THE GREEN ISLAND AND ITS BLUE WATERS

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Special Feature | Discop Africa - Words & Pho­tographs: MATHIEU DASNOIS

Imag­ine sit­ting on a rooftop ter­race, watch­ing thou­sands of gi­ant bats as big as a child fly­ing over­head, from one hori­zon to the other. In front of you is a three-course meal: clams in cream sauce, tuna steaks from the lo­cal fish mar­ket you vis­ited ear­lier, spinach from the gar­den, and more. In your hand is a glass filled with fresh fruit juice from fruits you can't pro­nounce. Wel­come to Wete, a town in the north of Zanz­ibar's for­got­ten sis­ter: Pemba, the Green Island.

pemba is about half as big as Un­guja, Zanz­ibar's proper name. To­gether, th­ese is­lands form the Zanz­ibar ar­chi­pel­ago. It is tech­ni­cally a semi-au­ton­o­mous re­gion of Tan­za­nia, and of­fi­cials un­nec­es­sar­ily stamp your pass­port when you travel be­tween Dar es Salaam and Un­guja's Stone Town, per­haps hark­ing back to a day when Zanz­ibar was in­de­pen­dent from Tan­ganyika. Pemba boasts a rare 'mega­bat', the Pemba Fly­ing Fox, en­demic to the island and has a wing­span of 1.6 me­tres. I saw them in the north­ern town of Wete, my favourite place in Tan­za­nia. The rooftop ter­race is part of Sha­rook Riviera Grand Lodge, but any­one can see th­ese bats as they fly at dusk, from their nest­ing grounds close to the har­bour to their feed­ing grounds to the north, and back be­fore dawn.

Close to Wete's har­bour is the fish mar­ket, where a crowd gath­ers on the dark beach sand in the morn­ings, look­ing, as­sess­ing

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