Tuesday, November 24, 2009


We have spent the last week or so on the island of Zanzibar, which is located about 40km off the coast of Tanzania. Although politically it is part of Tanzania we got our passports stamped here when we got off the ferry - go figure.

As Zanzibar was controlled by Arabs for a couple of centuries (Oman, to be specific), the architecture and culture is quite different than we have seen in other parts of southern Africa, and makes it seem quite exotic to us. The other thing we noticed is that being a tourist area we were constantly being approached by locals trying to sell us things or offering taxi rides, tours, etc. With one exception they were all very polite. Then we realized that up until the point in our trip we had generally been in areas where people were simply going about their business and not paying any attention to us.

We spent a couple days exploring the old portion of Zanzibar Town, called Stone Town, which was really interesting with the maze of tiny streets and alleys, open air markets, and old buildings. Very easy to get lost in there.

We then headed off to the east coast of the island for a few days at the beach, which was really nice and relaxed. The people were extremely friendly (even the ones not trying to sell us something), and the scenery was beautiful. Did I mention that the ocean was as warm as a bath? Oh yes, our waistlines liked the food as well.

We went sailing and snorkeling on a traditional outrigger, and visited the local national park, complete with endemic Red Colobus Monkeys. Being the rainy season we experienced a couple of tremendous downpours as well.

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