Rare are the places where I think, I will come back one day here to retire. Zanzibar was one.
I usually don’t like going to touristy spots, nor loud parties. I rather prefer immersing myself in the local life and Zanzibar offered me that. Staying one week in Stone Town with day travels to the island beaches, I could get a decent feeling of the island’s life.
Zanzibar زنجبار has a unique history, as a trade spot in the middle ages, the island received effluents from Arab, Indian and Persian cultures in addition to the local Swahili culture. This interesting mixture can now be seen in the food, architecture and people’s appearance. Walking through the narrow alleys of Stone Town and having random conversation with the island people -who happen to have a lot of free time- was a pure delight for me. The old town has nothing fancy. Apart from the iconic massive doors with the Arab style decoration, the town alleys are pretty simple, with fade colors. Typical to island life, the mornings are quiet and evenings lively with great food markets or football watching gatherings 🙂
I cannot omit mentioning the island’s beaches, with fine sand and deep turquoise blue. I’ve seen the best beach in my life so far in Pingwe-Zanzibar, even if I went already to fine ones in Malaysia and Indonesia. Maybe because this one is still in its natural state, not discovered by tourists yet 🙂 I traveled there from Stone Town using the local transport called Dala Dala (I love Swahili words!) which is an equivalent to our Louage, and taking the Dala Dala is an experience on its own, when it is fully packed 😉
In Stone Town, people like talking about politics; either they are for or against Zanzibar’s separation from Tanganyika, what they think about the ruling revolutionary party (but in low voice of course) and how they like to define their identity. Many are fishermen, merchants, or work in tourism. Some complain about the hard conditions and low development, some are happy with what they have. But that’s just how it is, right?
Finally, I would like to say that we tend to look at far-away countries when we plan to travel. But in our own continent there are very beautiful and friendly places. For us, visa is on arrival and it’s quite easy to get. I encourage you to go there, especially if you are looking for a place which is still not spoiled by mass tourism.