My wife and I took quite a bit of time to decide on a destination for our Honeymoon. There were so many factors to take into account, it was a lot harder than we initially thought it would be. There’s the weather, the flight and available seats, costs and so much more.
After much debate and deliberation, we both loved the idea of going to Zanzibar, an island in Tanzania, Africa. On paper, it seemed perfect. September is winter over there, meaning that the temperature does not rise above 30 degrees Celsius and there’s minimum chance of rainfall. Best of all, in September there’s not too many pesky tourists as it isn’t their peak season.
We reached Dar Es Salaam airport not knowing what to expect. As soon as we landed, we realized that Tanzania has limited infrastructure. The airport is very old with huge lines of people waiting to get their visas on arrival. It took us almost two hours to complete all the formalities at the airport, from filling visa applications, to sorting out payments, and finally waiting for the visas to be stamped on our passports. Once we got through all of that, we had to wait another 2 hours until we were allowed to board our plane to Zanzibar island – a 15-minute flight. We reached exhausted and still had a long way ahead to get to the hotel.
First thing you need to know about Zanzibar is that you will pay a lot of money on transportation. The only way to get around the island is to rent a car with a driver, which we did almost on daily basis. It wasn’t too difficult to do, but we would have preferred to drive around ourselves like we do when we rent a car in Dubai.
There is a certain number of activities that can be done around the island, so you would find a lot of people at the beach, hotel staff or supermarket owners offering daily excursions to all of these locations.
The first thing we did was to go snorkeling. The trip starts off on a 30-minute boat ride to another smaller island called Mnemba, where we literally jump off a tiny boat into the ocean. I have done better snorkeling in my life, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this one. We snorkeled for about 45 minutes before returning back to the boat for a rest. We were offered fresh watermelon, bananas and cold water, after which we returned for another round of snorkeling of approximately the same duration before returning back to our hotel.
Another thing that we did was visiting the Jozani Forest. It is a national park and is one of the last remaining sanctuaries in the world of the red colobus monkey. There is a number of other endangered species that do exists at the park, but are rarely ever seen by humans as they are said to be “shy”.
Nonetheless, it is a beautiful forest with a lot to see when it comes to plants and trees. The monkeys were amazing, quiet and beautiful to watch.
We went for a different snorkeling experience on another day, during which we were taken to several locations in the ocean and in the end stumbled upon dolphins. It was an amazing experience just to freely jump into the ocean and swim with them in the wild and their natural habitat. Never have we felt such feelings of awe and seen such beauty in the depths of the ocean – it was unforgettable.
The following day, we visited the main town called Stone Town. It is about an hour away from the hotel and requires a full day to experience all that the town has to offer. Compared to the beach side, where everything is calm and quite, Stone Town was buzzing and full of life with vendors everywhere, trying to sell their handmade products. We visited all the different kinds of markets such as the fish market, meat market, spice market and so on. Hygiene levels weren’t so great, but when on vacation, you don’t pay attention to these things.
From Stone Town, we took a boat ride to Prison Island – an island briefly used back in the 1860s as a prison and then in the 1890s as a quarantine for people with yellow fever. Now it has become a tourist attraction and home to a collection of the endangered Aldabra giant tortoises, originally gifted from the governor of Seychelles.
The next day, we went for a package called Safari Blue, which started off by taking us on a boat ride to a smaller island, where people gather, have some fruit and snacks, swim, snorkel, take photos, sunbathe and just enjoy the beautiful nature. After the rise came in and the ocean covered 90% of the island, we moved over to a different island, where we were offered a generous lunch composed of barbequed shrimps, crab, chicken, calamari, fish, fresh fruits, coffee and cold drinks. It was deliciously homemade and we enjoyed each succulent bite.
After lunch, we were taken to visit the baobab tree, an experience we couldn’t have had anywhere else in the world. At the island, the scenery was beautiful and the beach was wonderful to swim in. We managed to take a few final photos for the day.
We sailed back during sunset and everyone in our tour group was in good spirits. We managed to get acquainted with everyone during the day, so on our way back it made it a lot less awkward for everyone to introduce themselves. Each person was then asked to sing something from their home country. Once we heard Zanzibar’s local music, we were totally hooked. Ask us and we’ll sing for you some of Zanzibar’s most famous tunes.
We spent the last two days of our honeymoon enjoying the final moments of freedom, peace of mind and pure unadulterated nature. The hotel treated us to a sumptuous dinner as our Honeymoon gift. They decorated our table with flowers and candles while the food was amazing! Add to that the weather was perfect.
All in all, we have nothing but the best to say about our trip and also the island itself. It is obvious that financially and materially, people don’t have much; but that does not affect their positive and friendly attitude to life. They live life with so little worry, making outsiders like myself, jealous of the kind of peace that emanates from their faces.