Tourist First

Travel notes and advice from around the world. Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Africa: The Warm Waters of Zanzibar

After almost two weeks of daily and twice-daily game drives in different parts of northern Tanzania, Jane and I headed for Zanzibar and the amazingly warm waters of the Indian Ocean. We stayed one night in its ancient capital, Stone Town, at Mashiriki Palace, and four nights at Matemwe Lodge, an oceanfront resort on the island's northeast coast. Matemwe is operated by Asilia, the safari company that also operates Namiri Plains. Links to all the places we stayed are in an earlier posting.  (Keep scrolling down and hitting "older posts," or click HERE.) 
      Below are photos from Zanzibar.

Our room, No. 15, at Mashiriki Palace, a small hotel just a block or so
from the waterfront in Stone Town. 

You''re never far from the water in Stone Town, which
has a very active harbor.

Our room at Mashiriki Palace overlooked a courtyard
of a school. Zanzibar is 95 percent Muslim.

Another view from our hotel room in Stone Town.

The hull of an old wooden fishing boat is moved on the beach
at Stone Town.

Another old boat on its way to restoration. Boats are simply
dragged up the beach to be worked on.

Freddie Mercury was born and raised in
Zanzibar. One place where his family once
lived has become something of a shrine.

The wooden boat on the beach is a dhow, a traditional vessel used for fishing and
for transporting people and goods.

"Don't worry," as we all learned in Disney's
"The Lion King." It's Swahili, a language
widely spoken in Tanzania.

Boats moored along Stone Town's waterfront.

Many streets in Stone Town are too narrow for cars. To the extent there's a tourist district,
this is it, with handicraft and souvenir shops, bars, restaurants and hotels. It's also a
residential neighborhood -- most unmarked doors lead into someone's home.

The flags aren't meant to be festive -- they are left over from a recent election. 

From our bungalow at Matemwe we could watch
the local women out gathering mussels and
other treasures from the shallow waters
between the beach and a coral reef, which was
about 150 meters offshore. 

Looks inviting, doesn't it?  This was the covered terrace of our thatch-roofed bungalow at Matemwe.

Women wade barefoot as they collect
mussels and other seafood. The warm water
(I guessed it was around 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
is pleasant, but the many sea urchins on the
bottom are a constant nuisance.

The outrigger fishing boats rest on the beach at low tide at the end of the day.

Zanzibar is largely a coral island. This coral formation
is on the beach at Matemwe.

Dhows sail south along the coast toward the fishermen's homes in mid-afternoon. 

These creatures are known as bush babies. They visited
the open-air bar at Matemwe every evening during the
pre-dinner cocktail hour. 

An outrigger sailboat. 

A dive boat heads out to submerged reefs.

A fisherman works his net in the shallow waters
between the beach and an off-shore coral reef.

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