Situated on the Swahili Coast, adjacent to Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania), lies one of the most beautiful islands in East Africa. Formerly known as a center for spice and slave trading in the 19th century, Zanzibar is much more than a stopping point on an itinerary; it’s 1,020 square miles of pure adventure waiting to be explored.
Zanzibar hosts many luxury resorts waiting to pamper your every need. While I stayed at several resorts on the island, my favorite is the Sea Cliff Resort, situated on the east cost, twenty-five minutes north of Stone Town. Whether you like horseback riding, golf, sailing, fine dining, the spa, or simply relaxing by one of their two infinity pools, Sea Cliff will soothe your senses.
N U N G W I B E A C H
Heavily eroded volcanic lava cut by the sea meets the turquoise water.
Whether you are an avid diver, beach comber, hopeless romantic, shopaholic, love horseback riding, enjoy fine dining, or just want to escape and explore new destinations, Zanibar has something for you. One of the first things you will notice are the countless miles of untouched beaches: romantic, pristine, untouched pieces of paradise waiting to massage your feet. Since this island is NOT a high-traffic tourist destination, there are plenty of beautiful seashells to be found in the early mornings, before the locals awake to gather these gems for the market.
M A T E M W E B E A C H
S E A C L I F F R E S O R T Riding, Sea Cliff Resort, Zanzibar Equestrian lovers will find pleasure in riding horses across the tropical countryside and into emerald-green waters. Private Beach @ Sea Cliff Resort Enjoy one of the private beaches reserved for guests only. Nothing like a a couple of beers, a several-hour nap, and awakening to this scenic view. Ahhh…yeah.
D I V E R D O W N Whether you enjoy snorkeling or deep water diving, Zanzibar offers an array of excursions to meet your needs. Diving The Royal Navy Lighter shipwreck at 30m, Zanzibar. The journey to the dive site is a relaxing experience as we head out, north of prison island. Visibility under water ranges from 70 to 80 feet depending on depth and conditions. Much of the ride out to the site is over deep rocks which you can see below the boat. Exploring artifacts below. Heavily decomposed, the outer frame of the ship is almost completely gone, exposing what was once in the hull of this wreck.
S T O N E T O W N
If you love to barter, then the markets of Stone Town are the place for you. The city is a virtual maze of alleyways, all lined with merchants eager to sell their goods.
Rooftop shot at 5:30 am atop the Maru Maru Hotel, Stone Town, Zanzibar. Maru Maru translated into English means Tile Tile. Mosque on the right, Catholic church on the left, Indian Ocean in the distance. The best deals are waiting to be had if your bartering skills are firm. Whether you are looking for coffee, fresh vanilla, fish, antiques, artwork, or whatever tickles your fancy, you will find it in the market in Stone Town. Be willing to walk if you do not get the price you want; the merchant will follow you for blocks to seal the deal. Open-air fish market in Stone Town. Some unique smells for sure.
P R I S O N I S L A N D
There are plenty of day excursions to keep you busy. Only a thirty minute boat ride from Stone Town lies a little piece of paradise named Prison Island. This was a former prison-turned-tourist-attraction that also serves as an animal preserve for the endangered tortoise population. The snorkeling is spectacular and the waters are pristine. Abundant coral lines the ocean floor, rich with a spectacular variety of tropical fish, star fish, and much more.
On our way to Prison Island, we passed some local fishermen. The road to vanilla heaven. Before departing for East Africa, I created a bucket list of items I wanted to purchase in each country. Coffee and chocolate were on the list for every country while vanilla was my primary target from both Madagascar and this island of Zanzibar. Below are photos of one journey to a vanilla plantation, located in the middle of the island.
S P I C E P L A N T A T I O N S
Farm to table happens naturally on the island, agriculture has been the primary export for centuries. Heading out to a spice plantation to sample some products and get some locally grown raw coffee beans and cinnamon. Young vanilla on the vine.
The history of slavery is ever-present. This is a former slave cave: over 100 years ago, slaves were stored in these caves after a full day of labor on the spice plantations. Fishing boats. Below: A local is spear fishing to feed his family.