Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Stone Town

Stone Town is about an hour drive from Kiwengwa. I book myself into Malindi Hostel, close to the harbour and in walking distance to the city center. The hostel is clean and cheap. I get a single bedroom with breakfast on the rooftop terrace included for 15 USD per night.

I take a walk from the hostel down to the restaurant 6 Degrees South (named after Zanzibar being 6 degrees south of the equator) close by Forodhani Gardens overlooking the ocean. The restaurant has a great view, a nice terrace, free wifi and tasty food. After that I take a stroll through all the narrow, busy streets with the little shops left and right. I have a look at google maps from time to time, but apart from that, just go where my eyes take me.

The tour to the spice farms for the next day is booked. In one of the little streets off Kenyatta road I meet the shop owner Steven, whom I promise that I will come back tomorrow to buy some stuff when I have drawn cash.
I will keep my promise and buy a 'Kilimanjaro - if you can't climb it, drink it' t-short and some more stuff, while they offer me a shooter of Conyagi Gin from a cut-off plastic bottle top.

From the little streets I make my way to Darajani market where everything from spices over fish and vegetables is sold. Darajani means bridge and marks the spot where people from the one part of town crossed over to the other.
I buy nutmeg, masala spice, cinnamon and vanilla.

In the evening I rush to the harbor to take pictures of the sunset, that kind of broke out of the clouds unforeseeably. The colors in these images would probably even have impressed William Turner. Unbelievable!

Later I have dinner at Mercury's, a restaurant close by the ferry terminal. The bar has a very homey feel, the food is proper and quite cheap. I listen to the sound of the ocean and a lot of country music. Somehow the bars in Stone Town strictly play western music, which is a bit irritating, but I guess they want to be on the safe side with the tourists. I walk home after 10. Everything perfectly safe.

I happily fall into my bed. I like my room. It reminds me of 1001 nights and I get the feeling that I could spend a month or two here trying to write a book.

Next morning at 9 my guide picks me up and we drive to the spice farm. We drive through a part of town that is called Bububu. Khamis explains to me that at one stage a train was driving through here and thus the area was named after the sound the train makes: 'bububububu'.
Tangawizi Spice Farm is a great experience for me. I know next to nothing about the flora and spices, so I learn a lot. Did you know that Vicks VapoRub is made out of cinnamon roots? Apparently nutmeg is a aphrodisiac for women and ginger does the same to men. I see how vanilla grows and learn that the top of the pineapple is replanted and that grows another pineapple.
We talk about how in Zanzibar all cloves mist be sold to the government owned company (same with sea weed) and then sit in a little hut for a bit to drink and eat fresh coconut and other fruits waiting for the rain to stop.
I buy some Zanzibar perfume, which really smells amazing, and some tea.
The rain won't stop for the whole day. Back in town I have a beer and some fantastic tumeric-lime based soup called Urojo with some fried mashed potato balls (Kachori) and spicy beef skewers (mishkaki) at 6 degrees south and then, regardless of the weather, continue my walking tour through town. I have a nice espresso at the Zanzibar coffee house and later buy two knives from a street vendor, who made his own blade sharpening machine out of a bicycle. I try to communicate in Swahili, but that does not work. We just grab a fella from the street, who can translate for me. Hakuna matata.
Then I hang around the market some more, especially the fish and octopus is impressive, and then have dinner at Mercury's again. Lekker fresh kingfish.

I have an early night. All these impressions and the walking in the rain made me tired.

Next morning I enjoy my fresh fruit, coffee and scrambled eggs on the rooftop again and then visit the natural history and the former peace museum. Both rather unspectacular, but as such definitely worth a visit. Tale mosquito spray should you ever go.

After meeting up with my friends for a quick lunch we all drive off to Uroa to say goodbye to the lekker people from the Moonshine Hotel.

Almost time to go home. Two more chilled days in Kiwengwa enjoying swimming and hanging out with the people in Baby Bush Lodge and the holidays are over.

I had an incredible time and hope to come back here soon.

Sitting at Joburg airport now, I am all excited to get my images off my camera when I come home, so I can share them here with you.

Asante Sana Zanzibar! That was one great holiday!

Malindi Guest House on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/malindiboutiquehotel/ 
6 Degrees South: http://www.6degreessouth.co.tz/
6 Degrees South on Facebook: 6 Degrees South
Mercury's on Facebook: Mercury's Bar
Zanzibar Coffee House: http://www.riftvalley-zanzibar.com/
Tangawizi Spice Farm on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tangawizispicefarm.za.org/
Khamis Mussa Ibrahim, Tourguide: +255 773 273 191, mail: chichi89_@live.com