One Time airlines conspired against us so we were left with an interesting solution: fly to Zanzibar via Dar Es Salaam - and not direct as once was the case. This proved to be reasonably easy, SAA delivered us safely into Dar (3 and a half hours from ORT) and then an hour road transfer to our overnight hotel. We holed up in the Double Tree Hotel Dar for the night and after an average pizza and a couple of Kilimanjaro beers, we hit the sack for an early island air transfer. The next day we jumped on a Zan Air Cessna Caravan which I must reckon is one of the most spectacular ways to view your looming paradise Just 20 minutes flying time and you are there!
We had decided that to make our holiday more adventurous and to cement our need for freedom, we would hire a small run around. The 4 seater Suzuki Escudo was arranged by our partners in Stone Town at a reasonable $50 per day, we just added our own GPS loaded with Track4Africa to enable us to negotiate the warren of roads around Stone Town and out to Jambiani.
A quick stop at Zantel ensured that we were “connected” with a 3G sim cards and plenty of data for the 11 days (you always need to be connected!) After an hours easy drive we arrived at Raha Villa which was to be our home for the next 11 days.
I am not going to turn this into a loooong diatribe but the villa was great (see the pics), seafood plenty, dives awesome and fly fishing….hmmmm not so good or maybe the fly fisherman was just not firing on this particular trip. If you are not into mild adventure and you really like the hotel scene then avoid this kind of holiday. The driving around can be challenging sometimes, the roadblocks are just as you know them in Southern Africa (an occasional bribe could be solicited) the meals are on the expensive and on the bland side (compared to SA), but the island vibe is the best!
Have a drink at Mercury’s (Freddie, as born in Zanzibar) – Enjoy a street barbeque at Foradani Gardens on the forshore of Stone Town – Dive the reefs – Drink the local beer – sleep on your first afternoon on arrival; you need to de-stress and fit in with the island vibe.
Don’t expect bacon at breakfast, the island is populated by mainly Muslim okes (90%) and a few rastas – Don’t bring your Jo-burg Woolworths/shopping centre attitude, you will be disappointed – Don’t come for only 5 nights, too short a stay – Don’t come with too few $$, food is not cheap but certainly not UK prices.
Plus it’s hot in December. Damn hot. So if you don’t like the heat then your other option is to race around Jo-burg, do some mindless Christmas shopping and put up with family politics at the Christmas table. If you are up for some adventure and like to be independent this is a great alternative.
The villa, island flights and car hire are available through us.