20.06.2008 - 25.06.2008 23 °C
The ferry journey to Zanzibar was stunning - once I'd managed to fight through the crowds. Bright sunlight shone as we travelled past uninhabited islands. Arriving into Stone Town, the Muslim influence on Zanzibar is obvious from the architecture to the calling of people to prayer at 5 in the morning.
The town is the birthplace of Freddie Mercury - a curiously low key place considering the number of tourists who travel through the weathered town. The area was the last large slave market (finally closed in 1873) though the whipping post and sleeping chambers remain. Zanzibar is also famous for its exotic spices and we were shown a spice farm where almond trees, vanilla bushes and several spices with long and confusing names were cultivated. Lunch was a traditional affair eating rice and bones (masquerading as fish) whilst sitting on the ground.
The spice tour ended, dropping us off at our accommodation for the next 2 nights at a beach resort. After rain earlier in the day, our arrival in the shunshine made the scene all the more stunning. It is no exaggeration to state that I was more excited when I saw the beach than at any other time during my 7 months away.
The white sand beaches, clear turquoise water lapping on the shore below the beach hut and the dark blue water in the distance looked like a stereotypical holiday brochure picture. Even my camera breaking could not ruin my good mood.
The warm waters were perfect for swimming as we looked forward to the full moon party that night. After travelling by boat to the beach we enjoyed some traditional dancing. Unfortunately, for the rest of the evening many words could describe my wellbeing - the most eloquent was probably 'inebriated'. Consequently, I can remember very little of the rest of the party. The following day the weather was not so kind so it was spent at a leisurely pace recovering from the night before.
We travelled back to Stone Town for 1 last relaxing day in Zanzibar. In the evening we went to the local markets to eat octopus and lobster. I think it was this meal that enables me to sum up the following 2 days (the first involved 16 hours on the road) with the word: food poisoning. I continue to have an upset stomach and a constant state of lethargy. I hope my health improves before I reach Serengeti National Park!