November 14th, 2013 – by: Jollyjetsetter
Peace and tranquility on Nungwi beach (Nungwi; Zanzibar)
Some place names seem as though they were coined to evoke exotic imagery as much as a person's imagination can stretch. Think Honolulu, Bora Bora, Tahiti and Marrakesh, and you probably have a clear idea of what I am referring to. Zanzibar, by my reckoning, slots firmly into this category, and the 'spice island', located just off the coast of Tanzania is a mere short ferry ride, or an even shorter plane trip from Dar Es Salaam, and it is likely that a visitor's very first port of call will be the island's capital city of Stone Town. Resort towns on Zanzibar abound, and you can pretty much assume that they line the coast roughly stretching from the north-west to the south-east of the island, so choosing one of them will more than likely all depend on how lively a place you wish to be located in.
A Colobus monkey high up in a tree (Jozani forest; Zanzibar)
This traveller's pick was for the vibrant resort town of Nungwi
on the far northern tip of the island, and 8 or so kilometres north of neighbouring Kendwa, itself a growing-in-stature resort. Nungwi village is a sizeable one, and has numerous elements of the local culture which the main resort's hotel zone barely hints at. The beaches along this stretch of coast are sublime, especially when the tide is at its most favourable, and the variety of excursion options available will soon make the visitor realize that there is much more to Zanzibar than the chill-out zone identity which it proudly sports. The island's most popular excursion is the (almost-compulsory) spice tour, which involves a guided tour of a spice plantation, plus commentary, and a few fun and informative elements thrown in for good measure.
Simple village life (Nungwi; Zanzibar)
Another excursion of note is a trip to Jozani forest, the highlight of which must surely be the sighting of the native Colobus monkeys on the branches of the trees, which was a piece of compensation for any traveller such as myself, who had failed to arrange a suitable safari tour on mainland Tanzania. Elsewhere, a snorkelling trip to Mnemba island atoll, itself a protected conservation zone, will allow you to view the coral reef in all its splendour, and the marine life which abounds in the relatively-shallow waters around it. Another 'must-see' on Zanzibar is the island's chief settlement of Stone Town, which has enough in the way of vital reference points to keep any visitor happily purring. From the waterfront-located Arab fort, to the House of Wonder, the expansive Darajani market, to the truly delightful souvenir shop-laden back streets in and around Shangani area, Stone Town has a wholly different atmosphere to Dar Es Salaam, and when visited in the right frame of mind just feels so much like an unmissable travel experience.
The Old Dispensary (Stone Town; Zanzibar)
All of the aforementioned musings probably more than hint at the fact that this visitor was struck on Zanzibar and all of its spice-laced charms, but scratch the surface enough, and you'll probably reveal your very own Zanzibar, just the way you would prefer it to be, a factor which stems from the laid-back charm of such an easy-going and appealing place.