Salomi Joerdens in Zanzibar – May 2013
Weather patterns across Africa are becoming increasingly unpredictable. Just south of the equator, Zanzibar’s weather pattern follows that of Tanzania very closely – although always tends to be a little more humid – and occasional rain in the dry season is less uncommon than in the heart of the mainland Tanzania. Generally the main rainy season, or the ‘long rains’, last during March, April and May.
Although May is not your best time to travel to Zanzibar I was very excited to go and learn about a small piece of Africa.
We all met at the Mango check in counters and left Johannesburg at 07:00 am on the Mango direct charter flight to Zanzibar and arrived at 11:50 local time in a very sunny and humid Zanzibar. The flight was very comfortable and convenient. Due to the early departure of the flight you will need to stay the night before in Johannesburg, which makes City Lodge OR Tambo an ideal option. We took an hour transfer through rural Africa from the Airport to Paradise Beach Hotel.
Arriving at Paradise Beach Hotel the very friendly staff sang us a welcome song and served us a refreshing welcome drink, making us feel right at home. Paradise Beach Hotel is a perfect three star property located on the East Coast of the Island. It is ideal for a group of friends on a small budget looking to have loads of fun! Beautiful beach just 5 minutes’ drive from the Lodge. Free Wi-fi available at the reception area.
We spend an entire day at Paradise Beach Hotel, relaxing in the swimming pool and at the beautiful beach.
Up early the next morning, we checked out after breakfast ready for our five site inspections that day. Our first stop was at Uroa Bay Hotel, a real 4*gem! I completely fell in love with this Hotel and would definitely go back for a visit. The Hotel has a beautiful beach (subject to the tides) and a fantastic swimming pool and is also located on the East Coast of the Island. The rooms are spacious and very Moroccan. Uroa Bay has lots of facilities to offer and free Wi-fi in the common areas.
After Uroa we visited Meliá Zanzibar. Meliá Zanzibar is set within a beautiful 40 hectare estate providing spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. The resort offers a private beach and for the adrenaline junkies, a range of water sports including paragliding, kite surfing, scuba and snorkeling excursions as well as deep water fishing. Meliá Zanzibar was also a Trip Advisor 2013 winner (Travellers Choice)
Next stop was Sandies Neptune Pwani Resort. The Resort is built in true Zanzibar style, using the best in local design. The Resort features 150 rooms all with terrace and ocean view. Facilities include 3 restaurants, 2 bars, the Mvua African Rain Spa, the Spherique Boutique and the kid’s club.
Diamonds Dream of Zanzibar was next. Still on the East Coast of Zanzibar and a 5 star all inclusive Resort. This is a very big property with 5 Restaurants that offers guests an exceptional variety of dining options and 3 bars to enjoy drinks and cocktails.
No 5 for the day was Sandies Mapenzi Beach Club. They have beautiful tropical gardens. The setting is gorgeous, the hotel itself feels very luxurious and the beach is lovely. They have a very good selection of food. We were offered an awesome lunch after the site inspection. Wi-Fi is available at an additional charge.
After a day’s hard work we checked in at Ora My Blue. My Blue Boutique Hotel is situated in Nungwi, one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Nungwi is famous for its spectacular sunsets, white beaches and ocean in all the shades of blue. The Hotel is about 50 km’s from Stone Town Airport and easily accessible. In front of the pool near the main bar there is a covered area with a library, table games ext. All Wi-Fi at additional charge.
Early next morning we departed on a spice tour followed by a tour to Stone Town. I love cooking and the spice tour was very interesting to me. Having the solid form in your hand and to actually see what the plant looks like – I loved it!! We had the opportunity to buy some spices and support the local community. The locals also walk with you and plait the leaves into crowns and bangles. We ended the Tour with ‘Butterfly’ that climbed a coconut tree for us, singing local songs and picking fresh coconuts. When he got to the ground he opened it for us so that we could taste the fresh coconut milk.
We made our way to Stone Town, where the local people rely on the day’s sales. We walked through the markets and ended up at the Mercury’s Restaurant. What an awesome little place! It has rustic furniture and overlooks the docks and harbour. We had Pizza, and masala chips – awesome and averaged priced. The restaurant has a good atmosphere and is very busy with tourists and businessman having lunch meetings.
After breakfast and another night spent at Ora My Blue, we departed for The Royal of Zanzibar. En route we stopped at Double Tree by Hilton, Amaan Bungalows, Diamonds Gemma dell Est and the Star of the East for site inspections.
Next stop was Amaan Bungalows, also situated in the Nungwi Village. They offer a wide range of accommodation styles to suite every budget and need. Among their facilities their offer 3 restaurants, 2 bars, a fully equipped water sports centre and dive centre, safety deposit boxes, laundry, internet cafe, Boutique and Massage facilities
At Diamonds Gemma Dell East – a beautiful hotel and very environmentally friendly. The Hotel has a total of 138 rooms all with private terrace and sea view. The 4 restaurants, 3 bars offer a big variety of international and local cuisine and drinks.
We had the pleasure of having lunch here, after our site inspection, and the food was great!
Right next door are Diamonds Star of the East. This is totally something else! A magnificent private sanctuary of eleven exclusive villas with their own plunge pool and a furnished terrace. A covered patio and a large tropical garden allows you to enjoy exclusive privacy and you have a lovely view of the Indian Ocean and the famous Zanzibar sunset. The villas are named after eleven of the most precious gems in the world to match the modern and contemporary African style architecture. Personal butler service, a private beach and unmatched all-inclusive services accommodate the traveller with ultimate comfort, privacy and luxury. Literally everything and anything you could dream of is catered for at the very highest level of all-inclusive services including access to all facilities, restaurants and bars
The villas are named after eleven of the most precious gems in the world to match the modern and contemporary African style architecture. Personal butler service, a private beach and unmatched all-inclusive services accommodate the traveller with ultimate comfort, privacy and luxury.
Literally everything and anything you could dream of is catered for at the very highest level of all-inclusive services including access to all facilities, restaurants and bars of Diamonds La Gemma dell’Est.
We finally made our way to the Royal Zanzibar to check in for the evening. On arrival we were met by their very friendly staff. After check in and a day’s work we headed straight for the beautiful swimming pool, enjoying the view and enjoying cocktails until it was time for dinner.
We were very excited by our next day’s excursion to Mnemba Island. Our wooden sail boat was ready and waiting for us. With everyone on board, they opened the sails and we were on our way. We had some rain on the way but we did not mind at all as the view was so beautiful and we were so excited about snorkelling at this famous Island. On our way there we dropped off some fisherman (we were all under the impression that they took a lift with us). Getting to the diving spot, we spend hours in the water, the best I have ever seen. On our way back we were taken to shore (where we dropped off the fisherman) finding out that whilst we were having fun, they were fishing and cooked us fresh fish with rice and fresh fruit for a late lunch. This was definitely a day to remember.
We got back to the Hotel and after some cake and fresh coffee, we checked out and made our way to Hideaway of Nungwi Resort & Spa.
Hideaway of Nungwi Resort & Spa is one of the leading hotels of the world with ocean front accommodations each with private porch/balcony, tropical gardens and stunning views of the deep blue Indian Ocean. A wide variety of activities and facilities are available. We spend two nights at Hideaway which was a very special treat.
We checked out and made our way to the Airport for our flight back home. One final stop was made at Sea Cliff Beach Resort. Driving into Sea Cliff Resort & Spa you know you have found something special. The 4 km road through a coconut plantation that leads to the hotel gives you a true Zanzibar feel. The hotel is situated on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean and offers panoramic views from the lounge, restaurant, bar and even the recreation area.
Zanzibar is a unique destination filled with history and character, beautiful beaches and wonderful people. I look forward to go back in the future.
Posted on 2 September 2013
Salomi Joerdens in Zanzibar – May 2013