Jay & Nicole's Adventures - Zanzibar - June 2006 
(click any picture to get enlargement)

We decided to go to Zanzibar since Nicole has been dreaming of this little island since she was a little girl.  It has been written up in many books and has had an important place in history. 

We began our 3-week journey from South Africa and flew to Kilimanjaro (the BIG mountain in Tanzania) and then to the island of Zanzibar.

Note: Since we were close to the equator, the weather was hot and sticky most of the time.

The island is know as the "spice island" and still today produces much of the world's spices.

Because of it's location near the African continent, it was a major slave trading post in the past.  

Oman owned the island and the ocean waterways were used by the Asians & Europeans.  

We stayed in Stonetown (know as Zanzibar City).
The looks of the buildings surprised us at first ...

... but we soon learned that the discoloration was due to a limestone wash that darkens with time. 

The rust and paint added a special character that we've never seen in any other city before.

The city had never been master-planned.  The buildings were built so close and in such disarray that there are really no streets.  There are just narrow paths for people and to use.  There were only a few bikes and no cars; yeah!

Shop selling frames with a great door in view.

The people are famous for woodworking; mainly picture frames, doors and beds.

Sadly, the island is very over-populated and there are few jobs.  Most people  live way below the poverty level & it's getting worse.

There are few vehicles and most locals transport themselves via boats called "dhows".  Bigger versions used to catch the monsoon winds to take their products overseas.

This vacation was done in three parts.  The first part consisted of three days in Stonetown; we stayed at a very nice place called "Emerson & Green".  They refurbished the old Customs House into a hotel; each of the 10 rooms was uniquely designed.

No windows, just open wood lattice  (weather is always warm)
Zanzibarian-style bed  

<--  Shower and tub, open to the sky (and any snoopy neighbors)

Nice little sink area -->

The room was very comfortable, although we had to watch out for mosquitoes ( didn't want malaria or yellow fever)

On the top of the building was a tin-roofed restaurant voted among the best ten in the world.

 The atmosphere and food was fantastic.

We also had breakfast at the roof-top restaurant.  

At 8am we could hear the leaders of the mosques (over 50 in the city) saying prayers via loudspeakers.  They also said prayers at 5am, noon, 4pm and 7pm 
(the noise bothered us only at first).

The food was cooked with many ofthe local spices (sometimes too many) but overall was excellent.  

Old Mansion House 

The island is made up of a unique mix of people.  The Arabs have lightly colored skin & are of the Moslem faith.  The Africans are descendents of freed slaves, have darker skin and are more liberal; the women dress brightly!

Our Transportation 

Marketplace Road 

Typical Taxi 

Island Housing 

Bright African Colors 

Huts Built Alongside Road 

Interesting Window 

The second part of our Zanzibar vacation took us to a smaller island about 10 miles off the coast called Chumbe Island.  This island is in a reserve, set up to protect the large amount of fish species from being over-fished.  We planned to stay at an Eco-Resort, which meant it had to be "environment friendly".

<---- View of Chumbe Island from Zanzibar, with a local fishing boat in the forefront (nice water color)

Nicloe & Water Taxi  -->

Island is getting closer 

There's only one resort .... 

... on this little island!  

Resort Main Building & Lighthouse; we had all meals and drinks here.
Inside main Building -->

Bungalow View (only 7!). 
 High season was just beginning & we were the ONLY guests! 

Each Bungalow was self-sufficient, getting electricity from the sun (stored in batteries for night) and water gathered from rain.  Food was purchased from Zanzibar  farmers & fishermen.

<---  Note upstairs "window" (now closed) 

Open living room with bathroom behind 
(nicely done pit toilet) 

We still had to watch out for mosquitoes, even though we had gotten the proper malaria shots.

<== Upstairs bedroom with floor-bed and netting. 
With the calm weather and pounding surf, we slept great. 

View from the bungalow bedroom when the "window" was open. 

At low tide we could ... 

...  walk around the  ...

....  entire island. 

Oysters  ....  no pearls  :( 

Starfish (we put in water) 

Baby Giant Clam (hi-light) 


<== Cactus tree as seen from our walk on the island; there weren't many trails, since the island is a reserve.

Besides resting after 
our extensive meals, 
we read, snorkeled, 
& walked on the beach.

Restaurant View

Nice way to end the 
visit to enchanting Chumbe Island.

The third part of our Zanzibar vacation took us back to the mainland, but to the far side of the island; to a place called Matembe Beach.  We had five relaxing days on some very nice pure-white beaches.  Again, we were almost the only guests.

<--  Main area of hotel       where we had all meals

Our hotel room was    --->
very comfortable; a little hut with all the expected features (except hot water)

Beach Huts For Guests 

"Our Hut" as we called it

Our main pass-time 

... Uncrowded Beach
Nice White Sand

Lady collecting seaweed
... Seaweed Drying 
Nice picture of locals

The men fished often

Most boats were dug-out ....

... palm trees with runners.

A kitten we named Cobweb adopted us and ...
... .... became Nicole's 
furry best friend. 

The island's best road & Jay's rental bike.

We toured a Columbus Monkey Reserve 

We also toured a plantation and got to see about 100 different kind of fruits and spices in an area not much bigger than a normal back yard. 

Plantation Owner 

... and then flew "home" 

Overall the trip to Zanzibar went better than expected and it was a truly wonderful place and we both highly recommend it to anyone thinking of going.

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