We flew in from Arusha Africa, to Zanzibar airport. It was a very small friendly airport and we passed through it very quickly and hassles free. You instantly felt the laid back vibe. We had pre- arranged transfers to our hotel situated on the North Coast in ‘nungwi‘. But it was quite easy to arrange a taxi or mini bus on arrival.
We arrived at our guest house ‘Smiles Beach Hotel’ from back streets of roads lined with banana palms, mangroves and coconut trees, following a small winding gravel track. But when we arrived at reception, got our keys and walked around the corner to our rooms – wow! This brilliant white beach, with the sun shining down and turquoise waters just looked idyllic and instantly grabbed my attention. I didn’t want to go in the room, I just wanted to sit on the beach and watch the fishermen which were bringing in their catch in a dugout canoe. Our room was basic, nothing special but you didn’t need anything only a bed and a basic bathroom, knowing what was outside.
We dumped are bags and headed out to explore the area around where we were staying. It was paradise; you could see the coast curving around with bars and restaurants on stilts along the water edge. It was also a working beach with more fishermen and local villagers trading there catches than tourists. The people live a simple way of life here, being unchanged over the years this was clear to see.
That evening it was casual barefoot beachfront dress, we chose a place on the edge of the sea for dinner. Small tables candlelit in the sand, no menu’s you just chose from a table of fish what you wanted. There was a chalk board with prices on. It was cooked on a bbq on the beach – Amazing, very cheap and as fresh as you can get! The main source of food here was the daily catch being a wide variety of seafood and there stable being rice. But there were places you could order pizza or meat if you weren’t a seafood lover. There were lots of hippie bars where you could sit around a bonfire on driftwood, listening to reggae music and enjoying a beer or rum whilst the oceans lapsing.
We totally chilled on the beach for 3 nights before heading over to Stone Town. We took a dhow and snorkeled at sunset and ate lots of delicious seafood. We have promised ourselves that one day we will return to Zanzibar, we felt so safe even at dark to just walk around and really were able to relax in this friendly paradise. A hidden gem waiting to be explored…