The Dare Experience | Tanzania Travel Guide
I am delighted to feature Ayomide, who is a travel experience curator at The Dare Experience. If you are a Nigerian and looking for inspiration to visit Tanzania, then this blog post has got you covered. Ayomide recently explored Tanzania and I couldn't resist reaching out to her after experiencing FOMO of the highest order by stalking the cultural trip on her aesthetically beautiful page . Let's sit back and be inspired by her 5-days/4-nights amazing adventures in Tanzania, Zanzibar to be more specific..
The Journey to Zanzibar
For the longest time, Zanzibar had been calling. After 3 months of planning, my friends and I packed our bags and caught a flight to the Spice Island. This was our first International Tour (as an experience company). The whole drive to the airport was epic. We kept pinching ourselves and asking if we were really going to Zanzibar.
The first leg of the journey from Lagos was pretty much smooth, no funny ordeals at Murtala Mohammed Airport! Phew! Boy were we glad. After we checked in and dropped off our bags, we spent about 15 - 20 minutes taking pictures and going through immigration.
Flight from Lagos to Zanzibar
We couldn’t sit still as the flight didn’t take off as scheduled. About 30 minutes after, we were up in the clouds and we took loads of pictures as we flew over Lagos. Clearly, our 22 hour flight to Zanzibar had begun and we were electrified!.
We had a 13-hour night stopover in Addis Ababa and our hotel accommodation in Ethiopia was covered by the airline. We had been given a hotel voucher in Lagos as our boarding passes were issued. This voucher also covered our dinner and breakfast. Boy was it cold in Ethiopia! We called it a day after we had dinner as we were all exhausted and needed our beauty sleep.
Omar! Wake up!! We are hereeee!!!... I shouted as I grabbed one of my friends who was fast asleep. As the plane flew over the Spice Island, I grinned from ear to ear because I was I glad we answered that clarion call to visit Zanzibar.
Arriving at Zanzibar
Karibu! Welcome to paradise.
That’s all we heard as we got off the plane. By the way, Nigerian passport holders are eligible for visa on arrival in Tanzania. All you need is your yellow fever card, passport and a completed visa form (this is usually given on arrival) and the visa fee.
Our visas were issued once we made payment and submitted all the required documents. Our suitcases was out at the baggage reclaim before we were done. We were greeted on arrival with warmth by our pre-arranged driver.
The drive to our hotel was awesome and relaxing. The driver played Nigerian music from a playlist he had created just for us and we were also given cold bottles of water. The party started the moment we entered the vehicle at the airport till we got to the entrance of the hotel.
The check in at the reception was smooth and this came with cocktails (the first of many)!. No doubt, the hospitality we met was highly commendable. The rooms were nicely decorated and the view was breathtaking. We got energised all of a sudden and bounced around the room with excitement. The first thing we did was to make videos and take an unbelievable amount of pictures.
Dining at Zanzibar
I had organized a dining experience before we arrived (a secret I kept from the girls).
Dining on the highest rooftop restaurant in the heart of Stone Town was my best culinary experience so far. The set up here was traditional, dinner guests were asked to take off their shoes before being seated on comfortable floor cushions with low tables. These cushions are placed on Persian rugs.
We arrived in time for "sundowners" (Pimms Sultan cocktail) at sunset. The dining experience was magical. The food was a burst of flavours, the live Taarab music (a local genre that combines Swahili, Arab and Indian influences) by the local band was brilliant and the staff were fantastic. Throughout the evening, we were given a brief history of Stonetown and all the exquisite meals we had were described before we ate.
DAY 1- Spice tour, Prison Island tour & the city tour
After a filling breakfast and quick photo session in the hotel, I decided to give the ladies a glimpse of Zanzibar's spicy secrets. (Spices which are essential ingredients in a Zanzibari's daily life).
Ever wonder where the spices you use in cooking or baking come from?
Zanzibar city, with its UNESCO-listed historic centre Stonetown, is the heart of this Indian Ocean archipelago. Zanzibar is also known as the "Spice Island", and at one point was the world's biggest exporter of cloves and other spices! Bet you didn't know that! :)
We embarked on a spice tour on a farm in a rural area that grows Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Black pepper, lipstick plant, Sweet chilli pepper, Ylang-Ylang flower and so on . On this walking tour, we met the spice farm workers who grow them, and they let us see, smell and taste these spices.
We also got to learn the different uses from food flavour and colour to medicine. At the end of the Spice tour, we tasted some of the exotic fruits of Zanzibar. We were also decorated with palm-leaf accessories (rings, necklaces, bracelets, crowns and purses).
After the spice tour, we took a drive to the heart of Zanzibar city; Stone Town. On this walking tour, we explored the atmospheric, cultural and historical heart of the city through its winding alleyways.
We got to know more about the Spice Island as we visited the bustling local market to buy spices, we proceeded to check out The Anglican Christ Church Cathedral. This was the first Anglican Cathedral in East Africa, and it was built by Bishop Edward Steere in 1874. The Cathedral stands on the site of the Old Slave Market and the high altar was the old whipping post!
At the end of the tour, we hopped on a traditional dhow to the picture-perfect Island. The boat ride to Prison Island (also known as Changuu Island) was about 25 mins.
This island has prison complexes that was built for the confinement of rebellious slaves during the slavery era but no slave was ever housed there. It was later used as a quarantine station during the outbreak of yellow fever.
Currently, there is a dedicated foundation that houses and looks after a collection of Aldabra giant tortoises which were originally a gift from the British governor of the Seychelles.
After exploring the prison Island, we headed back to the hotel just at sunset. It was a perfect way to end the day.
In the evening, we explored Forodhani Gardens; an evening food market in the heart of Stone Town. The food here was incredible and we couldn’t get enough! We decided to try what the local market vendors had to offer. We tried almost everything! From the sweet Zanzibari pizza to grilled Octopus. The Zanzibari pizza it a mix of crepe stuffed with meat, fruits, vegetables, and eggs, served with chilli sauce or chocolate spread.
DAY 2- Safari Blue
The following morning, we set out to sea on a dhow from Fumba to the Menai Bay. Menai Bay is a marine-protected area where conservation efforts have allowed dolphins to flourish.
On our way, we watched dolphins do their thing. It was so beautiful to say the least. Shortly after we arrived on a large powdery sandbank, we swam in the warm waters around Kwale Island and then we fit into our snorkel gears and went snorkelling in the pure and clear water; gazing at the many sea creatures!
We had a seafood buffet for lunch – lobster, fish and calamari followed by loads of fresh fruits. We also explored the mangroves, climbed an ancient baobab tree and relaxed on the beautiful beach before heading back to Fumba as the sun went down.
The trip back was very interesting. It rained heavily and we all had to bend in the dhow to use water-resistant cover to protect us from the rain. But it didn’t work!! By the time we got back to the bay, we were all soaked. But we didn’t care as it was all part of the experience
After we got back to the hotel, we journeyed deeper and moved to a beach resort in Nungwi- a quiet island 40 mins away from Stone Town.
DAY 3- Rest and Turtle Aquarium
This was our last full day together, so we made it count! After a heavy breakfast, we rested a bit, took a quick dip in the pool, walked to the beach and had a long photo shoot. We later immersed ourselves into the richness of village life as we visited a turtle aquarium. This for me was an experience of a lifetime as I got to swim with and feed sea turtles in a natural pool.
In the evening, we all came together for a memorable dinner at the hotels restaurant with a remarkable view to reflect on and celebrate this experiences we had created together.
Final words on travelling to Zanzibar
Spice trade has remained the pillar of Zanzibar's economy. Zanzibar, has capitalised on its history as the world's "Spice Islands" to become a popular destination for eco-tourists and food bluffs alike.
A visit to Zanzibar is incomplete without a spice tour because it provides a detailed introduction to the region's cultural heritage, as well as its gloomy history as the Africa Great Lakes region's main slave-trading port.
Phew!. I finally got the opportunity to organise a tour on a cultural trip to Zanzibar. Captain say what??! I was fulfilled and grateful for the success of Zanzibar expereince . Someone once asked me the highlights of my trip. Everything and everywhere was the highlight of my travel experience; a mix of culture, relaxation and adventure.
Don't be green with envy yet. Would we organise another trip to Zanzibar? Absolutely, and it will be very soon! Follow us on Instagram, theDareExpereince_, for more information on local and international trips.
Once in a year, go somewhere you’ve never been to before, find beauty and carry it along with you.