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Chasing a Dream - Part I "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference" - Robert Frost

Exotic Zanzibar

TANZANIA | Saturday, 12 March 2016 | Views [223]

Ah Zanzibar; the name invokes the sense of something exotic, like the spices for which it is famous. Stone Town with its whitewashed buildings and narrow alleys steeped in Arabic tradition does not disappoint, and feels as if you are  stepping a century back in time. The heat and the humidity was stifling at 31C and in the short time it took to wander the alleys to my hotel, I was drenched in sweat. The hotel (Tembo House) was beautifully designed in moorish architecture and located right on the beach; the three sides of the hotel forming a courtyard around a swimming pool which opened up to the sea. I’m afraid once ensconced in its serene oasis, I lacked the inertia to leave its walls and explore the town more; a rare thing for me indeed if you know me at all. Instead, I changed into my swimsuit and spent the rest of the sweltering afternoon lounging by the beach and feeling not the least bit guilty for my laziness.; this was after all why I came here.

I woke up the next morning to an absolutely appalling rain and thunderstorm; particularly so, since I had a full day snorkeling tour scheduled. It was part of my itinerary that I was especially looking forward to. The tour wasn’t cancelled as the operators were too eager to keep their money and we went out in the pelting rain. The water was rough and not surprisingly no one wanted to get in to snorkel. We puttered around, landing on a sandbar that would have been a delight in the sun, before going on to another island and taking refuge in the thatched shelter; where we spent several hours looking sadly at the grey horizon. What a complete bore! The only nice part of it was my fellow companions; three nice ladies from Australia whom I struck an immediate friendship with. Coincidentally they too were staying a the Temp House Hotel, and would also be traveling to the very same hotel in Nungwi Beach as I was. They were part of a group of 13 ladies and 1 man, all traveling together through Tanzania. We all gladly left the boat after the tour and the tip box stood empty as a testament to our dissatisfaction. My driver was waiting for me to take me the 1 ½ hours to Nungwi, on the northernmost tip of the island. The road was in surprisingly good condition and passed mostly through farmlands and the occasional small village. My driver decided to use the time to try and convince me to loan him some money, which he promised to return to me when he came to pick me up in 5 days for the return journey. Since I wasn’t born yesterday, I flatly refused and told him if he needed a loan he should visit the bank. The rest of the drive when by in awkward silence, and I was relieved to arrive safely at the hotel (Amaan Beach Bungalows). The hotel was unspectacular; but located right on the beach, had a large open deck area and swimming pool. The room was a bit run down, but I figured I would be spending most my time either by the pool or on the beach.

Which is pretty much all I did for 5 days; it was blissfully relaxing and I never tired of the view.  One afternoon I joined my new Australian friends for a sunset sail on a traditional dhow boat. We didn’t actually view the sunset because of some clouds on the horizon, but the sail itself was a lot of fun. The crew played African drums the entire time while we sipped beers and danced along. The sea was an absolute gorgeous azure that almost seemed to glow in the dusk. The only negative were sea fleas that kept biting me while I swam. Another afternoon I went sea kayaking; it was like gliding over air, the water was so crystal clear you could see the ripples in the sandy ocean floor.

On the way back to Stone Town, I took a tour of the Jonzi Forest and a spice plantations; though both were informative, they were definitely not worth the expense. After my lazy days beach side in Nungwi, I felt recharged and ready for the next chapter of my adventures. I would be flying to Johannesburg in the morning to meet up with the overland tour for another 30 days of exploring all of southern Africa.

Tags: zanzibar

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