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June 27th 2010
Published: August 18th 2010
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Matemwe BeachMatemwe BeachMatemwe Beach

Beautiful sand with the Indian Ocean beyond.
After our stressful journey through immigration getting back into Tanzania we stepped onto an 8 seater plane and flew to Zanzibar. The water was so blue and the reefs were visible almost immediately as we flew for 20 minutes over the Indian Ocean. We got picked up by our resort and headed to Matemwe Beach resort. We had chosen this resort for its diving (and food). We were impressed by this resort. The room itself was acceptable, not luxurious, but clean with pleasant staff. However the food was the best food on our entire trip. The white sand on the beach was so beautiful and the pool is very pleasant. They have a South African chef and no kidding this food was amazing. Every evening there was a choice of 2 starters and 2 main courses and it was fantastic. You might think that commenting on choice is unusual, but this was one of the few opportunities on our trip for a choice of meal. Luckily it mostly worked out...they don't eat a lot of lactose in Africa! The breakfast was also one of the best breakfasts that I've ever had. Its amazing how potatoes and eggs can taste so good...
Traditional fishing boatsTraditional fishing boatsTraditional fishing boats

The sea food was least you know where it came from!

This was the perfect start to our day of diving. We had chosen this resort as they have a dive shop by the pool and it would take us 5 minutes by boat to get to the dive site (Matemwe Atol)...however 2 days a month the tides don't work out and you have to take a 45 minute Dala Dala ride to get to the entry point. Guess which 2 days we were there! The Ocean was so blue...a sort of turquoise colour that just looked out of a movie. Our diving was fun with a bit of a current. We saw some sea turtles, eels to name just a few. We also ate the best lunch of the trip which was Afrcian/ indian snack lunch with Samosa, Pakora, might have tasted so good because you get so hungry diving, but it seemed good!

We had some quality beach/pool time when we got back with some of the best sea food - I had some giant (and I mean GIANT) king prawns and Heather had her second plate of calamari (she had this 3 days in a row!). This was of course before the most important event

Everyday at low tide the local women harvest seaweed on the beach.
of the week - England losing to Germany. We would have all predicted England losing on penalty kicks (shame :-))...but England were terrible and never got close to reaching penalty kicks. Our resort was filled with Germans and they were pretty happy to say the least. The funniest thing was watching Felix the German (with a posh English accent) winding up his very English girlfriend as the Germans starting to drive the knife in further...she withheld bug spray from him!

The next day we went diving again and then headed to our next resort. We had decided to try 2 separate parts of the island as I wasn't sure what this first resort was going to be like. The next resort we stayed in was Ngawala Beach Village and it was very luxurious. It had only been open 6 months when we stayed and was very beautiful. It is run by a couple of Canadians who did everything to make us feel at home. It was much quieter than the other resort and a nice place to finish our trip. We spent 4 nights here and had a very relaxing time. One day we went for a walk down to the locals fish market and watched the auction for the fish happening. It was interesting to see the kids tenderizing the octopus by bashing them in the sand (or at least that is what I think they were doing...). We also saw a family of Red Colobus monkeys as we walked up the beach...these were closer to us than the Golden monkeys in Rwanda.

One day we took time out from our relaxation and went for a day trip to Stone Town. This is the old part of Zanzibar town and is a world Heritage site. it is a really interesting mix of African, Arabic, Indian and European influences. One of the biggest differences with the mainland of Tanzania was that the proportion of muslims was much higher. Stone town was the setting off point for slaves being sent overseas from East Africa and the slavery museum made you stop and think about what happened. The doors and buildings were fantastic and we really enjoyed our trip. My one disappointment was that we didn't get to try coffee from the side of the road...the guys ran out just as we walked up to him...but we brought some home
Red Colubus MonkeyRed Colubus MonkeyRed Colubus Monkey

Monkey Magic!!
to try.

We had some variable weather for our last few days and then it was time to go home. Not sure we were ready for our 35 hour trip back to Calgary, but it started with the immigration guys laughing that we had had to buy a second visa on entry to Tanzania. He told us we had been done...not a lot you can do when they are holding your passport though. We had a bizarre experience in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) on the way back where our bags were not checked all the way home, but we were not allowed to go and get them. They would identify them for us... and make sure they got routed to Calgary!! I was a little skeptical regarding this....but it amazingly all worked out.

The end of an amazing trip...until next time!

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Stonetown doorStonetown door
Stonetown door

Its all about the doors.
Slavery memorialSlavery memorial
Slavery memorial

They estimate over a million slaves passed through Stonetown on their way from East Africa. Many didn't make it.
Stone townStone town
Stone town

Narrow streets, coffee and a smogerboard of different cultures.

Traditional image of amazing.
Ngawala beach resortNgawala beach resort
Ngawala beach resort

Heather by the pool.

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