Our adventure began in the morning after breakfast at Mawimbi Villa, where we had spent the night before. Mathias drove us to the nearby boat dock, from where we should take the ferry to Zanzibar. Those who want to travel from Pangani and Ushongo Beach to Zanzibar essentially have two possibilities. You can either fly with a propeller plane or use the boat for crossing the sea. The flight takes about 20 minutes, the boat takes about an hour. We had opted for the latter option. The crossing went well despite some waves and rainfall (especially outside the rainy season the sea is normally very calm). We were accompanied by flying fish and enjoyed having only water around us for a while.
Land in sight!
Hello Zanzibar! We finally reached the north of Zanzibar, the region around Nungwi. The beaches there are particularly beautiful and popular with tourists, the small village is well worth a visit. The north of Zanzibar is also excellent for diving. The Tides Lodge as well as Mawimbi Villa from the Tanzanian mainland offer tours to Zanzibar for one or more days. However, we had planned to leave Zanzibar by plane and to return to Europe. It is therefore important to get a stamp for your passport at the place of arrival when you enter Zanzibar, i.e. in this case in Nungwi. Tanzania and Zanzibar officially belong together, but the island still has its own president and partly its own jurisdiction.
We took a taxi from Nungwi to Stone Town. Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar City, the capital of Zanzibar. For our first night we had planned a stay at Jafferji House. Located in the heart of the winding streets of Stone Town, this hotel has a very special charm with its oriental look and rooftop restaurant. The Emerson Spice Hotel is similar, and we also liked it very much. Finally, Stone Town offers a wide variety of accommodations that vary greatly in both amenities and price. The oriental charm of the Jafferji House is an indication of the island’s rich history. Zanzibar was temporarily ruled by the Portuguese, British and Oman and their sultans during the last centuries, which made the island a true melting pot.
Stone Town and Prison Island
Stone Town vividly tells the story of these past centuries, as well as that of slavery. We would therefore recommend every Zanzibar traveler to take at least one day to explore Prison Island and its giant turtles as well as Stone Town. Prison Island is a former prison island, although the buildings erected on the island were never used as a prison. At the time of the British colonial rule it was rather a place of recreation and excursion for the wealthy. Today there is a hotel and hundreds of turtles on the island, which serve as an attraction for tourists. We enjoyed our visit to Prison Island very much. As the crossing with one of the numerous boats takes approximately half an hour, we recommend planning a total of approximately three hours for the excursion. If you allow for a little more time, you can also go snorkeling.
We also did a guided tour through Stone Town, which we also liked very much. Stone Town is vibrant and rich in history. Accordingly, we undertook the tour with a trained and certified guide. There are also numerous “Beach Boys” that make you promises at a lower price. However, we would advise against this, as the quality of the tour is usually lower, and you may have to adjust to hidden costs. Together with our guide we visited the former palace, which the rulers of the island used in their time. We also discovered markets, historical monuments and learned about the sad history of slavery, to which Zanzibar contributed as a hotspot.