We spent a week on Zanzibar after our safari for some R & R as the safari was fairly gruelling (but very enjoyable of course). What a fantastic island with a rich history (as the centre of the slave trade in previous times - not all of it good!). Despite this being a "chill" time, would have been wrong not to get out & about to see the island & experience it's culture.
In addition to its history in slavery, it has two other major claims to fame; Freddie Mercury's birthplace and, as trailed from its alternative name of " The Spice Island" it has a very active trade in the spice industry. Being just off the west coast of Tanzania it also features on the busy trade routes which runs through the "Channel" between the two & so tends to be very busy; both with shipping destined for Stonetown, it's capital, or perhaps heading for one of the mainland ports along the coast.
We travelled by air from Arusha in another light plane seating 14 including the pilot. As a concession for the flight over water (although we were descending into Stonetown before actually passing over any), this was twin-engined.
We were struck in our time on the island by the extremes; on the one hand the luxury & opulence of the tourist parts and on the other hand the fairly basic way of life for the natives.
During our stay we did two trips, firstly a walking tour of Stonetown and then a couple of days later a tour of a couple of spice farms.
The walking tour started with the memorials to the slave trade before moving onto the market. In the fish market, stalls comprised of a large stone slab set at an angle, on which the (always) large fish were placed. The tool of choice for "butchering" chosen by all the fish-mongers was the machete - used for absolutely everything from large dissection to cutting individual steaks to order & when these needed sharpening, the stone slabs were at hand! Purchases were then wrapped in newspaper!
Outside we stumbled across the poultry market & since the island has a 95%+ Muslim population, meat has to be halal & so chickens are delivered live for sale!
The streets, if you can call them that, are narrow and chaotic, being used by pedestrians, motor cyclists and larger delivery trailers servicing the stalls.
Beyond the market there was an urgent need for remedial work on many buildings, as you'll see from some of the images.
The spice tour was totally fascinating. We started on a Government farm, where the main crop seemed to be Nutmeg, before moving onto a private farm, spawning a whole eight acres. That said, and whilst the tour resembled a stroll in the woods, our guide and its owner, Haji, was clearly very proud of his enterprise and used his acreage exceptionally efficiently - where the primary crop was the fruit of a plant, more often than not, the foliage was a secondary crop, used in a similar way to Spinach. We saw things that we'd never seen before!
Our Silver Wedding Anniversary was spent here on the island and what a fantastic culmination to the trip, and a very welcome rest, the time on the island was. A fantastic place in the Indian Ocean well worth a visit, despite the distance.