Are your feet constantly frozen? Does your nose resemble Rudolf the reindeers? (Shiny, red and wet). Is your body constantly shivering with imaginary ice knives piercing it? Are you counting down the days until summer arrives? Then a warm getaway to Zanzibar is just for you!! 🙂 (If you don’t suffer as much in winter as I do, Zanzibar is still not a bad choice for a short break.)
We escaped to Zanzibar from the Free State’s icy winter two years ago- very lekker experience! It was just for a week but we will remember our week there for the rest of our lives ( It’s a cliche but it’s true.) Zanzibar is a quick flight for South Africans from Joburg. Back then we flew with One Time. I see these days Mango has regular flights and special packages to Zanzibar.
A few people have asked us if Zanzibar is similar to Mauritius. It’s very different. They both have beaches and palm trees but that’s pretty much the similarities. I suppose you might not know the difference if you spend the entire time at your hotel. (But if you gonna do that you might as well book yourself into the closest Holiday Inn and not bother to fly anywhere.)
We stayed the whole week at Ngalawa Beach Resort. The three course meals were really delicious and with every meal we were always served freshly blended fruit juice. We had chocolate and banana pancakes for breakfast! Our room was neat and we had a mosquito net over our bed. The beach at Ngalawa is not great for swimming because of all the seaweed but there is a pool which is nice. Sadru, the guy who owns the place, is very friendly and helpful and we booked our tours and transport with him. We did do some research, and booking through our hotel was the most reliable and not much more expensive way to do it. And then you know you get the real, authentic tours! Don’t be fooled- Safari Blue is NOT the same tour as Blue Safari.
The highlight of our week was most certainly Safari Blue! This day tour was started by a South African lady named Elenor. The day was so much fun! We could drink as much cool-drink and local beer, called Kilimanjaro, as we wanted. We did the tour with 2 other South African couples. I must say the three South African men definitely got their beers worth! The snorkeling on this tour is incredible because the water is so clear! Be warned- do not touch the black, spiky sea urchin creatures!! A Spanish guy at our hotel got a few of the spikes in his hand- looked very painful! Part of the Safari Blue tour is a seafood braai on a small islet near to Zanzibar. We ate like kings! (Actually like pigs because of how much food we were given.). Then after our stomachs felt like they were going to burst we were given a vast variety of fruit to try- some I’d never even heard of before. The little island has these giant coconut crabs on it and a very big, old tree. Safari Blue is definitely a must do when you are in Zanzibar!
On another day we did a spice tour. That was very interesting! Gave us a new outlook on spices. That same day we saw a boy (probably about 13 years old) climb a taaalll coconut tree. He made it seem so easy. All the time he was climbing he was dancing and singing “Jambo, hakuna matata.” I will never forget that sight! He looked so happy and full of energy! They speak Swahili in Zanzibar which is the language all the names from The Lion King come from.
We also did a tour of Stone Town. We had a good tour guide named Beany. He was really enthusiastic about Zanzibar’s history and showed us many old houses, explained why the doors look like they do and answered any questions we had. He also took us to where they kept the slaves. We all agreed with Beany, slavery really was terrible!
We also did a lot of relaxing and strolling along the beach. A lot of the local people were out on their boats fishing. It makes me think of that fisherman story:
A rich business man goes to Zanzibar. (In the original story I think he went to Mexico, but he might as well have gone to Zanzibar.) There he meets a local fisherman. He sees the fisherman go out fishing every day for a only a few hours and coming back with only a handful of fish. After a few days he goes to the fisherman and says to him: “You know, if you work a little harder, you can catch more fish, then you can sell them, then eventually you will have money to buy more boats, if you have more boats, you can get people to work for you, then you can catch more fish and then you will make more money!” The fisherman asks: “What will I do with more money?” “Well, you can buy even more boats and make even more money, then eventually, after about 20 years you can work less and then you can do the things you actually want to do like spending time with your wife and your children and relaxing by the sea.” Confused, the fisherman says: “But Sir, I’m already doing those things.”