My Experience (cont):
Over the next couple of days we did what you come to an island to do. We went to the beach! There was a beach directly in front of our hotel but because of the seaweed during that specific time, we would walk a short distance from our hotel, which was lined with restaurants and hotels to get to another public beach. Here you could find beach loungers and umbrellas for hire. With our troop always looking for some shade, this did come in very handy and made our day at the beach even more enjoyable. However, as we discovered on the last day, if you walk just a little further you could get shade for free under one of the rock formations lining the rest of the shore. The ocean water was just the right temperature and managed to cool you off from the Zanzibar heat. It was also crystal clear and if you were lucky you could even spot some fish swimming around you. The only negative thing about our beach experience on Nungwi would be the ‘beach boys’ who are local guides who harass tourists to take out tour packages with them. This could become very annoying if you’ve been approached by the same guy for the fourth time that day, when all you want to do is relax and enjoy the water. On the other hand, the day that we did want to take a tour, it was so easy to organise. No pre-booking required – just walk to the beach and negotiate a deal with one of the tour operators. Next thing you know, you are on a boat (with 6 kids, 1 overly anxious adult who was prone to sea sickness, 4 other overly excited adults, 1 dismayed adult who couldn’t get cellphone reception and 2 guides) we headed towards Mnemba island to do some snorkelling. Little did we know that you don’t actually set foot on the island itself – one would think this since the tour advertised “Mnemba Island Snorkeling trip”. No, Mnemba Island is privately owned and therefore you cannot access the beach without permission. The water surrounding Mnemba island however is open to all. So we anchored our boat – along with about 20 others – and took turns to jump into the lovely water and swim with the fish. It was unforgettable. My husband was so excited that he jumped in with his phone in his pocket. The look on his face when he came back to the boat for a rest and realised what had happened was priceless. Side note – his phone was basically fine because we managed to wireless charge it for a few days. When we had all had our fill, (read: when the kids started going bananas), we decided to head back. On the way, we were treated to dolphin sightings and it was magical.
The evenings would be spent in one of the restaurants lining the strip. The food was almost always good. We enjoyed the seafood and the traditional zanzibarian curries. Finding halal food was never an issue since a lot of the food in Zanzibar is halal and there is always a Muslim person working at the restaurant who you can talk to. The people are so friendly, so welcoming and oh so very patient. It doesn’t seem like anything bothers them. It was also extremely safe and I never felt threatened or even unsure to be alone as a female. My sisters and I left the kids and husbands sleeping in the room one morning to watch the sunrise and as three young women walking alone, we were never approached or bothered in any way. I regret not doing this every morning as the views, quiet beaches and still water were incredible at that time.
To be concluded in part 3…
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.