My Zanzibar experience has been redefined,I had never taken time to do proper tours on the spice Island before.This time around I had all excursions handled by Serena hotel where I was staying.I had a full day of touring and lunch at the Serena Mangapwani restaurant by Mangapwani beach, all planned.
On that morning,after a good breakfast we were introduced to our very informative guide for the stone town tour Mr. Hemedi Abdallah who started by giving us a brief history of Zanzibar during the slave trade era,colonial times and post colonial times.We begun the stone town walking tour by going through the narrow streets of stone town to see the beautiful Zanzibari architecture which is mostly influenced by Indian and Arab traders.Centuries ago,indian and arab traders used the monsoon winds to sail across the Indian ocean to Zanzibar.They carried out a number of activities and took part in the slave trade.Historically people from different parts of the world such as the Portuguese,Indians,arabs and later the British settled in Zanzibar at different times conducting different activities.Stone town,Zanzibar is now a UNESCO heritage site.Building from historical times are kept and maintained in the same way they were built for preservation purposes.This is all evidently seen on the narrow streets,wooden doors decorated with brass, uniquely built rooftops and other land marks.
We then made our way to the former slave market which now stands the beautifully built Anglican cathedral Christ Church.Mr Hemedi told us about the history of slave trade which begun in the 18th C and Zanzibar being the main slave port amongst Africa’s Great lakes region.We got to see the former slave chambers where on the top lays a building that was used for health care services after abolition of slave trade in 1873.We were also taken around the church to see different land marks such as the slave monument built to mark the occurrence of slave trade.The anglican church is one of the oldest christian churches in East Africa and is still in operation to date.
We then headed to the Darajani market which is also known as markiti kuu that was built in 1904 for the then Sultan of Zanzibar,it was later expanded and restored and has been in use to date.It seemed like any other day to go shopping for Zanzibaris because there were a lot of people buying groceries,home ware and spices.Seeing the spices packed and ready for sell,I looked forward to visiting the spice farm to see them in their raw form,something I had never seen before.
Mr. Hemedi who knew his way took us all around stone town showing us all historic places.We weren’t able to visit a few historic buildings because they do not open on Sundays so we ended the tour by going to forodhani park where we sat and got our hands adorned with beautiful henna drawings.The park being so close to the hotel we walked back and found the arranged taxi waiting for us to go for the spice tour.
Zanzibar as it is nicknamed the spice island was one of the world’s leading producers of different spices in the 19th Century.Spices are largely used in every day cooking in the Zanzibari cuisine.We did the tour at the government owned farm that is used mostly for research purposes. Interesting how most spices do not look anything close to how they look outside the farm.Our guide gave us a chance to guess what different spices were by smelling them before he told us what they were and how each is used differently locally.Interesting how most spices look nothing close to the way they appear when already packed.
We got a chance to buy spices at the end of the tour and I bought Zanzibari tea masala and Chicken masala. 🙂
We spent the rest of the afternoon at Serena Mangapwani restaurant at Mangapwani beach.On arrival, we were welcomed by the ever smiling Mr. Anthony who is in charge of the place then quickly ordered our drinks and relaxed on the beach lounge beds as we waited for our meal to arrive. It wasn’t long until Mr. Anthony arrived with my order which was Catch of the day and potatoes.I had the freshest king fish I have ever had.
After lunch we swam in the clear indian ocean water for the rest of the evening until sun set then headed back to the hotel.The Mangapwani restaurant is a private restaurant by Zanzibar Serena hotel and it operates from 10am to 5pm for lunch and a shuttle is usually provided to and from Zanzibar serena hotel for the hotel guests.
Getting back to the hotel,we had dinner at the rooftop as planned.I had kuku wa kupaka with rice and Zanzibari masala Tea for a drink.
I has a very nice weekend away in Zanzibar.Again,having visited Zanzibar more than three times,I would definitely recommend staying at The Zanzibar Serena hotel when visiting Zanzibar.
Former slave market site:
Spice farm tour:
Serena Mangapwani Restaurant: