruits, and next to them men repair and knit nets. I saw the fishermen return from the ocean, counting their catch and preparing it for sale. The beach was lined with shells, making it difficult to walk.

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The giant baobab tree

Afterwards I drove to the other beaches with my scooter and I nicknamed it one-ear, because it had just one mirror. When the ocean is at low tide, the beach becomes a major road. It is rare to be able to ride through a beach in other countries, but it is possible here. On my way to one of the most gorgeous beaches in Zanzibar, I found the biggest baobab tree I’ve ever seen in my life right next to the road. It was so wide that it was difficult to even understand how it managed to grow up like that.

I found out that Baobab trees can withstand drought, fire or termites and damaged bark regenerates. They are commonly called trees that grow upside down, because the branches are similar to the roots of trees. Locals say that if you pick off a bloom of baobab, you will be eaten by a lion, but if you eat baobab seeds, you will be protected from crocodiles.

Mtende beach

The beautiful beach of Mtende was at low tide when we arrived, so we decided to go for a walk. The ocean has carved out the rocks so much that it has formed a truly magical bay. Small but very angry jellyfish can swim here, so be very careful. Local Maasai men were making flower decorations for an upcoming tourist wedding at this beach.

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Wedding / Image by darkeyed from Pixabay

Wedding in Zanzibar

As I drove down the street, I saw dozens of colorfully dressed local women walking somewhere. It turned out the wedding was going on. All women arrived here by cars and buses from all over the Island of Zanzibar. Shortly after the ceremony, all men walked to the mosque to pray, and the women left to celebrate. There wasn’t a big party. They came to greet the spouses, sat under the banana trees and talked to each other. These women looked very beautiful to me. So many different colors. I would get into serious trouble if I took photos of women without the permission of their husbands in such a strict religious country as Pakistan. However, all was good here.

Maasai

You can chat with people from the Maasai tribes if you want. Maasai people are friendly and hang out at the beaches. They arrive here from the surrounding areas of Mount Kilimanjaro. There they graze livestock all year round in the Kilimanjaro region. It is their greatest asset. Maasai arrive in Zanzibar when the Island is crowded with tourists. They sell souvenirs made during the year. Maasai guys look really exotic, with red cloaks, jewelry, daggers and spectacular hairstyles.

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Maasai
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Swahili – the language of Zanzibar

One of our (many) favourite things about Zanzibar is the passion for their local language: Swahili. We were surprised at the amount of words we had learned just after one day. This is because the locals love sharing their language with you and repeat everything to you in Swahili until you learn! The best part about Swahili is a lot of the language is already embedded in ‘The Lion King.’

Hakuna Matata – Take it easy
Simba – Lion
Rafiki – Friend
Pumbaa – Foolish
Nala – Gift
Jumbo – Hello
Asante – Thank you
Twende – Let’s go
Pole Pole – Slowly Slowly
Mzungu – White person

The best things to do in Zanzibar

Zanzibar has the most idyllic beaches, beautiful nature and pleasant people. The locals are very friendly. Say ‘Jambo’ when you pass! The best decision is to travel around the Island and visit:

Paja beach, Mtende beach, Matemwe, Stone town, sail to the Prison Island, Nungwi village, Spice farms, Jozani Forest Reserve, Blue Lagoon, Rock Restaurant, Mnemba Island.

If you have time for a longer vacation, you can fly from Zanzibar to Kilimanjaro and visit Serengeti National Park. The places to visit in Tanzania: Safari in Savana, Mikumi National park, Maasai village, Morogoro, Uluguru Mountains.

The Island of Zanzibar is an African Paradise! Amazing people, clear turquoise water, tropical breezes, beautiful sunsets, delicious food and great vibes in the Indian Ocean. Hakuna Matata – take it easy, as the locals say! Life’s a beach…

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