With its picturesque beaches and beautiful blue waters, Ashok Solanki discovers that there are few more delectable places to unwind than the exotic ‘Spice Island’ of Zanzibar…
“One can smell the spices in the air, even though the island itself is still not in sight. It is said that in the old days pilots followed the scent of the spices to locate this tiny speck in the Indian Ocean. The ferry from Dar es Salaam takes just over 2 hours, but when you land on Zanzibar you step back in time to an, as yet, unspoilt and little-known paradise.
The island is surrounded by brilliant white and almost empty beaches, and bordered by swaying coconut trees that are bathed in sunshine nearly 365 days a year. But thats not all; it has a very rich history too!
There are palaces from the Arab sultans and rich Persian merchants, a church standing on the grounds of a previously infamous slave market, and Prison Island, just 5 miles offshore where Arab slave traders held captive slaves in tiny rooms.
The island is full of coconut and mango trees and spices of all kinds, such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla – their spicy smell wafting through the cool breeze. The local roasted or fried mogo (cassava) chips are excellent. So is the local tuna and swordfish, cooked with delicious organically grown vegetables.
The people are the friendliest that you’ll meet anywhere. They’re a cosmopolitan community, with traces of blood from their Portuguese, Arab, Indian, African and Persian ancestors flowing through their veins.
With the combination of stunning vistas, warm blue waters and welcoming locals, if I was in search of a Heaven is on earth, I think I’ve come very close to finding it in Zanzibar!”
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* photo by Jess Wight – Intrepid Photography Competition