Zanzibar Honeymoon

We had the best time!

Day 1: Arrival at Zanzaibar

Our flight was a direct flight from JHB to Zanzibar. When we arrived at the airport we were shocked to see the rustic, half built building. We stood in the hot, humid arrivals area waiting to pass through immigration. Once we had got through, we found our luggage. The luggage was brought in on a trolley and dropped in the middle of the room for all of the tourists to search through and find their luggage. We laughed… “only in Africa”… and then we were greeted by our amazing tour guide who took us to our airconned shuttle and took us to our amazing resort – Diamonds Mapenzi …zanzibar_0002zanzibar_0003We were greeted with Hibiscus juice and friendly staff who introduced themselves and told us a bit about the hotel and it’s facilities. We were then shown to our room… We quickly unpacked and made our way to the pool area to test out as many of their delicious cocktails as we could!!zanzibar_0004DCIM100GOPROGOPR2194.DCIM100GOPROGOPR2197.DCIM100GOPROGOPR2205.DCIM100GOPROGOPR2242.

Day 2: “Sea Safari”

Our second day in Zanzibar began with a “sea safari” with one of the “beach boys”. These guys know the ocean and their beach extremely well and offer to take you on a walk to the reef at low tide. Don’t be fooled by their friendly gestures to just “chat” – they do expect a very big tip at the end of the walk. We knew this and opted to walk ourselves, but one beach boy refused – and just as well he did! He knew all the pathways to get to the reef – these paths are lined with thousands of urchins which he pointed out as we walked. We learnt a lot about their sea creatures and the sea weed farms. Beach boys are technically not allowed to charge you so they mention a tip – ask your tour guide on arrival what amount of tips each service provider should get. Usually, one tips from $5 – $20 depending on the service – as we didn’t know this yet, our beach boys took advantage of this as we ended up giving them a very good tip!! We counted the experience as an excursion and enjoyed the rest of the day lounging by the pool and getting to know the hotel’s awesome staff and activities…DCIM100GOPROGOPR2254.“Sponge Ink” is what the locals call this sea slug type animal. If you squeeze it, it squirts ink – just like an octopus zanzibar_0017This is an urchin that can’t be touched at all! Look how beautiful the neon purple markings are on it?!zanzibar_0020This is a type of starfish that they call a “sea spider”. The rocks are covered with these – hundreds and thousands of them. With my fear of spiders, I was a little freaked out walking amongst them. zanzibar_0023Walking on the reef and learning about it’s ecosystem, the tides and the animals that live therezanzibar_0025zanzibar_0026zanzibar_0030zanzibar_0032Urchins urchins URCHINS!zanzibar_0033Our guides for the morning

Day 3: Spice Tour, Stone Town, Prison island:

We thoroughly enjoyed the Spice Tour and learning about all the spices and herbs that we usually cook with. The tour guides literally take roots and pieces from each plant for you to smell and keep – they explain how it grows & what is it used for. We found this very interesting…

zanzibar_0038zanzibar_0039zanzibar_0042zanzibar_0043zanzibar_0047zanzibar_0054“Pili pili” which means Chilli zanzibar_0059This is a seed that they use to paint their faces / add colour to food dishes…zanzibar_0060zanzibar_0063Bananas zanzibar_0067Tumeric zanzibar_0069Coffee beans and flowerszanzibar_0072This man sang as he climbed a tall palm tree – he grabbed a coconut from the top and offered it to us as a refreshment at the end of our tour.zanzibar_0074zanzibar_0075They made us these crowns etc out of palm leaves as we walked through the farm. At the end they gave the items to us as gifts – Tim’s tie could even loosen or tighten at the neck.

Next stop: Stone Town & Prison Island

We visited the Slave Museum and cathedral, walked around the town and then caught a boat to Prison Island to see the tortoises…

zanzibar_0082zanzibar_0084zanzibar_0086When the cathedral was built, the engineer went on holiday in the last two weeks of the building process and left the workers to finish the job. When he got back, he noticed that the pillars had been placed upside down.zanzibar_0088zanzibar_0091zanzibar_0094zanzibar_0107Freddie Mercury’s childhood homezanzibar_0110zanzibar_0111Leaving for Prison Islandzanzibar_0116Prison Islandzanzibar_0120zanzibar_0121zanzibar_0125zanzibar_0130zanzibar_0142zanzibar_0151

Day 4: Beach walks, relaxation, sea kayaking and ending the day off with a pool side dinner at the hotel.zanzibar_0163DCIM100GOPROGOPR2292.DCIM100GOPROGOPR2293.DCIM100GOPROGOPR2296.zanzibar_0173zanzibar_0175

Day 5: Safari Blue

Highly recommended!! Safari Blue was one of the highlights of our trip. We took a dhow to a deserted island where we snorkelled two reefs just off the island. We then had lunch on the island and explored the 100 year old Baobab trees. Our guides then took us into a mangrove lake to swim in on our way home. What a beautiful experience!!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2310.Walking to the dhowsDCIM100GOPROGOPR2311.Our dhow was stuck on a sand bank so we all had to lean on the left side of the dhow as much as we could to get it off the sandDCIM100GOPROGOPR2328.Deep sea snorkelling – reef 1DCIM100GOPROGOPR2409.Shallow snorkelling – reef 2DCIM100GOPROGOPR2414.Fresh coconuts on boardDCIM100GOPROGOPR2471.Lunch is served!DCIM100GOPROGOPR2473.DCIM100GOPROGOPR2481.Baobab exploringDCIM100GOPROGOPR2484.Dhows lined up and ready to go!DCIM100GOPROGOPR2497.Mangrove lake swimming – this was all sand when we first arrived at the island.

Day 6: Rest & relaxation – enjoying the hotel & beach before leaving the following dayzanzibar_0222zanzibar_0225zanzibar_0228zanzibar_0231Meeting the Massai-Marazanzibar_0237zanzibar_0242Visiting Zanzibar schoolszanzibar_0247zanzibar_0249zanzibar_0252zanzibar_0258Ending off with a beautiful beach dinnerzanzibar_0259

Day 7: Home time

We were very sad to leave Zanzibar and cannot wait to revisit!

zanzibar_0260Saying goodbye to our awesome hotel friend – Shumazanzibar_0261zanzibar_0264zanzibar_0266zanzibar_0270Our amazing guide – Omar collecting us for the air port.zanzibar_0271A Dala Dala (nick-named after what it cost for a ride a few years ago – 1 dollar)

Things we learnt:

When checking out, one must pay $1 per day spent in Zanzibar – be sure to add this into your budget! Tipping is what many of the locals live on – tipping can be anything from $5 – $25 depending on how good the service was. Ladies, bring along a long flowing dress, something light and cool to wear when you need to cover up during the out-of-hotel activities. Try a ZANZIBAR PIZZA!! Learn some Swahili! Our hotel offered short 1 hour courses on the beach (what an amazing idea?!) Exchange your money in SA – be sure to take your FICA documents when you do! Do your research, read travel blogs and reviews before visiting an area, find out all the exciting things one can do and see! I spent months googling and searching the hashtag #zanzibar on instagram to see what everyone was doing. SA residents, it is not necessary to get a yellow fever shot when flying directly to Zanzibar. High and low tide are extreme. At low tide the sea can be about 1km away and at high tide it can be right up against the hotel wall. I hope this post has inspired you to enjoy the island as much as we did !!

See you again soon, Zanzibar