Bicycles and motorbikes can be rented to tour the island.
Island roads are not in very good shape, especially in the northern parts. Make sure you have a good map of the area and you are aware of the weather before you start on your roadtrip. Rains can make some roads totally unnavigable.
I also want to note that we were stopped at numerous police checks on our way to/from Airport - Nungwi. Our driver commented that this was normal. The police checked the driver's permit to operate a tourist van and then we were on our way. Make sure you are authorized to use the roads you are planning to drive.
Favorite thing: I'm a sucker for a great sunset and sunrises, and here on the east coast we were lucky enough to have a few. Being so near the equator, day and night are of similar lenght, so you dan't have to get up in the middle of the night to catch a good sunrise.
The fruit in Zanzibar was delicious and fresh and readily available all over the island.
Here in the market of Stone Town, are the sweet red bananas which are so hard to find in the UK.
Fondest memory: My favourite fruit is mango, which unfortunately wasn't in season during our visit. Somehow the catering staff at the hotel got wind of my passion for mango, and in their eagerness to please managed to get hold of a few fruits. They were kept "under the counter" for me, and no-one else were given any, despite several requests. I enjoyed mango for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily during my stay in the hotel!
Zanzibar is a great destination after a safari ... to truly relax and appreciate the exotic atmosphere Tanzania has to offer. Spend at least two or three days so that you can visit the hypnotic Stone Town, and the idyllic beaches and traditional coastal villages.
Fondest memory: When I think about Zanzibar I cannot forget lazing on the beach, looking out on the turqoise seas watching the women harvesting seaweeds and the children with their smiling faces returning from school, running along the beach in their uniforms. Another image that pops into my head is the sight of an elegant dhow, with its white sails, elegantly gliding through the sea.
As always on my travels, it is the people that I remember most, espacially the children. The people of Zanzibar were beautiful and gentle with ready smiles.
Here, the children of Santa Monica School rush to join their teacher for another lesson. If only English children looked took such pride in their uniform and were so keen to learn!
Favorite thing: There are no ATMS anywhere on the entire island. The only one we found was at the airport (arrival lounge), where you can charge a certain amount to your credit card for a commission of 6%, to get some tanzanian shillings. So stock up on cash or tc's before you get to zanzibar.
Favorite thing: One of the things I loved most during my stay in Zanzibar, was that every afternoon, just before sunset, the kids were waiting for me to go walking along the beach and sheek for shells. They were my 2 shy Mohameds (N.1 & N.2) & the girls that I named all Fatima, because of the name of a little one which I adored: She was a little triangle like shaped scarf in green color, over a pair of skiny walking legs. No more than 5 years old.
Favorite thing: wandering the streets of Stone Town as i often did i came across this chinese restaurant that was drying its noodles out in the sun. Too funny for me to not take a picture of. If anyone is interested it was somewhere near mr mitu's place, but don't ask me where as i got lost that day.
When I first arrived in the East Coast village of Jambiyani, I stayed inside the hotel compound the first afternoon. The next morning I ventured out to get some water from a store and see the village. Just about 100 meters down the road I ran right into a large knot of small children. One look at me and they broke out into absolute spasms of shouting and excited screaming! JAMBO! JAMBO! JAMBO! They were running in circles and several young boys had bicycle tire rims they had turned into a toy with the help of a straight stick. I felt like some sort of children’s entertainer at a birthday party. Wherever I went I was followed for a short period of time. Many tourists NEVER leave their vehicles or hotels. To see a full blown tourist walking on their road and going to their shops was an absolute sensation across the village.
Just have a walk around and you will be able to practice your basic Swahili phrases. Whenever I cam to a cluster of buildings I would here unseen children’s Jambos come at me from hidden sources. Many children actually shy away from the camera, but most want their photo taken! And if you can show them a digital display! Well they just jump up and down with all the excitement. Every once in a while a child will run up to you to touch your hand and run away giggling. They have never touched the skin of someone that looks so different than themselves. Its nice to be an endless source of entertainment and excitement for no real reason at all. It does make you feel great inside though and you feel like the whole village is welcoming you.
WHY NOT VISIT JAMBIYANI YOURSELF?
Jambiyani Village welcomes you!
Yes, go to Zanzibar, that's a good idea. Zanzibar is a popular place, so there are some good guidebooks readily available. If you buy the Lonely Planet one called "Tanzania, Zanzibar & Pemba" you also cover a transit opportunity,Tanzania. Bradt's "Guide to Zanzibar" is more comprehensive and detailed, but tells nothing about Tanzania.
Buy guidebooks beforehand or in Zanzibar/Tanzania.
When I was walking near St Joseph's Cathedral in Stone Town I came upon a small pet Blue Monkey. She was quite small and very curious. I had never been this close to a monkey in my life. She kept trying to get into my pockets and a nearby shopkeeper warned me that she liked to get money out of tourists’ pockets and rip it up. I kept a better watch on my pockets! I sat down and she immediately jumped up on my leg and began to groom me, as monkeys do socially. I started to stroke her like you would a cat. Big mistake. She was a wild animal and had no idea what I was doing. When I tried to act like a monkey and kind of pick at her coat, she took this much more calmly. Her owner had left her some fresh fruit that she would pick at from time to time, but then I thought – wait, something’s missing here. WATER! Zanzibar lies close to the Equator and its stays hot. The poor little monkey had no water. So I shared mine. She seemed to like that a lot. I saw here again over the next few days and always gave her some water. Whenever I would sit with her and share my water the local children would run past shouting CHIP! CHIP! CHIP! Meaning Monkey! They would come near me, but always seemed to run away from my friend the monkey.
It was definitely a Zanzibar experience!
Favorite thing: During my stay in Jambiani Village I kept seeing kids playing with old bicycle tyres rims. They would use a good stick and propel the tyre along the road at great speed with the stick pushing along the groove. Not only is this not easy to do – these kids were amazing fast. If you think its easy – give it a try.
Favorite thing: The best map of Zanzibar and Stone town for tourists is the hand drawn and very artistic "Map of Zanzibar" published by Giovanni Tombazzi, distributed by Maco Ltd, P.O.Box 322, Zanzibar. Available in all sensible stores geared even the least toward visitors. Detailed on Stone town, quite general on Zanzibar as such. For specialist purposes you will need a better topographic map, probably.
Favorite thing: Yes, go to Zanzibar, that's a good idea. Zanzibar (also called Unguja locally) has rainy seasons between March and May, and October and December, and potential visitors are sometimes concerned about this. I was there in March-April, and that's why there were such strange dark clouds and interesting colors (see the opening photo of my page). Still, it was fine going there, and it may only be a shower or two during afternoons that go for rainy season. But it may rain hard over short periods of time..
On our first morning in Nungwi resort we realised that during Ramadan there was nowhere locally that we would be able to withdraw cash, so we would need to make the trip back to Stone Town. We went to reception at the Amani Bungalows to book a cab. Shortly, a cab pulled up, spoke to the receptionist who gestured towards us and told us the guy and a couple of other men would take us to Stone Town. We didn't realise until we were on our way that the guy wasn't an official cab, he was a local businessman on his own shopping trip to Stone Town and taking us along for a paying ride to make some extra cash. This would have been fine, except the guy turned out not to have any insurance or permits and when we reached the police checkpoints we had to drive off road to avoid being discovered. We were a little bit on edge to say the least on the journey. We noticed a fair amount of traffic building up on the northbound road as we jouneyed south towards Stone Town, but our driver insisted that there wouldn't be a problem on the return journey.
Fondest memory: After withdrawing the cash we needed and buying a few other items, we returned to Nungwi with our driver, but shortly outside Stone Town we hit a large traffic jam. The traffic jam turned into gridlock, people hanging off vans and dala dalas, others walking between the vehicles...all apparently en route to a political rally in aid of the forthcoming local elections. When we eventually made our way through the traffic by driving in a ditch beside the road, we came across a road block manned by police wearing gas masks and holding automatic weapons trying to prevent people reaching the rally. Some injured pedestrians were walking by the roadside. It wasn't clear what the cause of their injuries was. As worried as we were about the seriousness of the situation we found ourselves in, our driver seemed unpeturbed and carried on doing his shopping from roadside salespeople. We arrived back in Nungwi that afternoon wondering what on earth had just happened....we certainly didn't have a boring day.