Once A Long Time Ago, We Went To Zanzibar

When the weather turns frosty on me, my thoughts never fail to fly to Africa. Today I want to take you down my memory’s lane to Zanzibar, that lies just off the coast of Tanzania.

A few years ago, Hiro and I had the chance to visit this most beautiful among all islands together to celebrate New Year with my father’s family. It was an experience that I cannot ever forget.

Such is the beauty of Zanzibar that when we arrived at gone 7pm, the clouds had descended yet the talcum powder white sands still lit the beach up in a magical way:

The next morning we rose at day break. The fishermen were already out in their dhows.

It is a Japanese tradition to witness “hatsuhinode”, which is the 1st sunrise of the New Year despite being in Africa we still wanted to carry on the tradition.

I have yet to find a beach that comes anywhere near to the beaches in Zanzibar.They are pristine in the most honest sense. We stayed in a part of Zanzibar that had not seen any development so it was still very close to nature. Just our cuppa tea. We would while away our days and watch the Masai plod along the sands.

Zanzibar experiences spectacularly dramatic tide outs that pull the waters of the Indian Ocean right back to the coral reef.

A few women had small seaweed patches where they harvest “tengusa” which is used to make agar. They ship this out to Japan amongst other places.

We could watch the world go by from our little hut on the beach.

When the tide was in, the waters were a joy to splash about in! This side of the Indian Ocean has warm waters that are much like being in a gigantic bath tub…but better!

Zanzibar is a sleepy place where even the inner parts of the island move to a slow rhythm.

While it is rich beyond imagination with it’s natural splendour, many people here live in poverty and the unemployment rate remains high.

This is the bitter sweet taste of my experiences in Africa. I can go back and enjoy the fruits of my labour yet I never forget where I came from, how far I have come and YES how fortunate I have been to be able to take advantage of the opportunities I have been given.

One of the things I love most about Zanzibar is the “matunda” (fruit). There is a cornocopia of fruit growing in it’s back gardens. It’s all very cheap too! I remember paying about 40p per pineapple….Yah, Borough Market! Shove that up your stalls!

I hope to return to Zanzibar in the next 2 years! I cannot shake the place from my heart. The next time we plan to spend more time exploring the other side of the Island. The next time it will be just Hiro and I and so I won’t have my dad worrying about someone kidnapping me or offering him goats for my hand!

Have you ever been to a place where your heart longs to return to?

Even the flight back to Tanzania was magical:

Can you see it?
The peaks of the mighty Kilimanjaro poking through the clouds?
Seeing Kilimanjaro sends shivers down me……When I see it, I know that I have come home again.