So, I planned to a trip to Zanzibar. It was scheduled for the 31st January to 2nd February. Everything was going to plan but on the 30th of January… guess what happened ? I ordered an extra meal which I probably should not have and yes, I got food poisoning. I braved through the night, but the next day I was still feeling sick. My flight was for 9:30am. The flight stopped at Mombasa after which we continued to Zanzibar. Still under the weather but mahn, it’s Zanzibar you know..
We arrive and of course immigration checks and all. They go well, but not until medical checks and scans for the Corona virus. At this point I am thinking, of course they will find out I am sick. Then oh my goodness I will be secluded. Heck I won’t even be allowed into this island. All that is put at rest when I am finally given a warm welcome.
I had an itinerary planned out. So in place, before the hotel check in was the stone town tour and spice tour. I got an amazing tour guide who took me around. The downside was that we were to go to this restaurant called Lukmaan Restaurant (apparently the best local restaurant in Zanzibar) but I was afraid to eat cause I was just still feeling sick, so I just had to pass. The pain!
Anyway, I hope that from above you can get a rough idea of the feel of stone town. It is quite similar to the Kenyan coastal towns, at least in my opinion. The doors are a key thing in stone town and to me that plus the narrow paths in between some of the houses instantly gave a Lamu feel. Their fort reminded me of Fort Jesus back in Mombasa with the waterfront reminding me of Mombasa old town and some aspects of Mama Ngina drive as well.
At this point, I was feeling a little fatigued but seeing as this was part of the itinerary as well I just went with my ever capable tour guide. I was just mostly excited to taste the cocoa fruit because a girl loves her chocolates but expect to see a lot plants and trees of nearly all the spices in your kitchen.
Dream of Zanzibar
This is the hotel I eventually opted to stay at. Initially, I wated to stay at one called Melia Zanzibar hotel, but it was not among the hotels available with the particulr tour company I was using. So all I am saying is if you want to take me back to Zanzibar, yiu can take me to that hotel.
All that said, I enjoyed my stay here. The service was amazing and the staff are among the most courteous people I have ever met. I have captioned the below photos, so check what I say there by clicking on them.
The plan was to catch sunset , as I experienced the evening cruise, but well, the clouds just did not want that happen. However, despite all of that, I captured some few shots that I mean if they featre here will cause no harm right?
10 Lessons learnt /Tips
At this point, the post is looking so long..I was to add a short story about my departure but if you are keen on knowing that and any further details not included in the following tips you can just ask me and I will respond. I will however say, I saw a duty free bookshop and of course I lost it.
Onto the tips…
- Have a basic plan. Travelling alone means that you are basically responsible for yourself and the kind of experience you will have. Do you just want a relaxed trip ? Stay at the hotel the entire time with no excursions? If this is what you want it’s okay. This is where you maximize the hotel services and facilities eg: their spas – book yourself a massage etc etc. If you want to at least have a tour of the city or something , don’t shy away from the excursions. Liaise with a local or a get a tour company that can make that happen and you’ll have yourself a good time. So that in as much as you’re travelling solo you’re highly likely to meet so many people , other travellers, who are keen on visiting those touristy places as well. So yeah , plan ahead.
- I’m basically saying this for myself – but yeah if you want to take photos it really will be up to you. Self photography is already a thing so just maybe consider getting something like a tripod ? I know I am because asking a random person can be hard and it’s even harder to ask for multiple rounds of shoots but oh well if you’re not keen that, this doesn’t apply to you. Also if you want to get me a camera, I have no objections whatsoever.
- Have cash on you and preferably in a universal currency or what is acceptable wherever you’re going.
- If you’re going to buy something , consult with locals so that you’re not just taken advantage of.
- You can get yourself some roaming data if you want so that you can be able to communicate with perhaps the person picking you if you had organized for that or be able to use apps like uber which are usually more affordable than regular cabs.
- Research on the best deals and seasons for travelling. This can make you spend considerably less than you would have should you have not researched.
- Know what the requirements for the country you’re going to are. Is it a yellow fever card ? Proof of accommodation ? Etc etc. Don’t be those people who are denied entry for something you could have easily gotten prior. This goes hand in hand with ensuring the you counter check before heading to the airport to ensure you have not left something like your passport .. etc .
- Have extra cash available at your disposal in case of anything. Extra here means enough to book you a night’s accommodation and a flight back home just in case anything happens (according to me ).
- Invest in your travel insurance. It’s not a waste of your money.
- This I learnt online. Have a way of identifying your luggage quickly. This can be maybe through tying a ribbon to mark your luggage or just whichever creative way you want. It helps to save on time and avoid confusion should there be similar suitcases or bags.