Travelling to Zanzibar for some fun and excitement this weekend? Then brace yourself for a wonderful experience at this magnificent coral archipelago that is beautifully carved out of the Indian Ocean, 23 miles off the eastern coast of Tanzania. Flying into Zanzibar and getting a place to stay for two nights is not much of a hassle if you prepare way ahead.
So now that you are in and set to roll, let’s get this party started. Stone Town is our first port of call. Grab your camera, strap on your shoes and hit the streets of Stone Town to see its famed 19th-century buildings, especially their ornamental doors carved out of mahogany or teak. Some of the outstanding ones include the golden door at the House of Wonders, the entrance to the Old Fort, and a collection of doors on Baghani Street.
As the Friday evening wears on, feel free to explore the Mtoni Palace Ruins (the one-time residence of a 19th-century sultan) to enjoy the island’s celebrated music genre, tarrabab. The gate-fee ($45), paid at the entrance, covers a Zanzibari dinner of coriander-spiced tuna, ginger beef and honeyed dough balls. Being a conservative Muslim city, the nightlife is not so vibrant; however, Maru Maru hotel offers a chic rooftop where guests are treated to live music and cocktail all night long.
Boom! It’s Saturday morning. Spice Island is next. This is another Zanzibari destination famous for its spice plantations from which cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla and cloves are harvested.
Hunger is bound to set in after the long tour, so head to the House of Spices restaurant for exquisite dishes like black marlin and seafood ravioli in saffron sauce. Don’t forget your deserts: chile-chocolate mousse and a house-brewed cinnamon-iced tea.
What a good day to hit the beach, thanks to the mid-day sun that hangs up in the sky beaming with smiles and beckoning on beach lovers. Of course, the island’s beaches are numerous, but the closest to town is the Mangapwani beach which has some of the most pristine of white sands I have seen. Patrons can take advantage of a nearby beach club which offers daybeds, changing rooms and a restaurant to get lunch. As the sun sets, visitors can enjoy sunset views from the roof of the Emerson Spice hotel, a historic Swahili mansion on the island, as dinner is served.
Welcome to Sunday. As the curtains drop slowly on the weekend, wake up to a cup of cappuccino made from beans picked on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Or you can just opt for the East African coffee, some of the world’s finest, to get you started. Before catching your return flight in the evening, be sure to find your way to the Chumbe Island Coral Park, a marine protected area which houses more than 400 species of fish in warm, clear water.
This park is also a great place to snorkel – because it only admits 14 people a day, you have to book ahead. Visitors are also treated to a tasty Zanzibari lunch after snorkelling and guided through the island’s lush forest reserve.
This, for me, is an exciting weekend as it’s filled with fun, relaxation and adventure.
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