Zanzibar: White Sandy Beaches, Red Monkeys, and Relaxation

 We spent our last week in Tanzania on the island of Zanzibar working on our suntans, swimming, and reading. It was so relaxing and the perfect end to our amazing time here!

On September 23rd, we caught a flight from the Kilimanjaro airport directly to Stone Town, Zanzibar. It was a quick hour flight and we landed in paradise. Our contact picked us up at the airport and transferred us to our hotel in where we finalized our itinerary for our stay here. We planned to spend 2 nights in Stone Town and then 4 nights in between in Jambani beach on the other side of the island.

To orient ourselves with Stone Town, we took a walking city tour through the historic area with our guide, Abraham. We saw the fish market with so many different types of seafood for sale – squid, octopus, barracuda, sting rays, and a bunch of fish too. This is where the local fishermen bring there catch in the morning to sell to the vendors. It was stinky, but at least I knew the fish was fresh. Along the tour, Abraham explained the history of Zanzibar and the creation of Tanzania in 1964 merging mainland named Tanganyika and Zanzibar to create Tanzania. Such recent history! One of my favorite sights on the tour was the wooden, carved doors which Zanzibar is famous for. If the door is arched, then an Indian family used to live there and if it was square then an Arab family lived there–locals weren‘t even allowed in town during that time period. Each door told the history with its carvings, chains for the slave history, fish for the fishing industry, and flowers for the spices.

The evening was spent at the street market where we purchased some amazing fresh fish. I also tried sugar cane juice which was really good. They made the juice in front of us by running the canes through a press manually. Hard work, but really yummy! We would eat here again our last night and feast on lobster, fish and samosas. I also really liked the banana and chocolate fried pancake for dessertJ

We stayed at Jambiani beach from September 24th to the 288th at a small lodge on the edge of town called Red Monkey. Our room was 300 yards from the beach and they had nice padded lounge chairs and shade for us to relax. Most days consisted of waking up for the sunrise, walking on the beach and reading in the shade. I finished 3 books in 4 days! I was happy that we were able to re-stock our book supply in Stone Town from a street vendor selling used books! We also ate fresh seafood with every meal!

The tides were like nothing I have ever seen. When the tide was in there was no beach and the water was 5’ deep. When the tide was out, we had to walk ½ mile to get to the edge of the water and it was only 2’ deep. So every morning the tide was out, but by mid-afternoon we could swim as the tide was in. The local ladies would walk out every morning to the edge of the water and tend to their fields of kelp. They set up wood stakes and then tied the plants to string to grow. It was so interesting to see them farming out there. The men would all be out in boats or spear fishing while the young kids would be playing on the beach – soccer was their favorite.

Our resort was named Red Monkey and we really did have a couple monkey’s visit the eating area everyday. The red monkey’s are only found in Zanzibar and on our way back to Stone Town we visited Jozani reserve to see some more of them in their natural habitat. We were able to see one family of 20 or so really up close! There was several baby monkeys that were wrestling and jumping on each other from the low hanging branches. They were so friendly with us that they ran into Mike’s legs a few times. The adults were all sleeping on the branches in the shade. It was fun to see them up close and observe their playful behavior. The other wildlife highlights were random sealife in the tide pools, a bush baby, and a really, really huge spider that had a web near our breakfast area. It didn’t move much, but looked like it ate well enough!

One morning, we took a snorkeling trip out to the reef. We sailed in a dhow, a traditional boat, to the snorkeling area. The body of the boat was about the size of a canoe with outriggers on either side and a single sail. It was fun to sail and it moved at a fairly quick pace. The snorkeling was awesome and we got to see a wide variety of fish and plant life. There were so many colorful fish, and I have no idea any of their names. My favorite plant was an orange plant that could be open or closed and there were always little orange fish that were swimming around it perfectly camouflaged.. The sail back was a little more interesting because the tide had receded more so we had to zigzag our way back to our hotel. At one sandbar where we were turning, our first mate saw a fish which he jumped out of the boat and caught with his bare hands. So we had an additional passenger for the remainder of the journey, and the first mate had dinnerJ

By the end of our time in Zanzibar, we were both relaxed, suntanned, and wishing we had a few more days here but it was time to move on to another country! We took a fast ferry from Zanzibar to Dar Es Saalm on the 29th. It was a 3 hour ride and we passed the time talking with a nice Dutch couple. The waves were really big and by 2 hours in I was feeling really sick. I made it through with the help of an herbal medicine a friend back in Portland gave me named Tacum. We landed, found our hotel and truly vegged for the entire afternoon. We did walk around the city center, but then back to the room to internet and cable tv where I caught up on my Scooby Doo.

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4 Responses to Zanzibar: White Sandy Beaches, Red Monkeys, and Relaxation

  1. Tracy says:

    Love the ocean picture with the boat – great shot!

  2. Maria says:

    As amazing as it all sounds, my favorite part is catching up on Scooby Doo!!! Meddling kids!!!

  3. Kara says:

    Nice to see the homeopathics came in handy!! It’s great to snoop thru your pictures and stories while running queries 🙂 Keep having a great time!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Kara – Yes, the homeopathics have come in handy a couple times now! Glad we can help you pass the time while your long queries are running:)

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