Africa – Tanzania – Zanzibar… With this blog post we want to show you why Zanzibar should definitely be on your bucket list and which places you should visit! Be prepared…
Where we stayed: Mnarani Beach Cottages, Dongwe Ocean View Hotel, Reef & Beach Resort Jambiani
How long to stay in Zanzibar: around 10 days
Price level: cheap
How to get there: by plane, by ferry (from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
How to got around: car rental
– Nungwi Beach
– Mnemba Island
– Dongwe Beach
– The Rock
Nungwi Beach (cover photo)
We started off at Nungwi Beach as we didn’t really know which route would be the best so we decided to head north and make our way down south. We stayed at Mnarani Beach Cottages after we spend days upon days to find out which hotel we would like the most and we ended up booking this one. It turned out to be the MOST AMAZING PLACE ever! We had ocean view swings, an ocean view pool, heaps of hammocks right next to the beach, a cocktail bar on the beach, … literally everything one could wish for!!! Just to give you a tiny impression, I chose my favourite pictures from Nungwi beach and the hotel, as I think this is my absolute favourite part of the island. The water colour and the beach are absolutely perfect! There was only one thing that really annoyed us at Nungwi beach: people who wanted to sell their stuff to us while we were sunbathing wouldn’t leave us alone and came back several time… Which is why the next day we decided to relax on the hotel deck.
We actually booked this tour with one of the people at the beach but it turned out to be the most disappointing thing of the whole holiday. Mnemba Island itself is absolutely gem, I’ve never seen such clear blue water before!!! As it is a private island, you can only go there if you’re paying or staying there. So what we did was going snorkelling around Mnemba and relaxed on the boat but even this was absolutely incredible! Also seeing the coastline from not too far away has been perfect from a different perspective. We enjoyed all that but the vendor told us at the beginning that buffet lunch was included (trip cost around 20-25$) but we ended up having no food all day (he gave us the worst excuses). In addition to that, he or the driver stole our friend’s money out of his wallet from his backpack while we were snorkelling. Our friend noticed too late and the people on the boat said they didn’t do it but they were the only ones there so it was quite obvious. Anyway… Back to Mnemba Island from the huge lesson we learned that day (don’t take any money with you): the following pictures were taken on the way to the island and from when we got there.
We stayed at the Ocean View Hotel which had such a great pool with the best view ever! The hotel restaurant was located right at the beach and when the tide was low we played beach soccer with the locals or strolled around in the water to find starfish and shells. The staff was super friendly (even more than they all were anyway) which is why we absolutely enjoyed our stay there. In the ocean there were heaps of those typical wooden boats that are just so picturesque and unique!
You can’t leave Zanzibar without having visited this famous rock bar at Pingwe Beach! We went there by car but it was pretty hard to find as some roads aren’t even in the navigation and the signs were’nt helpful either. It took us a while but we made it! We didn’t end up having food or drinks there because we had to go to the next hotel and the drive took a quite while, so we unfortunately only had a look at it… Next time I’ll definitely stop for a drink!
Our last hotel was the Reef and Beach Resort, where we enjoyed our first all inclusive hotel, yaaay! We had ocean view bungalows and like pretty much every hotel in Zanzibar this one was located right on the beach as well. We loooved the food they offered: several entrees, fresh seafood, all kinds of meat, vegetables, dessert and fresh fruit… Other than that they had the most amazing cocktail bar ON THE OCEAN! We relaxed there every single evening and to finish off our dream holiday, we did some huge jumps into the ocean when the sun was just about to set…
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Be careful when you’re renting a car in Zanzibar. Before you go on your trip, check the car and see if everything is okay. The police will probably stop you several times as they want money for all kinds of ridiculous things, they are very corrupt as their salary is super low. Foreigners must have a special permit to drive a car in Zanzibar. If everything about your license is legal, don’t pay the bribes. If you have the Zanzibar permit, your regular license, and rental papers in order, be patient with them and emphasize that all of your paperwork is legal and they should let you proceed. If they do not, you should ask them to hop in the car and to direct you to the closest police station so you can speak to their superior and ask for an official statement.
DON’T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR WATER SHOES WITH YOU!
In Zanzibar you can’t walk around in the water without wearing those shoes, there are too many sea urgins and the corals are quite sharp, too.
SHARE YOUR LOVE!
As the living conditions and educationnal possibilities in Zanzibar are very low, the people and children there could really need your help. If you’re planning on going to Africa for a holiday, PLEASE pack some extra stuff you don’t need anymore (clothes, paper, notebooks, pencils, books…) They will definitely appreciate everything you can give them, so please make some room in your suitcase and donate a few little things. If you’re not going but still want to help, you could also send a parcel down to a school we visited at Bwejuu beach as they gave us their address and your parcel will arrive in safe hands for sure! Thanks so much for your help!!!
Bweeju Nursery school
P.O. Box 569
Bwejuu, East Coast Zanzibar