The Spice Island Zanzibar

Zanzibar is an amazing place, rich in history, culture and with some fantastic beaches, BUT, the tourism is partly ruining it. Western tourists with little respect for the local life, walking through the streets in hotpants and bikini tops, while most local women wear nikabs and burkas. Guys trying to immitate the western boys by drinking and smoking while trying to pick up the girls that pass by. Many times successfully too, especially among the older ladies. This was more the case in the resort areas by Nungwe Beach, where I felt like just another mzungu tourist when walking through the village. When asking for bananas they gave me a price ten times higher than what I would pay in Dar es Salaam, or more than twenty times the amount I would pay on the country side.

Paje Beach in the South West was not as bad. Here they had budget bungalows for backpackers right in the village and the locals seemed to be more of a harmony with the tourists. It was a quiet place to go for kitesurfing in the day and bonfires on the beach in the night.

Stone Town city was also beautiful with traditional arab architechture- especially the doors and balconies were something taken out of the Aladdin world. This is because Zanzibar was ruled by the Omani people and this is why you will hear the mosque prayers five times a day and see men walking around with fez like hats and their white thawb dresses.

The house of wonders

In Stone Town I got to sleep on the office floor of a travel agency called Monda Africa, which I had been refered to by a friend in Uganda. During my three days there I got to see the main sights of the Slave Market (very much like the ones in Western Africa), the Hammam, the house of wonder (because it was the first house to get electricity), the market and the Fodhani garden where boys were jumping from the docks and people were dancing capoira on the beach. Although it was good to walk around and pick a little seafood from each stand I found it to be a bit exhausting as people were pulling your arm and shouting at you at the same time to buy their food.

The Fodhani Food Market

All in all I think Zanzibar has been fantastic, but I hope for their future that they can preserve cultural heritage so that the island will just be another playground for western tourists.

Jaws Corner where you can drink tea and play dominoes with the locals