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.

Bona - - Contents -

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.

IN TRAN­SIT

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.

AC­COM­MO­DA­TION

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.

OVER­ALL EX­PE­RI­ENCE

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!

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