Kwanele Mathebula lets us in on her tropical stay in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Kwanele Mathebula tells us about her stay at Zuri Zanzibar Resort in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
In November last year, I had the opportunity to travel to one of my bucket-list destinations – Zanzibar. I fell in love with this tropical island after seeing it for the first time on television. The crisp blue water and white sand captured my heart. And, when I finally visited, it lived up to all my expectations.
The day started with me waking up at 3am. Fortunately, my excitement for the trip eased the dread I was feeling about the 3-hour 30-minute flight with Mango – the only airline in South Africa that offers direct flights to Zanzibar on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In December, new flights were launched from Lanseria airport to allow for connection from other cities. I knew I had arrived when I spotted the beautiful blue beaches and lush greenery. I simply couldn’t wait to get off the plane! A few minutes later, I disembarked and was struck by the island’s heat and humidity. The drive to the Zuri Zanzibar Resort was exhilarating, with a warm welcome by the friendly staff.
The resort hosted me for four days and three nights in a luxurious villa. It has about 56 villas, grouped into 8 sections that resemble little villages. Each village is named after the spices grown on the resort garden. I stayed in the Vanilla villa, surrounded by lush plants and trees. This gave me the privacy to sit outside on the deck or enjoy the outdoor shower. The temperature inside was cool, which I appreciated because of the heat outside.
OUT AND ABOUT
On my first night, I was treated to a delicious three-course dinner on the beach – a salmon starter and sorbet dessert. The following day, I went on a tour of the hotel’s spice garden before spending the remainder swimming at the beach.
The day after, tourist group Africa Stay treated me to a spice farm tour. Here, I got to explore spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, turmeric and cloves, which are Zanzibar’s largest spice export. Afterwards, I enjoyed juice from a freshly picked coconut while relaxing under a coconut tree. I then headed to my next stop for the day
– a tour through the historic Stone Town. I loved the town, which felt ancient with remnants of the original buildings still standing, such as the heavy doors with metallic handles. The shops in the pockets of the town sold everything from food, clothing to small collector’s items. The excursions provided me with great insight into the island.
Besides the unbearable heat, I enjoyed my stay in Zanzibar.
The locals were kind and helpful. I love that the resort is involved in uplifting the community through various projects such as integrating young people into the hospitality industry. Also, the seafood is bought from the local fishermen. My most memorable experience was the beach. And, with Zuri situated on the only low-tide beach in the island with no waves, you can swim at any time of year!