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Zanzibar - The Spice Islands

10 September 2006

Staff

We crossed over to Zanzibar on the ferry and arrived in Stone Town, which is the old Capital of Zanzibar.

The Island's population is also predominantly Muslim so almost all the women wear Burkas and the men also wear traditional Muslim/Arabic clothing.

Our first day there was spent exploring Stone Town and checking out the local markets. We did the local Spice Tour, very worthwhile.  In addition to spices, Zanzibar was also the epicenter for the eastern slave trade. We visited some of the sites where slaves were bought and sold as well as the holding places where people were kept in horrendous conditions. It is one thing to see and read about the horrors of the slave trade in school but to actually see with your own eyes how people were treated like animals, made it so much more real.

In Stone Town we would wake each morning to the 5am azan (Muslim call to prayer) and then wander through the narrow alleyways and shops of the walled city as the locals constantly called out to us in Swahili.  With its small winding alleys, busy bazaars, mosques, Anglican Church, old Arab ford, Old Slave Market, Sultan's Palace Museum and House of Wonders it should definitely not be missed when travelling to Zanzibar.

Next a well deserved 3 nights in Nungwi Beach, north Zanzibar.  Beauiful white sandy beaches and aqua blue water. That evening we headed to the Africa House to watch the sunset with an ice cold beer and a great assortment of cocktails. There is a huge balcony that overlooks the ocean and a fairly large lounge area with great views. There was a great mixture of locals, tourists, expats and residents at the bar so it was certainly lively even after sunset.

The next morning we enjoyed a walk along the beach to the Turtle Sanctuary where we were able to feed the turtles. The rest of the afternoon was spent sunbathing, snorkeling and relaxing on the white sandy beach.  After a few days of just chilling on the beach it was time to hit the road, we were headed back to Stone Town and to catch the Ferry across to Dar es Salaam.

Zanzibar is blessed with some of the best beaches in the world...especially the north coast of the Island.  If you are into diving, fishing,snorkelling, and a bit of night life, you should head this way.

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