A Return to Zanzibar

16 years ago Michael & Natalie at Zanzibar Travel arranged our wonderful Honeymoon to Zanzibar.

We’ve always wanted to return, so this half term, to celebrate my husbands special birthday, we organised a trip back with our 3 children, Lucy (15), William (13) and Ben (11). They love adventure and animals so we had to include a safari in Tanzania too!

We deliberately started our holiday in the fishing village of Nungwi in the north of the island. Recognising that “tourists” will never fully appreciate what life is like at their destination, we felt that being in the village would give the children at least some understanding of what life is like for people living in Africa.

The beach is shared with local people, we walked around large parts of the village where visitors do not often venture, we visited the amazing turtle sanctuary which is run by local people, and saw dhows and fishing boats being built and repaired in the traditional way. Flame Tree Cottages provided us with an ideal retreat in Nungwi with its lovely pool set in wonderfully tended tropical gardens. A real treat was the breakfast on our terrace every morning, and the kids loved the bats nesting in the palm trees above our cottage.

On our transfer from Nungwi to Stone Town we stopped off to do a spice tour. We had done this previously on our Honeymoon, and remembered how fascinating it was. It was once again extremely informative and interesting both for us, and for the children. Would highly recommend.

During our 3 days in Stone Town we stayed at Mizingani Seafront Hotel which has been tastefully converted from the Old Custom House building and now has a very Arabic feel. Whilst our spacious Family Room had glorious views over the ocean/harbour, the down side was ferries coming and going and “honking” as they left or approached the harbour. We took a day long excursion, with snorkelling, to Prison Island, the home of some tortoises reputed to be several 100 years old. This was fun. On other days we just wandered (and got lost frequently!) in the narrow bustling streets of Town with its interesting architecture, & beautiful wooden doors. The Slave Market & Museum was very sobering but incredibly interesting. For excellent coffee and omelettes we strongly recommend Zanzibar Coffee House. The kids really enjoyed the fresh pizzas at La Taverna run by an Italian family. And we all really enjoyed the delicious curries at The Silk Route and Monsoon Restaurant. (The Wednesday night we were there, there was a very good trio playing African music).

Our next part of the holiday was our safari. We flew into Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania in a tiny plane (very exciting!) staying at the wonderful Rufiji River Camp. This was great fun and we all loved the tents, surrounded by monkeys with the hippos grunting all night. It felt so wild and completelywhatwewanted! Simon was very spoilt on his special birthday with a surprisec hampagne party at sunset by the river, with a few giraffe for company. A moment never to be forgotten.

Our guide, Hassini, was excellent, his 4×4 skills in the mud out of this world, and he found us a wide variety and abundance of game – but not a single lion!!! This could have been, in part, due to the rains arriving unseasonally early in October rather than late November. Our guide told us that with the rains some game do not have to go to established water sources as pools will appear at inaccessible locations.

Back to Zanzibar and to our final destination, Breezes Beach Club & Spa where we had stayed on our Honeymoon. Luxury!! The kids eyes popped out of their heads when we arrived and it was the perfect end to the holiday. It has got even better over the years and exceeded our every expectation. The staff are truly 5*, facilities excellent, food outstanding and the beach on the south east coast, we felt, was better than at Nungwi probably because it was private and felt completely empty. We will definitely go back.

In summary… we loved every minute of every day. The kids experienced real Africa which is what we wanted. A wonderful mix of hotels, locations and experiences. The standard of cuisine was high everywhere we went, with no tummy bugs at all. Our flights with Ethiopian Airlines were very good, and Zanzibar Travel had thought of everything and made the whole trip so easy for us.

Both for us and the children – the holiday of a lifetime, never to be forgotten. Thank you so much.

The Hobbs Family

December 2019