Surprising Zanzibar – By Guido Rojer, Jr.

The indian ocean to us is an unopened box of jewels that once discovered, keeps you wanting more. The meeting place of three worlds, Arab, Indian and African, where for a single minute, seem to become one. My trip to Zanzibar was exactly this, e melting pot. Let me tell you why.

Zanzibar is a former independent state that in present day together with Tangayika form Tanzania. A glorious gem in the Indian ocean where remnants of its mysterious past lay bare for discovery. I was on safari in Kenya before traveling to Zanzibar, and having mainland East Africa in the back of my mind made Zanzibar even more interesting than I could imagine.

The cuisine, the people, the simplicity; Magical. My stay in Nungwi, a village up north, felt like being in a piece of heaven. The blue seas, mirroring what I know back at home in Curaçao. The Z Hotel was a great choice balancing budget and luxury in the best way. Cash is necessary as ATM’s are not found in Nungwi. Appropriate attire is also necessary to respect the locals faith, as they are Muslim.

When it comes to food, Zanzibar is a must do. Seafood is unimaginably cheap. Can you imagine a lobster and seafood platter for two priced 25$? The city itself is boasting with home like eateries welcoming you with their creative dishes. You can taste the Arab and Indian influence. You want some African influence: take to the market and have some goat! You will feel right at home.

I have three things I need to try in every country to be able to compare: Its beer, its Chinese food and its McDonald’s. Since there were no McDonald’s and NOT a sign of Chinese food, I settled for some great Sawa and the major Kilimanjaro. Must haves!

After lunch I took a tour around the city to see the market and the wonderful architecture. The crown jewels of the buildings are its doors. Square fixtures are Arab and Round tops are Indian influence. You can not believe you’re in Africa if they told you so, but the reminders were easy to find; just turn on the radio.

Zanzibar is also home to a slavery museum, for the center stage role it played in the indian slave trade. They were surprised to hear about a similar museum back home in Curaçao, seeming a bit surprised also of slave trade in the West.

Be sure to also get the best Ketengue fabric for just 10$ or even less. Zanzibar is great for cloths and nice shawls and similar pieces. Zanzibar, what a surprise you were.

Our flight back to Nairobi flew past the top of the Kilimanjaro. This was the most impressive thing I have ever seen in my life. 15,000 ft in the air, and there it was gazing back at me. One day I will be back, staring at the aircrafts passing by. That is how I will complete my mission.

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