Zanzibar has always been such a dream destination. That Freddie Mercury was born there makes it even more magical. I was lucky enough to go there last year when I was based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
We were teaching at the time, so could only stay for one night. As we were only there for such a short period of time and were staying in the north of the island, we sadly had to skip Stone Town and head straight to Kendwa Beach where we were staying. However, we had a wonderful taxi driver called President who told us all about it when we were driving.
We stayed in Kendwa Rocks Hotel in one of their Palm Wood Bandas to save money, which was really affordable and absolutely adorable.
We spent most of our time on the beach and swimming which was breath taking. It was definitely up there as one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to! And I actually saw fish in the shore, which made me squeal with horror/delight, I don’t know which.
Our motivation for staying at Kendwa Rocks was the full moon party that was happening the night we were there. First we went to Kiriku Happy Restaurant for a drink, which was a bar with super cute decor and lovely people. The full moon party ended up being average. Nothing like what we expected a full moon party to be like, but it did have some cool performers.
A highlight for me was the Mnarani turtle conservation pond in Nungwi beach. We fed turtles and it was amazing! One hit me with it’s flipper. I also like the idea of going to a conservation and they explained to us how they saved and released the turtles when they could.
Shout out to Maasai Moses who randomly walked us along the beach and helped us avoid sea urchins.
Horror story: I haven’t talked about this much because I don’t like to dwell on the bad things. But we very nearly didn’t get home.
It was a nightmare arranging the transport to and from Dar es Salaam. We opted for flying as it worked out much cheaper and faster than the boat. A couple of days before our trip the airline contacted us to say that the flight would be postponed to much later. As we only had one night there, we couldn’t afford to go at this time so we spoke to someone and had our flight out refunded, but wanted to keep our return journey which she agreed to let us do.
So we got the boat. After hearing horror stories from our friends about the boats sinking, I wasn’t too thrilled. It was an absolute breeze though and I would definitely recommend it to anyone going to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam.
Fast-forward to trying to check in to our return flight and the person at the desk telling us we weren’t on the flight home. Despite us paying, and having proof of our ticket. We had to be back in Dar that night for classes the next day, it was the last flight home, the boats had long gone and we had nowhere to stay in Zanzibar for the night.
After a lot of back and forth they eventually let us onto the plane, which we only just caught after running through security. I’m grateful that Zanzibar International Airport is tiny!
Transport issues aside, I would 100% recommend Zanzibar. It was so beautifully untouched and it was lovely to meet so many local people, for some reason I was expecting it to be so much more touristy than it was. I don’t know if I’ve ever met friendlier people either, with everyone shouting ‘Hakuna Matata!’ whenever we passed them. I would love to go again for a much longer time period and explore the rest of the island.
Have you ever been to Zanzibar? How would you spend one night somewhere?