Zanzibar – the name of this island resonates so much wanderlust. „Hakuna matata“ (Don´t worry) and „Pole pole“ (Slowly, slowly) determine the island´s lifestyle. Zanzibar seems to be one of the last tropical destinations that can be easily reached from Europe, but still has little or no tourism in many parts of the island.
Ebb and flow define the daily beach life at the beautiful white beaches at 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 and very shallow water stirred up with sea grass. Watch your steps during mudflat when walking becomes very challenging in between thousands of sea urchins and starfish.
Pure Lonelinessin Matemwe
Matemwe is a real jewel with only a very few people at the beach during high season. Most of the accommodations, built as Eco Boutique hotels, are charmingly integrated into the village. Good to know: There is either a very local bus to town (impossible to make it with luggage) or taxis at a price of 80 dollars one-way.
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.
Like a maze
Stonetowns Arabic and Indian influences are noticeable at first glance. The capital of Zanzibar (Unesco World Heritage Site) is lively and very humid. No matter how well you study the map, you will immediately get lost in the narrow alleys.
During the day one sees few Zanzibaris. But after sunset and slightly less sultriness, the women flock in large groups with their children to the Forodhani food market on the promenade and it gets really crowded in the small park. If the stomach plays along, dinner can be quite cheap for local meals like grilled octopus, Shawarma or the famous Zanzibar pizza.
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 is an 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 worth seeing. Zanzibar is famous for its spices. Coffee is sold with a subtle taste of ginger, cloves or cinnamon.
Dar Es Salaam
24 hours in the capital of Tanzania were more rewarding and less chaotic than imagined. Dar es Salaam isn´t 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 than by a booked taxi. Interesting to know: A little outside of the city yo can expect one of the most beautiful beaches of the country.