Rich History of Zanzibar the Spice Island
Shaded by colourful umbrellas and set against the backdrop of stone walls and red roofs. With the mingled cry of vendors and laughing children. The sights of travelers treading the turquoise waters of the Indian ocean, gently cooling off against the immense tropical heat.
This is part two of a series on Zanzibar – the Spice Island.
This labyrinth of narrow streets is packed with exotic spots. From getting completely lost in the narrow alleyways of Stone Town, there’s a possibility of stumbling upon little gems of luxury and heritage. Like the rooftop Tea House restaurant at the Emmerson on Hurumzi hotel.
As a true testament to the history and culture it houses, the Emmerson on Hurumzi is where I catch up with international designer and CNN’s “Inside Africa” host, Faroque Abdela. We chat collaboration and witnessing a rising Africa, whilst in the background, the Muslim call to prayer accentuates the eastern setting of Arab-style cushions and small tables.
On its rooftop sits one of East Africa’s top restaurants. A daily changing Zanzibari menu, enchanting views and pure East African hospitality. There is nothing quite like it really. Under a canopy of silk and over-looking arched open-air windows, the sun sets. What’s better, I enjoy a meal that hasn’t conformed to social cohesion and that hasn’t been prepared for convenience. This could only mean that Swahili Cuisine is arguably the best food in all of Africa.
Samoosa’s, curried fish and pilau (cooked rice, well seasoned with curry, cinnamon, cumin, hot peppers, and cloves) served with spicy coconut sauce. Chapati with Mchicha (spinach and peanut curry). Fresh Coconut and Pineapple juice. Kashata (a very sweet tasting snack made from coconut chunks and groundnuts) to wash it all down.
Outside of Stone Town, there are also beautiful beaches around the island you can explore in Nungwi, Paje and Kendwa. Expect fine white sand, coral reefs, and turquoise seas glistening in the sun.
When I think of Zanzibar, I think of a wildness that tames, a tropical paradise with a flair of the orients and the colours of Africa. I think of the lingering scent of that Arabian Oud perfume I had caught a whiff off – as I beat the sweltering afternoon heat that one day late in December – for an air-conditioned seat on the ferry back to Dar-Es-Salaam. When I think of Zanzibar, I think of the Zanzibar chair I’m currently sitting on (I inherited it 2 years ago) as I type this tale of yet another beautiful trip. A tale of Arab dhows and billowing sails that travel the coast; a scene I’m reminded isn’t the first nor the last I’ve seen nor shall see.
Emotive, beautiful and somewhere I would definitely go back to, modern Zanzibar has as many passions as its characterful Peoples and their independent spirits . You know, that kind that has to be deeply rooted in the Indian Ocean, where the story of Zanzibar began in the first place <3
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