I (Joana) am back from an amazing vacation in Zanzibar. I fell in love with this Island and want to tell you everything.
Let’s start by introducing Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is an archipelago located in the Indic Ocean, and is divided into two main islands. Pemba is the most natural one and Unguja, the most touristic one, is where I stayed.
I visited Zanzibar in April, which is in the low season. It is called the low season not because it is cold, no. It is warm and hot all year round, but because it is the monsoon season. The monsoon season goes from April to the end of May, and in November and December and is characterized by some days of rain.
I caught some rain, but nothing to worry about, because it can rain in one day for an hour or two, but it´s good for the rest of the day. I caught rain usually at lunchtime, that was fantastic. It was almost like the bell saying it was time to eat.
I picked the Riu Hotel Palace Zanzibar in the north of the island, between two amazing beaches Kendwa and Nungwi. I loved the hotel. The amenities are amazing, the bedroom was good and spacious, with a good mirror to have pictures of my outfits, to show to you, as I did in this post (here). It has one large restaurant or buffet, where you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also three themed restaurants. I already stayed in many resorts, and many Riu hotels. I have to say that this was one of the best buffets of all, and one of the best vacations in terms of food. Fish and fruit makes me happy.
There were three themed restaurants- the Greek restaurant, being the first in the Riu chain, Krystal the fusion restaurant, and the Steakhouse restaurant, where against all odds, I ate an amazing plate of grilled lobster. Yummy
I wanted to enjoy the hotel and work hard in the sun to catch some color, so we asked to accommodate three tours in one day. Usually, they just make two of the three together in a day, but the people there are so nice, and always trying to help us, that they provided what we wanted.
One day I went to Prison Island to see the sanctuary of the turtles and do some snorkeling. Next, I went to Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar, where I did a guided tour to see more of the culture and how life is there and ended the day at the Spice farm, where they cooked us a homemade meal. I tried the Pilau rice, and OMG it is the best rice that I have ever eaten. I stayed with the recipe and bought the spices there to recreate at home the rice.
It was a full and cultural day, ending with a feeling of being richer in terms of culture and more aware that there are people that live with so little and are happy, which makes us think that we give too much importance to material things.
When we decided to go to Zanzibar, my head immediately thought that I could take one more thing off my bucket list. Usually when someone goes to Zanzibar, first stays a couple of days in Tanzania to do a Safari and then goes to Zanzibar to rest. But, unfortunately, that is impossible for me because of the price, it’s too expensive to do that. So I took that off my mind.
When I arrived there, the travel guide told us that there was a possibility to do one day of safari. I didn’t think twice and booked the tour.
The tour started at 4 AM. The tour guy caught us at the hotel and we went to the airport to catch a type of plane. I´m not sure if I can call that a proper plane. We did a flight from 1:10 to Tanzania and the plane stopped in the middle of the Mikumi National park. Exactly in the middle, because we were arriving and I already could see a giraffe through the window.
There was a traditional jeep waiting for us. And we went on the adventure. I can say, that was one of the best experiences of my life. In the Mikumi national park, I could see the Big 4. Yes the big four and not the big 5, because Rhinos don’t exist in Tanzania. I saw Lions, Giraffes, Leopards, Elephants, Hippos, Zebras, Gnu, Buffalo, crocodiles, monkeys, and so much more. It’s a fantastic and unique opportunity to be able to see these animals in their natural habitat.
We had lunch in the restaurant of the Mikumi National park, and at the end of the day, we caught again the plane back to Zanzibar. I still can’t believe that I fulfilled one more dream on my bucket list.
There were more places and tours to do in Zanzibar, including light the Rock, a popular restaurant on the water, but I had to choose and the food was so amazing in the hotel and free because I went with the All-Inclusive, so why go to an expensive restaurant just for the experience. Maybe if I go a second time to Zanzibar, I will do that tour.
The people in Zanzibar are so nice. I never felt insecure or afraid to be in a place, even in Stone town in the middle of the market. Even being white and so different from them, I never had a second look or a weird approach.
There they speak Swahili.
Thank you – Asante
Thank you very much – Asante Sana
What´s up – Jambo (something that I heard many times, because would always say “Hello” to you)
Yes – Diu
Sorry – Pole
And the expression that I hear more there, was one that I wasn’t aware of that was typical of a place and not just a word that was invented for a movie. I´m talking about “HAKUNA MATATA”, which means No Problem.
Hakuna Matata I think is the word that characterizes best Zanzibar. There is No problem there.
I highly recommend that you visit this amazing place.
If you have some questions or just want more information (what is necessary to go, etc) just ask and I will help you.