I visited Zambia last year and decided to hop over to see my very good friend in Dar-es-Salaam who suggested that we go for a weekend to Zanzibar. When we go there, we hired a taxi to take us to our hotel. The driver asked why we want to go to that specific hotel. My friend said she had been there before and it was beautiful and the service very good. The driver said we could get beauty, good service and a swimming pool anywhere in the world, so we should instead go to the other end of the island where we could go dolphin watching in the morning. It was too good a suggestion to ignore, and we promptly cancelled our reservation at the first hotel.
View of our resort from the boat:
The hotel we went to was deserted as it was out of season, but the service we got was very good. We went to swim in the pool after settling in. The water was very warm, almost hot. I asked my friend why the pool was heated when the evening was very hot. She laughed and said all pools feel like that because Zanzibar is very hot.
Our boat ride to see the dolphins in their natural habitat was delayed by about an hour the next morning because the tide was low. My friend and I do not swim, so we hired a ‘proper’ boat and not a motorized banana boat. The latter are more common, cheaper and so more in demand.
There were so many boats on dolphin tours that we were afraid the dolphins would be scared off. Fortunately for us, we saw many pods of dolphins all swimming in a synchronized fashion. Our coxswain encouraged us to jump into the ocean and swim with the dolphins. Who? Us? We had never risked trying to swim in the deep end of a swimming pool let alone in the mighty Indian Ocean! We were disappointed that only one person swam with the dolphins while we all just cheered. Where is the spirit of adventure, people?
I missed out on taking photos while we were dolphin watching because I did not want my camera to get soaked as the water was choppy. (Note to self – buy a water proof camera for situations like this). When walking back to the resort, we were warned to avoid any vegetation in the water as there could be sea urchins which would injure us.
The guys that we hired the boat from:
Later that day we went on a tour of Stone Town.
Outside the spice market in Stone Town:
The former slave market below, but we did not feel like going inside:
Things I learnt about Zanzibar:
1. It is hot and humid, very hot and very humid, extremely hot and extremely humid – you get the point.
2. Almost everybody is Muslim and I saw even five year olds wearing veils. This was my first time in a predominantly Muslim area, so it was quite an eye opener.
3. Rust attacks many things, e.g. the taps in the hotel, because of the salt from the Ocean.
4.Vegetation grows more than in Zambia because of the climate – I could not believe the size and lushness of the mango trees.
I had a great time in Zanzibar and being with my friend went a long way.