1 March 2020
Zanzibar has always been a dream destination for my husband and I. We pictured ourselves strolling on the white sandy beaches and swimming in the azure water. However, every time we planned to go, something always came up. Finally it seemed that our dream would become a reality – but just not in the way we expected it to. It was going to be interesting, no doubt about it. My husband and I along with our 2 little boys travelled with my two sisters, their husbands and 2 kids each. So we were essentially 1 adult per child and a group of 12. I guess I should mention that all the kids were 5 years and under. We received strange looks from people as soon as we entered the airport and I’m sure many of them were hoping that they were not on the same flight as us. Not to say that the kids were misbehaving, they were merely ‘being kids’ who were excited to go on an aeroplane with their cousins. Despite our own uncertainties, the journey began…
The flight from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Zanzibar (Tanzania) is approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes long. The time literally flew by as it usually does when you are on your way to your destination. None of the kids even fell asleep! We arrived at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar. The humidity hit us the minute we stepped out of the plane. You could see that we were on a tropical island, with lush vegetation lining the streets and the locals dressed in loose fitting cotton clothing. We were definitely overdressed in our jeans and track pants. A beautiful thing about setting foot into Zanzibar was that you were greeted by Muslim people almost everywhere. The passport control officials even knew how to pronounce our names without any difficulty. It felt so welcoming, definitely a great start to the holiday and a hint at what was to come. Because ultimately what won our hearts on this trip was not the beaches, or the hotels but rather the people – their simplicity, their generosity and unmatched hospitality. A sense of calm resonates from them, they greet you with ‘Jambo’ which is similar to hello, and if you ask for anything their immediate response is ‘hakuna matata’ – no worries. They seem to live by this philosophy and take things as they say ‘pole pole’ or slowly slowly – meaning that everything has its time.
Getting back to the trip, once we were out of the airport we still had a 2 hour drive ahead of us to get to the north coast of the island. From our research, these beaches were said to be the best on the island which were not affected by the tides. The state of the roads is very poor. The distance was a mere 61 km but it took us a great deal of time to navigate the pot-hole ridden roads to finally reach our hotel. We stayed at a lovely hotel called Langi Langi in Nungwi. The hotel is located directly on the Indian Ocean with the restaurant situated on a deck overlooking the breath-taking water. We were lucky enough to be given sea-facing rooms and this made all the difference. Our room was on the second floor and stepping onto the balcony literally felt as if you were suspended over the beautiful water. At any time of the day you had the chance to watch the traditional wooden dhow boats as they pass by and witness the sky changing colours as the clouds, sea and sky play together eventually bringing in the night.
To be continued in part 2…
My name is Maryam Moosa. I am from the beautiful country of South Africa. I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and first love. We now have 2 very busy amazing little boys (aged 3 and 5). I love travelling with my family (although I don’t get to do as much of it as I would like to) and experiencing new cultures and places.