I loved this place the minute I stepped on it! Just like its name, its exotic, historical and a bit mystical! When I talk about isles of Zanzibar, I mean its numerous islands like Pemba, Prison Island, and several others which are still untouched! Each island is rich in its spices, wildlife, history and inexplicable beauty!
Zanzibar is an island with narrow alleys, breezy rooftops, majestic Indian & Arabic doors and private courtyards and pristine blue ocean. We decided to stay amidst of a place called Stone Town which is some what the city centre. Its full of historical places, curio shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and of course the beach. We loved the place instantly. It quite reminded me of the old narrow alleys of India.
After arriving on this island, we decided to hunt for a nice hotel since we were going to stay there for 2 nights. We hopped around checking out a few hotels and decided to stay in this cosy and inviting place called Archipelago. There, we were greeted by this wonderful hostess called Ana who made the place even more inviting. These people had 5 rooms and hardly advertised them. They also had a pretty cafe with one of the best ‘masala tea’ and pizza I’ve ever had in my life. Thereafter, being our little home and diner for not the next 2 but 4 days!
Archipelago is definitely high on my list…here’s their contact –
Archipelago Café Restaurant
Box 4156 Zanzibar, East Africa
+255 24 22 668/ +255 777 462311
The next highlight of our stay were the ‘Doors of Zanzibar’! The most enchanting feature of this island! Zanzibar had a huge Indian & Arab settlement from the 13th century. After talking with people, we learned that the fashion for carved doors was brought in by the Indian & the Islamic people and were designed uniquely to portray the status of the family. Wow! I was impressed! The architecture of this place also had some additional attractions like the balconies, verandas or porches and rooftops, apparently made to give women a view of the streets. Walking through these alleys gave me a glimpse of the old times integrated in to today. The experience was strange yet so rich and unique.
While walking through the Stone Town, we met this very interesting Bhori guy with Indian origin named Rashid. This guy had an antique store with numerous trinkets like masks, jewelry, drums and some African games. Since he was quite well versed with Hindi, and had his origins in India, we got talking. Our conversation ended up with he teaching us a very popular game played in Zanzibar called “Bao”. Bao (means wood in Swahili) is a wooden board game with 8 holes aesthetically carved and is played by sowing dried seeds tactfully in the holes. The game is complicated yet very interesting. Time just flew, he taught and we played and finally just bought the game because we liked Rashid and the game!
Spending 4 days on this island may sound a bit too much, isn’t it? Well I think these 4 days were heaven and so much fun! Besides the beautiful Stone Town, there are some more little attractions like snorkeling, scuba diving, the Jozani forest, and the one and only Forodhani Garden full of food stalls of grilled fish, octopus, sugarcane juices, some odd yet tasty pizzas, soups and the list is endless! Hence this is Zanzibar, the island of blue oceans, white sand, rich heritage and the architecture, all so pleasing to the eye!