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Published: February 1st 2009
It’s not improbable that a few months down the line we will have failed to make it to Hong Kong for our intended flight to Sydney and will ask ourselves, “Where did it all go wrong?” Should this be the case, then it fair to say that the blame should be landed squarely at the door of Zanzibar. In visiting Zanzibar we committed two cardinal sins. Firstly, from Nairobi we travelled roughly five hundred miles in the wrong direction and secondly we stayed too long, far too long. However, we plead extenuating circumstances. Zanzibar is somewhere we have wanted to visit for a number of years and unlike so many places visited with high expectations, it didn’t fail to deliver and in fact far exceeded them.
After an arduous fifteen hour bus journey to Dar Es Salaam and a nauseating three hour ferry ride, we first headed to Pongwe, on the east coast of the island, for some peace and quiet. The place we stayed at stood more or less alone on a long stretch of palm fringed beach and at full capacity (which it didn’t reach during our stay) could house twelve guests. This truly was the epitome of
a secluded paradise and we spent a few wonderfully relaxing days there. If we’re being picky, then the only imperfections we could find were too much seaweed and the sea being too far away at low tide.
Next we headed back to Stone Town, where we had arrived by ferry a few days earlier. There we spent a couple of days wandering around the labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways. There was fantastic buzzing atmosphere to the place and it felt a world away from the Africa we had left behind on the mainland, more akin to Arabia.
Our next port-of-call was Kendwa on the North coast, here was found another version of paradise, considerably more developed than Pongwe, but to its credit, without any of the imperfections. Developed being a relative term, we’re not talking Benidorm. To put it into perspective, access was only possible by boat until 1996 and electricity only reached the area in 2003. Since the road was built, a handful of small “resorts” have sprung up, but it is far from spoilt or overly busy, yet. In fact, it has to rank as probably the most beautiful beach location we have ever seen,
with sand the colour and texture of talcum powder and sea the colour of Colgate Minty Blue Gel
. If you’re looking for a beach holiday it’s hard to see how this could be surpassed, it truly is, Nirvana-on-Sea
Our stay was enhanced by near perfect weather, although it was so hot that one day we managed to burn while sitting in the shade, due to the sun reflecting off the white sand! We spent most of our days sun (or shade) bathing and swimming. Our only excursion to speak of was a snorkelling trip to a nearby reef, which was only a few minutes away by boat and enabled us to see an impressive array of colourful fish and corals.
The place we stayed at, Kendwa Rocks (and we can confirm it does!), was almost as nice as the location and served up some delicious seafood. They also have a fairly lively bar, which is popular with tourists and locals alike. One of the highlights of our evenings there was the Obama Inauguration Party
, which featured some awe-inspiring dancing from a group of locals. Particularly memorable being the Masai, complete with traditional robes, dancing to some considerably less
than traditional music!
As you will have gathered, we loved it and we managed to accidentally stay over three times as long, as originally planned, but thus is the joy of travel without an itinerary! With our batteries fully recharged we felt ready to leave the beaten track and head off on the very long and dusty road to Ethiopia.
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