Usually we do not start with the conclusions…but now it is different: when it comes to Africa, you realize there is no excuse for not being happy. Well…we dreamt about starting to visit this continent, and of course, we assumed that it will probably have a huge impact. And so it was!
(You can also watch the movie on Youtube at 1080pHD resolution - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjJGhPb1Wwo&t=23s)
Zanzibar, and definitely the entire continent can be defined using one word – contrast. You will find a remarkable difference between the areas where the tourism started to be explored and the ones where the locals actually live. What we found interesting is the fact that people started to get used with the idea of tourists and they are doing their best to bloom the tourism concept, as it became one of the major economy sources (together with the export of vanilla).
We wanted to explore as much as we could, this is why we split the accommodation, and booked two different hotels. In the first part of the trip, we stayed on Kiwengwa beach, http://whitedreamzanzibar.com/. It was a cozy, friendly place, and the atmosphere was really peaceful: imagine sleeping with the sound of the ocean, or enjoying the moon light on a beach that seemed to be just for us. The feeling was awesome and the hotel stuff was very careful for the details and very friendly. We expected a low tide, but the first day we arrived (early in the morning), I think was designed to surprise us – the tide was not so obvious and the water had some really nice colors – check out the images.
We went to Prison Island, to meet the giant turtles and we were impressed to see there are so many turtles, form the oldest ones (more than 200 years) to the smallest ones. It was a nice experience, and a point checked from our to-do list.
The most recommended tour to have in Zanzibar is called Blue Safari, and even if we did not know what we will encounter, it was all worth it. We had a stop for snorkeling, where we admired the beauty of the see life from the deep of the ocean, and then we managed to relax on a sand bank, being spoilt with some local fruits. Then, we passed through a very nice area, where the water had nice clear colors and the coral reef seemed to be planted in the ocean. The final stop was on the island itself – Kwale Island, where we had the opportunity to see a very old baobab tree, to enjoy an African show (like a tribal one) and also a sea fruit lunch! We definitely recommend this tour, it is a complete one, and the ocean has such a special water!
The locals were selling different things, like souvenirs, including dresses. It is pleasant seeing an African girl wearing a local dress, they are so beautiful and you have such a nice vibe admiring so many colors and so much beauty. Of course, I needed to have my own dress and so it was!
In the next days, we experienced the idea of the low tide and high tide, even if we were used with this phenomenon, it was quite different this time, because of the intensity. You could walk like hundreds of meters in the ocean, and the water was not passing our knees. Of course, you need to be very careful about the sea urchins, but the experience is very deep, as you feel like embracing the ocean and the sky in the same time. Except this aspect, you will also find some water survivals that are quite interesting: the beautiful, colored see stars, the see cucumber and of course, the huge number of sea urchins.
We have learned so many things during my faculty years about the mangroves, we could not leave the place without seeing the forest itself. The feeling was a nice one; we were like children going back into the moment when we were intensively studying about a certain thing and now, having the opportunity to see it alive. Together with the beautiful walk through the mangrove forest, we enjoyed the entire area and of course, also the local monkeys, funny as always!
There are lots of things to be discovered within the island, having a beauty out of ordinary, but coming back to my conclusions, the contrast is very big. It is like imagining a circle, with the exterior very nice, wild and charming, but with the interior on the opposite side. The joy of life really comes from the encounters with the new experiences and the simplicity and the way of living we saw here, made us realize that there is no excuse for not being happy with what we have. Africa is about understanding, loving, being grateful and human, and it passes you through all possible feelings. The poverty that surrounds the area is unimaginable: the people basically leave from nothing and they laugh a lot, they enjoy every little thing and they truly do live. Their houses may not have a roof and they may sleep directly on the ground, but for these people every day will always mean hope and a new chance. Maybe not all of them are so friendly, different circumstances will follow different characters, but no matter how they are, everybody is special on its way.
We had a very nice guide – Baluu, who makes a great team, together with his friend, who was our driver – Justin, but also our Swahili teacher – we totally recommend them https://www.facebook.com/ZanzibarTravelExperiences/
Coming back to our trip, we were impressed about one of our activities – a spice tour: there are so many plants that cure like everything you can imagine, and so many ingredients they use and delicious fruits. Another thing we enjoyed is the fact that, referring to the tourism, the island is not so commercial, yet. This is why you feel like you have your own beaches; you explore the wildness and in this way you feel what an exotic place really means.
On our adventure we discovered one of the best beaches we have ever seen, and this is due to the intense color of the water, which was the same no matter how far you tried to look – Paje Beach.
On Muyuni beach, another isolated and virgin beauty from Zanzibar, we discovered a show made by the low tide that created some natural pools: the entire picture seemed to be from movies!
As we read lots of things before coming to Zanzibar, we also heard about the famous restaurant – The Rock, located, of course, on a rock, in the middle of the ocean (middle, like few meters), on Pingwe beach. Probably it is obvious how breathtaking is the view and the idea of the location, but the prices are too high for what you receive when it comes to food. Maybe it is better just to have a drink and relax, as the food is average here.
We chose to split the accommodation, as mentioning earlier, because there is a much known area for the sunset lovers, and we wanted to be there. We did not have so much luck with the accommodation on the other part of the island, and we were forced to move to another area – Pwani Mchangani Beach, on The Dhow Club Hotel– a charming, exotic place. Of course, we could not miss the sunsets from where we initially should have been accommodated and we chose to have a one day visit of the beach, to sit and wait for the sun to fall asleep: it was amazing!
It was the first time when the moon competed with the sun, because we have not seen before such a show: the moon lightening the entire area and being reflected in the ocean – it was like drawing a fairytale.
The food is delicious, no matter if you try the see fruits or fish, which are so fresh and tasty, or if you dare to eat their local dishes, so spiced and with so many condiments.
I am not a swimmer, but I love the see and I feel comfortable being on a boat. During this trip we also realized the ocean can be mysterious and delusive: during one of the days, the water seemed to be calm from the bank, but while going away, the waves were very big and we were very scared, moreover there was no life jacket on the boat. So, be always sure the boat you are about to explore the ocean includes life jackets, as your life may be in danger. I will definitely not forget this adventure and for sure I can say we experienced everything by passing through this!
The ocean fulfilled another dream we had: to see dolphins, and trust me, they are so adorable, cute and super friendly. There are also tours, when you can swim with them, in the middle of the ocean, however, we did not have this type of tour, but we were lucky to see the most joyful animals of the ocean on our way to Beautiful Mnemba Island – The Bill Gates Island, a virgin one, where the access of tourists is forbidden.
And so we are back to conclusions – there is no reason at all for not being happy. We should learn to be grateful for everything we have, and to enjoy every single moment. Africa was about rediscovering ourselves, new experiences, a big combination of feelings and a very good state of mind and soul.