It’s been a whirlwind this past month, with Mid Service Conference marking a year at site, Trainer of Trainers training, and a trip to Zanzibar, Tanzania in between! I have compiled a list of places to visit, things to eat, and places to stay in case you ever find yourself on the paradise island that is Zanzibar.
We spent a total of two days in Dar Es Salaam, a major port city on the coast of Tanzania. We found many hidden treasures in the form of food, beaches, and sights. Our AirBnB hosts were so great and invited us to a night run event, local to Dar Es Salaam. It was a great way to explore the city on foot, though starting a ten mile run at 10PM almost caused us to miss our morning ferry.
For Dar Es Salaam:
Chef’s Pride: a melange of offerings, from fresh fish curries to Indian naan.
Thai Kani: a treat in and of itself—featuring fresh spring rolls and seafood from the coast. Thai Kani is located on the slipway, a modern open area with restaurants and small shops. A great way to relax before a flight!
Food Lovers: Located in the area of Misaki, Food Lovers is the Whole Foods equivalent in Dar Es Salaam. In the store itself, there were many coconut oil products, fresh produce, and snacks. We ate outside, having fresh fish and chips, probably some of the best I’ve ever had.
Seedspace is a co-working space that offers apartment style living in a co-living setup for short term stays. The apartments were clean and centrally located and provided a great view of the ocean at sunset.
For the island of Zanzibar (outside of Stone Town):
A bit of history…
Zanzibar is much more than a beach vacation. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region located in the Indian Ocean, about 30 miles off the coast of Dar Es Salaam. It consists of the island of Zanzibar or Unjuga, Pemba as well as smaller neighboring islands.
A former centre of the spice and slave trades, present-day Zanzibar is infused with African, Arab, European and Indian influences. The mix of cuisine and culture can be seen in the daily life on the island.
In 1964 members of the African majority overthrew the established minority Arab ruling elite. A republic was then established and the presidents of Zanzibar and Tanganyika, on the mainland, signed an act of union, forming the United Republic of Tanzania while giving semi-autonomy to Zanzibar.
Where to go, what to do
On the island, we traveled to Matemwe (located in the northeast) and Nungwi (in the northwest). Both areas are known for different things. Matemwe is very quiet, mostly populated by those from Zanzibar and some tourists. This area also has very extreme high tides and low tides, making it difficult to swim until high tide. The upside is that there’s some tourism industry on the beaches, but not a lot. Nungwi, on the other side of the island, is quite touristy, has many resorts and restaurants, but it’s possible to swim at any point during the day, the best being at sunset when the tide is high. Each month, there’s a full moon festival at Kendwa Rocks. Unfortunately, we weren’t there for it, but next time!
We stayed at La Villa Victor and ate at the Sevi Boutique Hotel, a ten minute walk on a dirt road.
We stayed at the Miti Garden Bungalows (5 min walk from the beach)
Kendwa Stars—great for renting a beach chair for the day under umbrellas and for the full moon party that happens once a month.
Jerry’s Bar—great for live music, you just need to figure out which day to go!
Z Hotel Restaurant—the best meal I had outside of Stone Town. The tuna salad, would 100% recommend.
Last but not least, Stone Town:
Wandering the streets of Stone Town was such a wonderful experience. As a UNESCO heritage site, it means the buildings are original and if they aren’t, they’re in the style of the city itself. Stone Town has great dining options, sights to see (mosques, the birthplace of Freddy Mercury, and the main fort to name a few), and beautiful beaches looking out onto the ocean.
The Coffee House: beautiful old wood interior coffee shop, with high ceilings and delicious coffee from Zanzibar.
Swahili House: offers a great selection of lunch and breakfast options, located on the top of a building, providing 360 views of Stone Town.
Monsoon: a great place for after dinner, to hear local traditional music and drink spiced coffees and teas.
Emerson Spice: a hotel and restaurant that offers a prix fixe lunch and dinner option. Here, I had the best octopus salad and a plate of fresh raw seafood.
Forodhani Market: a night market that features displays of fresh seafood and meat, as well as some samosas and “Zanzibari pizzas.”
Lavender Spa: great for a reasonable, relaxing massage, using cloves and local spices for a good post beach exfoliation.
For photos, see the new album titled, Zanzibar and More!