Hello fam, Happy New Year! Cheers to more travelling adventures and discovery of new locations this year.
For our first post this year, we have a seasoned JAUNTER sharing her experience as she took on the beautiful city called Zanzibar. Enjoy!
Hey there, Bukie Dow aka the Jaunter here, giving you insights on our trip to Zanzibar, Tanzania. This trip was borne out of the itch to visit somewhere else in Africa as we (Globe Jaunters) had visited Cape Coast, Ghana previously. I was dreaming of blue waters and sea shores. Although you get that experience in cape coast but what I saw on google about Zanzibar was unreal and too good to be true in Africa.
I am a sucker for planning ahead because I book flights as well and I know how crazy these things change overnight so I booked my flight 2 months before. Quick Travel Tip: The best months to book a flight ticket and travel is between Feb – June and then Sept – Oct. *Thank me later*
The visa process is fairly straight forward as you can get a visa on arrival or get one in Nigeria before you travel. Just make sure you have your yellow fever vaccine card handy when you arrive (you will pay 40USD for this on arrival if you don’t have as opposed to 1,500NGN at any ministry of health – choose wisely).
Kenya Airways or Ethiopian airways are pretty much the only airlines that go from Nigeria. Kenya airways is preferable because it’s cheaper and it has less transit. (Please do not waste your money on business class for Kenya airways because it’s pretty much economy extended).
Zanzibar is 6 hours from Nigeria (Uggh, I know! I thought it was two hours as well (rolling my eyes). With Kenya Airways, you transit in Kenya and you can get a visa on arrival for 50USD and get to see Nairobi for some hours but be very careful if you have a short transit time as the traffic in Nairobi quickly builds up & you can find yourself in a notorious gridlock.
The airport to our hotel (The Island getaway Hotel, Chukwani – Zanzibar) was literally 10 minutes. It is close to the house of parliament of Zanzibar. It has a private beach and we had our food by the beach, daily. We arrived at 1a.m so we needed our sleep but we were too excited to fall asleep. The furniture in our hotel was epic as the owner is Emirati so it was designed like a hotel in Dubai. Staff was very friendly and accommodating and were eager to teach us Swahili.
Day 1 in Zanzibar – Stone town
Our tour guide- Mr Ahmed took us on a tour of Stone Town a.k.a City centre. Stone Town is the largest, living Swahili stone town in the world and was designated a “WORLD HERITAGE SITE” by UNESCO in year 2000. There are over 1000 coral stone buildings having architectural significance and more than 200 carved doors. You can tell the architecture of a building by its doors and windows e.g. Arab or Indian.
We toured the Malinda mosque, Old dispensary, Old customs house, Palace museum, House of wonders museum and old slave market. Next up was the fish market where fish is being auctioned (apparently, the cheapest fish is sold at the auction).
We walked through the spice market (Zanzibar is known for its natural spices) and various spices were described to us especially the Nutmeg (PG 21!!!!!) We then made our way to their open stadium where festivals are held. It’s like a coliseum with traders around it doing henna (beautiful body paintings usually seen on ladies of Arabian descent), selling branded goods, etc. We also noticed some high-rise buildings as well that the government built for low income earners to live in for very little.
Day 2 in Zanzibar – Prison Island
Prison Island also known as Changuu island or Kibandiko or Quarantine is a small island 5.6 km north-west of Stone Town, Unguja, Zanzibar. The island is around 800m long and 230m wide at its broadest point. You go by boat for at least 30 mins. They have these tiny boats that are very beautiful and cute but scary, scary.
We visited the tortoise haven where we saw land and sea turtles. The oldest turtle was 185 years old as at last year. The land turtles are vegetarians and we were advised not to feed the turtles – But we did! *Covers face*
After visiting the turtles, it was time to explore the island. You can swim if you want to but the most captivating thing about it is the different shades of blue. This was the Indian ocean, before us, looking so fresh and so clean clean. A darker shade in the ocean is an indication of more coral on that part of the sea. I don’t really know how to explain coral to you (google is your friend) but the stony ones are used for building houses. Most houses in Zanzibar are made from coral and its often seen in trucks being transported for sale, etc.
Next, we went snorkelling. We were given googles and breathers and we could see the different kinds of fish under water. It was a truly beautiful experience.
Day 3 in Zanzibar – Swimming with the Dolphins
On this day, we were so excited to swim with the dolphins. Dolphin bay is in Kizimkazi, 1 hour from the city centre. When we arrived, the tide was too high so we had to wait till it was better. Finally, we got on the boat and when the journey was just about 1 minute, we panicked and asked to return to shore so we could add more people on our boat to prevent it from shaking. Unfortunately, everybody refused to join us and we had to brace ourselves.
We eventually got on the speed boat and had to travel 25mins on the high sea. We got to the middle of the Indian ocean and behold, it started raining. Sweet Jesus, we panicked! Picture yourself, in the middle of the Indian ocean with nothing but a life Jacket. *Hot tears*
Finally, the dolphins came and were circling around us. We definitely did not jump into the ocean to swim because it was way too scary. If you are really scared of water, I certainly do not recommend this. I do not recommend swimming with the dolphins even if you are a certified swimmer because these dolphins are wild.
DAY 4 in Zanzibar – NUNGWI BEACH
Nungwi, or Ras Nungwi, is a large village located in the far northern end of the island of Zanzibar which is about an hour’s drive from Stone Town. Nungwi was traditionally a fishing village and dhow-building centre, but is now a popular tourist destination and is recognized by CNN’s list of “100 best beaches of the world” in 2014. Picture a long trail of hotels, restaurants, by the beach. It is also home to Mnarani natural aquarium.
- Your Nigerian ATM card will almost never work, so please do not bother. However, if you have a dollar card, best of luck. In summary, cash is your best option.
- If you can find a Travelex ATM that will change your naira to shillings, it’s always a cheaper option as opposed to changing to dollars.
- Do not swim with the dolphins! Say hi & take pictures from the boat. I warned you!
Whoop! Hope you enjoyed Bukie’s Zanzibar Adventures…The part about being on the high sea with nothing but a life jacket was too epic (I am not going near that). In other news, Bukie is the CEO of a thriving travel company called Globe Jaunters. They specialize in amazing tours and they have an uncanning ability for digging out spectacular locations most people didn’t know existed around them. Do follow them on Instagram @globejaunters for amazing travel adventures around the African continent and on the globe.
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