Zanzibar – a land of surprises

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A fascinating flight from Tanzania we arrived in the exotic island paradise of Zanzibar.  A culture shock I was not prepared for arriving to a sensory overload of sights, smells, sounds & the phenomenal performance behind the wheel by our minibus driver as we lurch at breakneck speed between cyclists, cows & other livestock.  We watched with amazement the life beside the road – people selling everything imaginable, transporting goods by oxen & cart & men gathered on verandas to pass the time of day.

After running the gauntlet from the airport through the busy street sellers and a beautiful mango tree lined route planted by a ruling Sultan, we were soon heading through lush tropical forest and caught a glimpse of the unique red colobus monkey indigenous to Zanzibar.  After just an hour’s drive we arrivied at our destination & one of Zanzibar’s finest palm fringed beaches.  We had been waiting in anticipation for this moment, and were not disappointed.

The powder white sands & turquoise gin clear waters are complimented by stunning tropical gardens of Breezes – our first stop.

We enjoyed a delicious seafood feast on the beach while soaking up wonderful scenes of local women collecting seaweed & fishermen busy trawling the reef for shellfish.

After a very sociable stay at Breezes with delicious cocktails enjoyed in the open air, sand floor bar we visited the opposite extreme.  The Palms is intimate, traditional & exclusive with just seven very private villas each with its own beachfront curtained ‘banda’ …

The food at The Palms is exquisite.  Breakfast is served on the veranda of the ‘plantation house’ overlooking the Indian Ocean, with waiter service, crisp white napkins & the finest porcelain – exquisite.  The seafood is also exquisite with a traditional lobster recipe prepared in front of us – the chef demonstrating the use of all the local spices.

Where The Palms is traditional, intimate, exclusive luxury – Baraza is the contemporary, chic, opulent equivalent.

We relished the luxury of a stunning suite of rooms complete with private plunge pool & seize the opportunity to enjoy the numerous activities on offer from palm weaving, cycling to sailing & snorkeling the lagoon.

At low tide a wonderful way to absorb local life along the coastline is to borrow hotel bikes & zoom for miles on compacted sand.  Bike is a popular way for local people to transport their wares …

Another highlight of my stay at Baraza was a yoga session with the in-house yogi.  Later on that day my body was then treated to a wonderful massage at the Frankipani spa, which is a complete sanctuary of peace and tranquility. There is nothing like a good yoga workout followed by a wonderful massage by an expert for rejuvenating the soul!

The food at Baraza is out of this world & one of my favorite food experiences: a BBQ on the beach under a shady canopy of palm fronds and flowers …

Zanzibar truly is a magical part of the world, powdery & warm, exotic & beautiful – the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or an action packed family holiday.  I can’t wait to go back!

Zanzibar’s archipelago of islands, coral reefs and warm, crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean offer some of the world’s best diving.  Zanzibar also has a rich cultural history & offers visitors an insight into a fascinating history of ivory, spice & slave trade.  Stone Town is a World Heritage Site and the oldest continuously inhabited city in East Africa – its is fascinating to meander its narrow streets, visit the markets & historical buildings.

Relax on a beautiful beach with the rustling palms overhead, enjoy a seafood feast & chill following an exciting safari for a perfect holiday!

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