Visit to Stone Town and Prison Island
Zanzibar Travel Blog› entry 10 of 13 › view all entries
What a long day, and it has not finished yet! I woke up at 6:00 am to take some pictures on the beach. The view was just astonishing! As the sun started to come out, the beach started to show some life. Many Masai started to walk along the beach while the sun made the sky turned into many different colours, and on the background the typical Zanzibar boat. Some Masai were walking, some were riding a bycicle and there was also some women walking in the water picking up something I couldn´t really tell.
“Jambo, Jambo!”.- that was the first thing you would hear when somebody passed by. Once I took almost a hundred pictures (goose bumps all the time), I went for breakfast.
At 8:30 our guide showed up in the hotel. We found this guy on the beach the day before. Actually the beach is full of tour guides offering different excursions. You have to be careful, they are quite cheaper than the tour guides in the hotel, but it is a little bit risky. This guy seemed to be an honest guy so we arranged all today´s excursion with him.
It took us an hour to go from Ocean Paradise Hotel to Stone Town, although it was not boring at all as on the way you go through small villages and very nice landscapes.
First thing we did was to visit the market. To tell you the truth I was glad we had two guides with us otherwise I would have felt kind of vulnerable there. It was a caos, interesting but confusing. Once we got into the market we started visiting the fisher´s area… woaow! I almost fainted! It smell like hell, and everything was so dirty! We kept on visiting the market… fascinating experience! Then from there we started walking through the narrow streets observing everything happening all around. One of the most impressive visits we did was the former slave market site. We even show the place where all slaves waited to be sold to Arabia and India. There was a very small room with very low ceilings where 75 girls and women were held…. The amazing fact is that slavery was not abolished until 1905, only a hundred years ago… scary!
Once slavery was abolished they built an anglican church where slaves were sold.
For lunch we went to Mercury´s Restaurant! It was recommended in Lonely Planet so it was a secure bet! There we had some seafood and white wine. We got tipsy so with that happy mood we asked the name of the Island we had in front of us… Prison Island. It is quite know for its huge turtles. We asked the guide and we arranged a visit to the place. First we went to the embarcadero to hire a boat and we negotiated a good price to get there! 40 dollars for 6 people, wich is quite unexpensive. The trip took us 30 minutes or so but it was fun. The view getting to the Island was impressive, with white sand all around and very blue water. Once we arrived we paid a 5US$ to see the turtles.
Although it had been a long day we decided we wanted to see how nightlife was in Zanzibar, so we asked our guide to give us a ride to the city at night. He charged us 50US$ to do that, which is quite unexpensive if you consider that asking in the hotel reception they charge you 90US$.
In the area we saw Zanzibar Serena Hotel, which was quite well located and looked like a nice colonial palace. Anyways, I still prefer our hotel and its location (Ocean Paradise).
Conclusión: Zanzibar is not for singles! ;)