• Spike


Zanzibar, still part of Tanzania, but with some self governing rights, is a relaxing and chilled out island to visit.

If you're in mainland Tanzania before venturing to Zanzibar, there are two ways to get to the island. One way is by ferry and one way is by plane. The ferry can be dangerous, there have been some which have sunk due to being over capacity. So we decided to fly. It's the smallest plane I've ever been in, and although apprehensive at first, it was a pleasant and enjoyable flight.

Stone Town

The old area of Zanzibar City, the capital of Zanzibar. There's quite a lot to see and do in the World Heritage Site. As always with any type of old Town, it's great to explore the small passages and alleyways to find unique shops and eating places, and that's no different here. There are some truly interesting shops, including one I found that sold antiques from many years gone by and many different countries. Old toys, weapons from the world wars and all sorts of ancient ornaments and time pieces. If I'd had more space in my suitcase, I'd have brought back a lot more. Shops like these also have various African artifacts, such as genuine tribal masks and weapons.

One of the popular sights of Stone Town is "The Old Fort", built by Omani Arabs in 1699. For me I thought it was a strange type of building to have in this area of the world, as it had a medieval feel about it. There are various market stalls around this area selling souvenirs, which as with most other shops and bazaars in the area, you can haggle and get a much cheaper price than initially asked for.

Mercury house is perhaps the other most popular sight in Stone Town. Although not the actual house Freddie Mercury lived in, it's at the same location his house was. Not it's more of a monument to Freddie, with a golden plague and small glassed displays outside with photographs and information.

Changuu Island

Also known as Prison Island, or sometimes Tortoise Island, is a small island not far from Stone Town. It's one of the most popular tourist attractions in Zanzibar and I myself quite enjoyed exploring the island.

Back in 1893 a prison was constructed on the island, however this was never used and instead the island became a quarantine island for yellow fever cases.

The island now has hotels, cafes and small souvenir shops. You're also likely to see peacocks roaming around. Perhaps the biggest pull for tourists here are the giant tortoises. Back in 1919, a British Governor gifted the island 4 giant tortoises, which bread very quickly. There are now over 100 of them roaming around, albeit now inside a protected sanctuary to protect them.

Blue Oyster - Jambiani

This was the hotel we stayed at for most of our time on Zanzibar. Whereas most of our time in Africa was filled with various early morning starts and busy days, this was a chance for us to relax. Now, when it comes to travelling, I am more than happy to do as much as I can and then sleep on the plane home, then spend the next few weeks trying to recover from my exhausting trip. But spending three days mostly chilling out in a hammock on a beautiful quit beach was nice for a change.

If you want a hotel with very friendly staff and a beautiful beach mostly to yourself, then I cannot recommend this place enough.

I was more than happy to go to the bar to buy beer, but the staff were always insisting I stay where I was and they would serve me and make sure I was comfortable.

Now, I'm not sure I could have stayed here for three days straight and only chill in a hammock, which leads me onto an inspirational gentleman we met on Zanzibar

Captain Zapy

You may have heard of Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain America and Captain James T Kirk , all fictional of course, but all heroes in their own right! But non of them could live up to the real life hero Captain Zapy!

On our first day Captain Zapy came up to us and introduced himself, asking if we wanted to go out on his boat, to which we all obliged to do so the next day.

The following afternoon we joined him on his boat to go snorkeling, I don't swim, so I stayed on the boat with him. He told me a little about his life on the island, and how he made the boat himself from mango trees. Apparently the wood from mango trees is a lot more durable and stronger. The small boat would last about three years before he'd have to build another one.

His catchphrase was the very popular saying of "hakuna matata", and he always had a smile on his face.

We enjoyed the our trip out with him so much that we arranged to meet him at dawn the next morning to go fishing with him.

I'd never been fishing before, and doing so actually on a boat in the Indian ocean was quite a thrill!

We all took turns to try to catch something, and I can proudly say I caught a fish! Between us we caught all shapes and sizes, including some vicious biting eels which were thrown back, I think the best catch belonged to Dom who caught some type of three eyed fish, which we later ate and discovered had luminous blue bones. Even Captain Zapy seemed impressed if not a little jealous of Dom's catch.

Afterwards we went back to shore and had the kitchen cook and prepare out catches for lunch. We asked Captain Zapy to join us, and he was very surprised and delighted to join us. I later heard that no other tourists had ever asked him to join them for lunch and it's still something he remembers fondly.

So, my advice to you is if you're in Zanzibar, seek out Captain Zapy and join him on his boat for a great adventure.

Be sure to check out my Escapades in The Serengeti and Overview of Tanzania

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