Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Finding spices, tortoises and doors in Zanzibar, Tanzania

There has been so much hype about Zanzibar, but at the same time, a few people weren't particularly thrilled. 
Being in the country, I knew I had to visit so I planned a trip with my sisters and three friends.
I seem to have written more on Tanzania than I have on any other country, here are some of the links. This was my first post then I did a bit in Kigoma. The next one will give you my general impressions and of course I went on a safari. Do check all the posts out when you have a chance.

We spent two days in Dar es Salaam catching up and me showing them the few places I know. Some of the places we went to were Cape town fish market, we all loved the food.

Cape town fish market overlooks the ocean

We watched the sun set, look at that sky line


The sushi here is good



There was food for everyone including those who didn't want sea food.

When sisters are together
I tend to take people to get their signature pose at this sign when they visit

We ate at Food Lover's Market café

Off to Zanzibar
We went by ferry...it cost $35 per person for economy and $50 per person for VIP. We stayed in the VIP section


Isn't she just extra?! 😃 A t-shirt for Zanzibar

It takes 1hr30mins to get to Zanzibar by ferry. It could take longer when it's turbulent. On the way back, it took us about 2hrs. The crew gave us paper bags in case people got sick.
On arrival, this was what greeted us.
We were picked up by our taxi and taken to the hotel which was an hour away from stone town. We stayed in Nungwi which is North of Zanzibar.

Our cottage was nicely prepared.





The restaurant area at the hotel where we stayed was everything beach vibe
Flame Tree Cottages was such a relaxing place to stay, our cottage had two bedrooms and each room had 3 beds then there was a living room. We turned that to our morning work out spot. Well, on the days we were motivated enough to work out.

There is a pool and the place is very well maintained, neat lawns, we saw the staff scrubbing the stones on the walkways. They do pay attention to how every part looks. The house close to the restaurant in the photo belongs to the owners and the stairs right in the corner leads up to the roof. Yoga takes place up there each day for $20 per person.
We were all exhausted so the evening was a quiet one.

We made inquiries and were told that the marine turtle conservation project was a ten minute walk from the hotel. We headed there the next day. On our way, there were guys marketing their tourist packages or trying to sell goods to us. The hotel prices of the things we wanted to do was slightly high so we were on the look out for someone to provide us with what we needed.

We walked into a shack which was a make shift office and got ourselves a good deal for the next day. We gave the needed information and collected the info we needed, made a deposit and we continued to see the turtles.


Baby turtles

Ogba was the first one who went to feed the turtles...the rest of us gathered courage after she led the way
Turtles
Fish in the water to balance the ecosystem
The guide was so passionate about the whole project and loaded us with a lot of information


This corner only brings to light how much damage we do to the environment. It was unconscious before, but not anymore...we all have a part to play in ensuring that we do not do more damage.





Ene, Odachi, Ogba, Hilary and Tosin

They look so lovely


The last person, Emily, arrived just before we went out but was exhausted and needed to sleep. She was awake by the time we got back to the hotel. I like to call her my adopted Nigerian friend 😊 she lives in Nigeria and is Nigerian in so many ways now...

Day 3 was a packed day, we set out at 9am...we started at a spice farm, there was so much to learn and see, especially for me who is rubbish in this area. Ogba and Emily were the stars here.


Had to capture this level of attention

One of the spices that was used as lipstick back in the day...both of our guides demonstrating

Nutmeg


It wasn't only about spices, there were fruits also
Coffee beans and cinnamon 
Jack fruit

Vanilla

The entertainer...he put on a show while climbing the coconut tree
Fresh coconuts

Preparing our crowns and bracelets

Getting the coconut ready for us

Spice queens!
Some of the cars that brought tourists to the farm
From here, we went to Stone town where we met our guide. He led us to the boat that took us to Prison Island.
Our boat was face to face, can you see it? 😆
On the way....





First, we went to see tortoises, we all had the chance to feed and touch them. The guide showed us how to stroke them on their legs in a way they like. It was interesting to see how they would stand for that. Ogba led with that.
Look at how huge they are








Their age is written on their shells. This one has a cracked shell as a branch fell on it when it was younger so it grew up with the crack
We were told that they could live for over 200 years. The guide mentioned that they noticed that many of them start to fall ill after 200 and eventually die. We saw the oldest one in there that was sickly, he was 198 if my memory serves me well.


From there we went to the prison area. We were told some really depressing stories. The Sultan of Oman was the controller of slaves here...stories of slave trade are never easy to listen to.
The prisonyard


The yard


The chain I was holding onto in the photo above was one that held slaves captive. They were chained from there to the other end of the room. We were told the number of people who were cramped into this place and shown other rooms where slaves were kept, so many more than the capacity of the rooms. Leading to many of them dying.
I sat in this chair grateful to be in that room not as a slave but as a free black woman. And this is selfish but I am grateful not to have been born in the era of slave trade. I have so much respect for all the people who went through this horrible time.
We walked out to the point of no return


Me looking across the ocean wondering how the slaves would have felt getting into boats to be transported to an unknown destination.

As we walked back to leave, I took a moment to just be happy
From here, we went back to Stone town. We didn't have very much time left. We were hungry so the first thing to do was to find food.
The guide brought us here...there were many other tourists

Zanzibari feast - chapati, beef sauce, pilau rice, fish in coconut milk, chips and plantain

Narrow streets of Stone town


Tanzanite, a gemstone that is found only in Tanzania. I got me this :-)


Memories store in Stone town, quite pricey though

There was a variety of doors

The doors....




Freddie Mercury museum
Narrow walkways of Stone town





We walked around stone town but had missed the museums as they were all closed. We only saw the Freddie Mercury museum.

On the drive back to our hotel, most of us fell asleep in the car.

This post is quite long, thank you for reading to this point. More on Zanzibar in the next post, it will be a lot of fun I promise.

I'll also give a few tips to bear in mind when visiting...

10 comments:

  1. Awesome! Seems like I was on this trip with you guys,you narrated it so well. Waiting for the next post.😀

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  2. The spice Queen pictures got me laughing and the 'Point of no return' is a place that i have read in my history books, fascinating coming from you. You made the whole place come alive in my head. I might need to borrow courage from Ogba to touch the Tortoise, hahahaha.

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    1. Hahahahaha I've been to other points of no return - in Benin Republic, Senegal and in Lagos. I would like to see the one in Calabar. There are so many places I have been to that I didn't write about. I'm doing a better job these days at documenting.

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  3. Hmmmmm thought I would be totally green eyed but I have to say I'm not. You girls had a lovely time and I'm happy about that. I still wish I was with y'all

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    1. We shall all go together next year. We'll plan properly so it's suitable for us all.

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  4. Wow Ene! I can tell you had a fantastic time. So many fun things to see and do. An extensive menu of spices, fruit and other enticing items of produce. Great to be with the marine life too, and the giant tortoises. On history, you have written informatively and sensitively. The point of no return is a chilling place name.
    The photos are great, nice to see you with your sisters and friends. Spice Queens indeed. Overall, a vibrant report and I am looking forward to the next post. Thanks for sharing all of this.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed reading the post Eddie. We sure had an amazing time. The next one will be all about the clear blue waters.

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  5. Quite some photos to help readers experience the trip. Turns out many Nigerians think fun trips to other African countries isn't the best use of their travel experience. Some don't consider it 'abroad enough' for their social media displays. They's rather do tall glassy buildings in the US, some crowded shopping spots of Lthe UK or Dubai. The African country that excites many is South Africa. Fun as the American and European cities are, many travelers miss the thrills of nature and history African cities have on offer. I just might try Zanzibar someday...if I can afford it. That said, it' a shame that in this era of diversity and inclusion, there is a glaring gender imbalance on this trip. Be guided for future ones.

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    1. I realised how photos bring trips alive so I'm increasingly moving with the times by documenting my trips in photos. There are some place I have been to but didn't write about so those ones remain my memories to keep.

      I was waiting for who would chip that quip in! Sorry (but not sorry), for this and future trips, no men allowed when it's ladies time. There may be trips for couples so we will have the balance you seek. Heheheehehehe

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