Africa, Tanzania, Travels

Zanzibar, a magical island

April 24, 2019

Africa as a whole is the continent that I want to visit and explore the most. So far I only had a chance to visit some of the northern countries in Africa. When I got invited by Jungle Travel to take part in their influencers travel up to Zanzibar, Tanzania I was so happy and excited. 7 days, 18 influencers, one can only expect a trip documented to the very detail.

First a bit about Jungle Travel. Jungle Travel is a Serbia travel agency, that is best known for organizing uncommon and interesting trips. Recently they started doing Travel Up tours, where they invite bloggers, influencers and photographers and take them on adventurous tours around the world . Zanzibar was a Travel Up concept, where I was together with 17 other influencers/photographers/bloggers. Apart from the travel ups they do ‘normal’ tours, you can see all their tours and trips here and if you are particularly interested in Zanzibar here.

People say after you visit Africa you view life differently. I consider myself a person that is very aware that life isn’t black and white. By studying politics and international relations I am well introduced to the issue of poverty and the inequality gap. But, it’s one thing to read and hear about it in the newspaper or news and a completely different thing when you witness it with your own eyes. I experienced it as a harsh slap on the face. If I have to describe this trip with one word it would have to be bittersweet. There was natural beauty, happy faces, love, poverty, ruins, underdevelopment all at once. Everyone that we met in Zanzibar from our tour guide, to the staff at the hotels we stayed in to strangers on the streets…all of them were extremely friendly, nice and with big bright smiles on their faces.

Seeing the people this happy and friendly  was odd to all of us, because these people here live in poverty, have close to nothing yet, they have smiles on their faces and are full of love and life. Which got me thinking of how often I forget to be grateful and appreciative of everything I have and life in general. Just like many of you, I take things for granted, don’t always pay attention to the little things, and forget to be thankful on daily basis for everything I have. After seeing this with my own eyes, I felt it as a wake up call to change my mind set and start being more appreciative and grateful, love life more and stop complaining on minor and unimportant things.

As I said this was an influencers trip, organized by Jungle Travel. So, I got to meet some really interesting and creative people, that I became really good friends in such a short time period. Jungle Travel created an amazing group. There wasn’t one dull moment in all 7 days we spend together, I feel that my stomach still hurts from laughing.
Now that I got this off of my mind let’s jump into the details, travel tips, must visit spots etc.

Zanzibar or Unguja Island is part of Tanzania, an island 30 km from Africa. With 1.3 million inhabitants, is considered as a place with the most beautiful beaches in the world.

 

Where to stay:

Tausi Hotel- Located in the heart of Stone Town (the capital city of Zanzibar), the hotel is in a neo-colonial building and decorated with local features. Our favorite part was probably the rooftop terrace (where we had breakfast and dinner) with a view over the whole town.

African Sun Sand Sea Resort and Spa– located on the east coast of Zanzibar, this resort was paradise. The rooms are very spacious and the beach is just 30 seconds away from your room.

 

                               

 

Getting around:

Tanzania like every African country is poorly developed, so public transport is not an option. The best way to explore Zanzibar is to book your holiday through an agency, that will organize all your transfers, day trips, excursions etc.

Through the mainland you can go around with a taxi or van, as for the nearby islands (Zanzibar Archipelago has more than 40 islands) you will need a boat.

 

Must see’s:

Mercury House- the house where Freddie Mercury (the lead singer of Queen) was born. Today the house is turned into a hotel. There is no need to go inside hence its turned into a hotel.

Aldabra giant tortoises- an endangered tortoise specie that were originally a gift to Zanzibar from the Seychelles. The Aldabra giant tortoises (some are up to 200 years old) live on the Changuu Island also known as Prison Island, which is just a 30 minute boat ride from Stone Town. On Prison Island not only can you see the tortoises, but you can also feed them and pet them

Explore Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park- fun fact: Jozina Chwaka is the only national park of Tanzania. The forest is filled with plants that the local people use as medicine or for everyday life. Apart from the vast ray of flora, there are also animals, some which can be only found in Zanzibar such as the Red colobus monkeys.

The Rock- most famous Instagram spot and most famous restaurant in Zanzibar. What makes this building characteristic is that when the tide is low you can walk up to the restaurant, however when the tide is high you would have to take a boat in order to visit the restaurant.

Low tide and high tide- this was something that was astonishing I’ve seen low and high tide, but not to the extent that I saw in Zanzibar. In the morning literally the ocean was gone, it looked like a dessert and then in the afternoon the water comes back and everything is back to normal.

 

Must do’s:

Explore charming Stone Town- covered in neo-colonial architecture and a maze of small and narrow streets. A day in Stone Town is just about enough to see everything they have. Places that left the biggest impression on me were the water front (where they set a night food market) and the narrow streets filled with local shops. Tip: don’t forget to bargain when shopping.

                                   

Spice Tour- Zanzibar is a world-renowned island for spices, you shouldn’t skip a tour to a spice farm. The tour lasts approximately 3 hours. Throughout the tour we were showed different spices, were taught how and for what they are used, got to try some of them. Apart from spices we also got to try some local fruits. The tour finished with a fresh coconut, tasting of fruits and a bit of spice shopping.

                                    

Go snorkeling- Blue Safari- As I said Zanzibar has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We had one whole day reserved for Blue Safari aka beach hopping. We road on a traditional Zanizbar sailing boat- Dhow and got to snorkel and discover the beautiful underwater world, and lastly we got to see dolphins.

                                     

Watch the sunset- in Zanzibar I saw the most beautiful sunsets, words can describe them, so I’ll let the photos speak (although in real life it was even more epic).

                                      

Eat lots of sea food- this is a must for me whenever I visit a place that is near the sea or ocean, but in Zanzibar I had one of the best lobsters and prawns in my life.

                                      

Tan on a white sand beach- nothing better than spending a day tanning on one of the many beautiful beaches of Zanzibar.

                         

Do good- the most important one, help the local community. Whether that is being nice and polite to everyone, giving candy to the children or if you can donate some funds.

                                                          

 

Where to eat:

Sunset Bar- Africa House Hotel

perfect for: drinks and dinner

what to eat: sea food platter

 

Upendo

perfect for: lunch

what to eat: grilled squid with lemon sauce

 

Mercury’s Bar

perfect for: drinks and late night snack

what to eat: tropical pizza

                                    

Now to answer some frequently asked questions:

  • We flew Belgrade-Doha-Zanzibar; in total we traveled 20 hours (including a 7 hour layover in Doha)
  • Most countries require a visa for Tanzania, which you get upon arrival at the airport. It costs 50$ (you will just need to fill out some paperwork).
  • You don’t need to get vaccinated if you are only visiting Zanzibar. I was advised to take pills for Malaria, although the majority of the group didn’t take any medication.
  • Always always use something to prevent mosquitos.
  • The currency is Tanzanian Shillings the best currency to exchange is US dollars (tip: make sure the bills aren’t older than 2006).
  • The plugs are like the UK ones, so you might need an adapter.
  • Don’t drink tap water, don’t wash the fruits or your teeth with tap water use only bottled water.

 

You can check out my vlog from Zanzibar here

Zanzibar and this trip overall is definitely in my top 3 trips of my lifetime. Thank you Jungle for having me and for making this trip unforgettable. Can’t wait for the next travel up spoiler alert it’s in Japan and you can also come, message @celisvet for more information.

*This blog post is in collaboration with Jungle Travel

*cover photo by Maja Topcagic*

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