Auric Air on Tanga airport departing to Zanzibar

Zanzibar – already the name of this island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania resonates so much wanderlust. „Hakuna matata“ (Don´t worry) and „Pole pole“ (Slowly, slowly) determine the island lifestyle. Zanzibar seems to be one of the last tropical destinations that can be easily reached from Europe, but has little or no tourism in many parts of the island.

cockpit view while flying to Zanzibar
Zanzibar from above flying AuricAir

Paradisiac

but differently
women in water harvesting seagrass Jambiani Zanzibar
view from ocean on Jambiani beach Zanzibar
kids playing in streets of Jambiani Zanzibar

Ebb and flow determine the daily beach life, at least at the beautiful white beaches of the east coast like Jambiani and Matemwe. The coast is paradisiacal – but unlike elsewhere. Even at high tide, swimming is difficult due to the whirlpool temperatures in December and the very shallow water stirred up with sea grass. During mudflat walks between sea urchins and starfish I watched the women harvesting sea grass and was always irritated how leisurely tourism on the island seems to start.

woman coming out of water with seagrass
exotic orange fruit Zanzibar
boys in Jambiani village with Kofia
woman walking into the sea at sunset in Jambiani

Pure Loneliness

in Matemwe

Matemwe is a real jewel. Outside the accommodation I hardly found a single person on the beach. Three days of pure relaxation: staring at the beautifully grown palm trees, relaxing in the hammock and enjoying seafood at lunch and dinner. The Eco Boutique hotels are charmingly integrated into the village, but the extreme contrasts are still very visible. Good to know: There is either the very local bus (impossible to make with luggage) or taxis at a price of 80 dollars one-way.

overlooking Matemwe beach and palmtrees from Zanzibar Bandas hotel
kids running and on bike at Matemwe beach
kids playing at Matemwe beach while it is getting dark
leaving mnemba atoll after diving

From Matemwe it is a half hour drive over gravel roads to the diving schools north of Kigomani, which go out to the Mnemba atoll.

people on Nungwi beach at sunset time
romantic dinner at Nungwi beach at sundowner

Nungwi is the tourist stronghold of the island. But there are almost no tides, sea whole day and the water is dreamlike turquoise.

Stonetown

Like a maze

old restored building in Stonetown
arabic street sign in Stonetown
schoolgirls in streets of stonetown
men in Kaftan in streets of Stonetwon
kids jumping into the water at sunset in Stonetown

Stonetowns Arabic and Indian influences are noticeable at first glance. The capital of Zanzibar (Unesco World Heritage Site) is lively and hot, exotic and guarantees to get totally lost in the narrow alleys. No matter how well you study the map, you will immediately get lost in the narrow alleys.

men selling art in street of stonetown
man selling food at Stonetown night market
octopus at fish market in stonetown for selling
people crowd at Jawns corner Stonetwon

During the day one sees few Zanzibaris, almost only sellers in the many alleys of the city. But after sunset and slightly less sultriness, the women flock in large groups with their children to the Forodhani food market on the promenade. Then it gets really crowded in the small park. If the stomach plays along, dinner can be quite cheap and everything can be tried: grilled octopus, Shawarma or the Zanzibar pizza.

impressive huge door in stonetown

Very impressive are the old Swahili doors made of teak and mahogany, decorated with elaborate carvings. The metallic tips are reminiscent of Indian influences, as they once served as protection against elephants.

The Darajani market, where fruit and vegetables, spices, crafts and fresh fish are sold, was my absolute highlight. I love to soak up impressions in the middle of the daily hustle and bustle. The fish hall and the auctions in front of it are especially worth seeing. Zanzibar is famous for its spices, coffee is even available with a subtle taste of ginger, cloves or cinnamon.

old man on Stonetown market in front of shop
entrance to Stonetown market
Chilli in House of spices in stonetown
banana bush on Stonetown market
man preparing fish at market in Stonetwon
Stopover in

Dar Es Salaam

people on ferry with skyline of Daressalam in background
skyline of Daressalam from hotel at sunset

24h in the capital of Tanzania were more rewarding and less chaotic than I had imagined. I also didn’t find Dar es Salaam particularly dangerous, although it was certainly advisable to walk to Kariakoo Market (the largest market in East Africa) without valuables. But after nightfall at the latest, there is no way around taking a taxi booked through the hotel. The city should even have the most beautiful beaches of the country a little outside.

fisher boats while arriving at Daressalam harbour
looking on street food sellers from above in Daressalam