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Thursday, October 10, 2013



I have recently been to Zanzibar and would like to share my experience with you. If you are looking for a place full of history, culture, lush green gardens and forests plus a beautiful beach vacation Zanzibar is the place for you. From the first moment stepping off the plane you can feel the warm ocean air hitting you, it’s a true feeling of being on a tropical island. I visited Zanzibar in July being the best time as it is there winter season.  The Island does not really experience cold winters therefore weather was excellent as it was warm but not an unbearable kind of heat as in the summer season. 

Our first experience was meeting our guide Genes who is a local in Zanzibar and excellent at what he does. We then headed for Stone Town were we had lunch for the day. Stone Town is the old Town on the Island with beautiful Arabian style Architecture. As we drove to Stone Town Genes shared some information with us on the locals and some of the history. The locals are some of the most humble and friendliest people I’ve ever met. During the trip I’ve learnt they don’t have much of the finer things we are used to but yet they remain happy with what they have and very proud of their Island.

Juan Nel ©

Driving through stone town reveals the islands history. The town was built with coral stone and till today they have maintained it and kept it that way. The doors on the buildings are all hand carved by the locals and one of the attractions as they are some of the biggest doors I’ve ever seen. There are also various shops were you can purchase your souvenirs. The market, some mosques and Arab houses is also located in town. The streets in Stone Town are very narrow therefore it is best to walk through the town or hire a scooter to get from place to place as it also gives you the full experience of the town. A day or 2 is a must in stone town if you are into the history and cultural side of Zanzibar and gives one a chance to mix with the locals. I suggest 2 nights before moving to one of the islands beach resorts. 

As we drove to the different Beach Hotels we passed some of the villages which are also nice to meet the locals and see how they live. Over the next few days we stayed at different hotels on different parts of the Island, each one unique in their own way. For the family travelers hotels in the Southeast and Northeast have some of the most beautiful and family orientated hotels and for the more romantic traveler the North and west would be perfect but both offers a bit of both. The most beautiful sunsets and close to home feel resort would definitely have to be sea cliff which is situated on the West of the Island. If you are young and looking for a backpacker type of experience Amaan Bungalows and Paje would be an excellent choice for you as they are vibey and filled with the younger crowds. The Hotels from on the South East, Northeast and North has the most beautiful beaches on the Island, those long stretches of beaches which are great for morning walks with some of the local people and maasai’s selling various things for tourists to buy. Most hotels also have boutiques were you can buy your souvenirs to take home with you.

 Guests can also arrange different tours from all the hotels in Zanzibar, also if they are interested in diving, snorkeling, fishing etc most hotels has a dive center or there is one close or around the hotel they could use. At some hotels some of the water activities are free except the motorized ones which you have to pay for.  The Island also hosts different beach parties were transport can be arranged from the hotel at a price. Some parts of the Island can be explored with scooters which one can hire if you would like to do some self-exploring but not available all over the Island. 

Juan Nel ©

The food at the Hotels truly exceeded my expectations. It is all Buffet style at the main restaurants except when visiting the other restaurants on the resorts which you pay for.  There was a wide variety of choices with all kinds of food. My advice when visiting Zanzibar is to do an all-inclusive as things is really expensive there. The advantage of an all-inclusive is that you get a variety of meals to choose from for breakfast, lunch and supper and it includes your drinks. Some resorts also offer snacks in between meals and have waiters coming to you around the pool area and beach area in case you need anything.  Beach dinning and private dinning can also be arranged at some hotels. 

Juan Nel ©
All in all this was truly an amazing experience for me and my first time out of the country. I would definitely visit Zanzibar again and would just like to thank the staff from exotic tours and all the hotels we have visited for making this a really great experience for me and to African Encounters for making it all possible

Chane Barker & Andisa Mesatywa in #ZANZIBAR

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