Backpacking South Africa

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A Backpackers Guide to Zanzibar

We love tales of travelling new and exciting lands, backpacking your way to mystical and exciting places, sampling the tastes, smells and cultures of unexplored territories. One of our team recently returned from a trip to Zanzibar and came back with some intriguing stories about his travels, the food and accommodation in Zanzibar.

The aircraft finds its landing somewhere along the East Coast of the Indian Ocean. The humidity is warm and inviting. The fresh sea breeze fills your lungs with its’ exotic nature. A Dhow sails along the clear blue sea, its triangular sails picturesque to that of a fairy tale. The native men on board delivers you a friendly smile and wave. They are speaking in their native tongue. You don’t quite understand them, but they are friendly and inviting.

You walk across the soft white sand. Your feet sinking into the softness of the great white mass which surrounds you. The island is dotted with thatched houses. The perfect accommodation to enjoy all the beach life has to offer. Not far from the thatched houses is a free standing beach bar, surrounded by palm trees which blow gently in the island breeze.

Night falls, the island is instantly transformed into something you could only dream about. The stars shine brightly amid the darkness of the sky. The blue sea shimmers under the silver moonlight. The air is filled with laughter, music and fun. The beach bar is lit up with people from all around the world, sharing their stories, and enjoying the exotic island getaway.

Dawn breaks, the sun is filling the thatched house you have now called home. The birds are chirping a cheerful tune. You take a walk down to the magnificent sea of blue. You’re convinced to take a ride along the Dhow. It’s a glorious feeling, sailing across the clear blue sea. Taking in the beauty of the island from afar.

If you are the kind of traveller that likes everything organized well in advance the head over to the Discover Zanzibar Accommodation website. This agency has developed trusted relationships with some of the finest resort owners in Zanzibar. You won’t necessarily be getting the backpacking experience, but are guaranteed to have a fantastic time.

The sea life beneath the vast blue ocean intrigues you. You wrap your gear tightly around you, slipping on your flippers. You’re ready to go scuba diving. You plunge into the magical world beneath you. The sea is lit up by an array of colourful sea creatures. A turtle passes you by, it’s content in its’ natural habitat. You feel at one with the marine life. You even spot a humpback whale from afar. You are back on the Dhow, surrounded by a pod of dolphins, happily ducking and diving beside you.

A native convinces you to take a ride on the hop on dala dala which is an adventurous experience on its’ own. It’s a great way to experience the island and its’ natural inhabitants. You find yourself trudging along the spice route. The friendly Swahili’s show you their home grown spices and even give you a lesson on what they can be used for and how they are grown. Some of the smells are familiar, others as foreign as foreign can be.

You shake hands, learn new names and interact with the Swahili people. Getting to know their way of life, cultures and beliefs. They are friendly and humble. Happy to share what they have and what they know. You walk along the narrow streets filled with people selling various trinkets.

The House of Wonders Museum is a wondrous place filled with so much history. You feel as though you’ve gone back into time. Its’ enchanting character brings everything to life. You are taken to Prison Island which despite the name is not a prison at all. It was once a prison and quarantine unit many years ago. It has now being transformed into a tourist resort and home to the Giant Aldabran turtles which are amazing. You stroke them gently and even feed them. The colourful bird species are spectacular in your eyes. You can’t get enough of their natural beauty. Among the greenery are a variety of species of butterflies and even bats.

Yes Zanzibar has been described as paradise on earth, whether you are backpacking, on honeymoon or just looking for a place to get away from it all, be sure to add Zanzibar to your travel bucket-list!

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