THE COCONUT MEN
In several places across Jambiani I was offered a coconut, or more specifically a coconut drink. On both occasions I was not asked for any money. I was shouted towards and offered a coconut with the words your hear everywhere ‘Karibu Jambiani’. Welcome to Jambiani and the friendliest village on earth. On hindsight I wished I had offered a small payment, but somehow it did not seem right at the time. Nice drink, especially in the heat!
THE MONEY TRICK
PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS FOR BUDGET TRAVELLERS, NOT SOMETHING AGAINST LOCAL PEOPLE. You have to haggle EVERY price in Zanzibar, except some restaurants. So, you can play the money trick to make sure you always get a good price. Tanzanian Schillings are weak against the U.S. Dollar, which everyone will take. Make sure you take some single $1 notes for emergencies. You get about 1100 to 1200 Schillings to 1 dollar. Agree a price and take in units of 1’s so it sound like you mean dollars. Some people will even say $1 or 1000 Schillings. They would say 10 meaning 10,000 Schillings. Schillings are cheaper for you. Go to any good exchange in Stone Town have some Schillings with you when you haggle. You agree ‘10’, hand over 10,000 Schillings, not $10. Too late, they know you know and they have just given you a 10-20% discount! I did this with a hotel and agreed ‘30’. I saved $10 over a 3 night stay. It makes your money stretch! You can also agree the price, leave to get Schillings and come back. The deal has already been done. Remember – if you do agree a deal, you have to stick with it. Negotiations are much more intense in Stone Town. In Jambiani, it is very relaxed, so take it easy.
***PLEASE NOTE ** Watch out for anyone trying to agree Kenyan Schillings, they are much more valuable than Tanzanian and only con artists would say this. $1 only gets you about 69 Kenyan Schillings. So 10,000 Kenyan Schillings would be $143!
A GOOD PAIR OF BOOTS!
Walking around Zanzibar is a fantastic way to see everything, but you get plenty of hazards. Natural ones are the usual rocks, vines, animal droppings, etc. Manmade items like glass and other rubbish make an appearance from time to time. And if that wasn’t enough – the rainy season will make you want those quick dry light hiking boots!
Jambiani Village - Zanzibar
"THE ROAD & THE BEACH"
The 2 most striking features of Jambiani are THE ROAD and THE BEACH. About 7000 people live here and the road is the centre of activity. It stretches about 3 miles, north to south. You get to Jambiani by taking a right turn when the paved road ends. All along the road you will encounter small children, ducks, cows, goats, chickens and more small children. The road alternates between sand, rock and large pools of water (during the rainy season). It is lined by coconut tress and you can watch local men harvesting the coconuts. Also along the road you will find quite a few local shops, the post office and the Cultural Village.
You will also see the main product of Jambiani – seaweed. This is cultivated in the sea and then harvested. It is laid out on the ground where is dries into many different colours including purple and mustard. This is then bagged and sold to the Far East.
The beach is breathtaking. A coral reef protects the beach area and keeps the waves at a distance from the beach. It transforms the water into about 10 different shades of blue and makes this one of the prettiest beaches in the world. During high tide the dhows and fishing boats ply the waters and local men catch fish. At low tide the surf goes out about 1 kilometre and the local women walk barefoot to gather the seaweed. The tide recedes past the coral reef and you can walk out to the seaweed beds. Sometimes you can watch some of the men walking in the shallow water with nets and another using a stick to drive the fish into the hand held nets. Be careful if you walk out, there are many sharp shells and sea urchins. Because of the mud and suction normal flip-flops will not do.
Jambiani is a friendly and welcoming place. You will be greeted by "Jambo" and "Karibu Jambiani" wherever you walk. Paradise!
Jambiani was named after the Arab knife known as a ‘Jambiya’. It is a dagger with a broad curved blade that the men carry on the belt. The story has it that one was found on the beach many years ago and the village took the name.
Seaweed (Mwani) is one among the important marine resources of the Zanzibar Islands. The Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources finds partner companies to buy the seaweed through poverty reduction programs. The coastal Communities of Zanzibar receives equipment for developing their farms from Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF). This programme means that locals are less likely to damage their own natural resources through the collection of seashells, cutting down Mangrove trees and illegal fishing methods.
You can find more information about Seaweed Harvesting here: