Blue safari in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Faustino! He organizes for us Blue Safari in the Indian ocean (from Zanzibar, Tanzania) and takes us in the world of colorful zebra fishes, white brilliant coral reef and secluded islands.

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During the Blue Safari Faustin is our guide in the Indian ocean who cannot swim! and our Swahili teacher.  Later we realized he is our best African friend!

Check here How we met Mr Faustin in Zanzibar. In case you need his contacts please write me on private massage.

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Blue Safari! All day in the ocean! Snorkeling and ocean waves, while we are swimming, exploring, laying on the beach of an unknown island, eating exotic fruits and ocean food… we fall in love with the soul of this eccentric Faustin. He has 3 sisters but they were 9 kids. He says this:

“The life and its end it’s just check-out from this hotel “World”. And you are ready for the next adventure.”

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Our Blue Safari is our best African experience ever! I feel so free and so calm. I hear the nature and I can taste it on my skin. Zanzibar island is amazing but being here, in a lonely island far away from Zanzibar, just us! This is fantastic! I can behave like a kid, I can jump in the water, found myself running on the beach… drinking wine in the water while sitting. Chilling time! Perfect moments! We are laughing loudly and on the chocolate face of Faustin the white teeth are shining.

We have fresh seafood – delicious!

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Resting and sitting in the water; we go back to the shore and have a little more time to eat, laying on the sand, strolling, swimming, diving among the rocks, and sometimes we take out ocean treasures; we eat fruits in the water, collect mussels. Amazing variety of flora and fauna! We found mangrove tree – the only one that drinks salty water!

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Indescribable atmosphere and a very good company! And Faustin was proclaimed unanimously for the African God of the Blue Safari!

We are blessed to be where we are!

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How we met Mr Faustin in Zanzibar

We are laying on the beach all day long and our incredible stay in Coco Paradise Hotel – Jambiani beach, is more than amazing. I strongly recommend the hotel as a great place to stay in Zanzibar (Tanzania), the stuff is excellent; the restaurant and the kitchen are one of the best on the beach. Price versus quality – completely satisfied level!

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The pool is a great relaxing area for reading a book, chilling, swimming and enjoying the nature around.

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We enjoy the African nature and the day ends with beautiful sunset under the Indian ocean.

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It’s our dinner time, we are in a hungry mood eating delicious fresh ocean food (fished today, cooked today and to be eaten today).

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The African wine is with exotic aftertaste and I really enjoy it. In the restaurant of the hotel Mr Faustin noticed us and came to check where we are from and what kind of people we are. He has a big smile and he is very friendly, always ready for jokes. We liked him at the very beginning of our first conversation.

He offered us to go with him on a Blue Safari – all day long adventure in the Indian ocean. Food included on a lonely island. Snorkeling with many colorful fishes and more…

Of course we took the offer and I will share with you in details how our Blue Safari became the greatest experience in Zanzibar! Soon on my blog!

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With Mr Faustin on a Blue Safari

But the most valuable from the Blue Safari is the connection with such a nice personality – Mr Faustin. He brings the natural positive vibes with him and he has seen a lot in his life. He speaks 6 languages (English, German, Italian, Spanish, Swahili, French) and we took some lessons on Swahili. He is crazy funny and his jokes bring wisdom.

Our group really love him and we are keeping in touch now. We really hope we will meet him again some day!

We all are blessed to have this kind of people in our life who can teach you to take it easy and to think for really the most important things. For all the rest – “Pole Pole” which translated from Swahili means “Just take it easy. Relax.”

Can’t wait to share soon more from my Zanzibar experience! Stay cool!

 

Jambiani beach

While being in Africa, we experienced one of the best beaches in Zanzibar, Tanzania. We booked a hotel on the beach Jambiani, Indian ocean. Next to Jambiani is Paje beach – perfect for surfing and swimming. Both are wide and burning white beaches.

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We stayed in Coco Paradise hotel or Villa de Coco how locals know it. I love the place and you will love it too! Great conditions, fresh food, nice restaurant, chilling area on the beach and we had amazing view from our balcony. The stuff is very nice and ready to help you. We booked our apartments via Booking.com, other platforms also have the hotel in their list.

Let’s walk through Paradise!

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African vibes everywhere.

What’s next? More sunny days in Zanzibar and more adventures. Stay with me on the road. Kisses.

African doors against elephants!

We are walking on the streets in Stone Town (Zanzibar), Tanzania. I already shared with you my experience- check it here .

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Hassan, our tour guide is with us – his facebook. You can alwasy contact him.

We are in front of a door against elephants. Yes! There are no elephants at all on the island Zanzibar! but in the past Indians who have built these doors didn’t know 🙂 Hassan explains to us they believed these doors can really protect them if elephants walk through the streets. So this is like a heritage from Indians who have lived here in Africa, on the island Zanzibar.

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I find myself asking “Are these doors really safe?” And the answer is – “No”. Hassan and my friends start laughing.

Hakuna Matata! Life is good and there is а tease on every corner.

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Spice tour on the spice island Zanzibar

Island Zanzibar, Tanzania, is called Spice island. Here there are variety of cocking spices (spices for fish, chicken and other meat), spices and herbs used in medicine, spices for decoration and home usage. Some spices are even used for construction materials.

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The ocean food and all exotic fruits are so delicious and the spices turn them into paradise food. The taste of Zanzibar food is unforgettable.

Our spice tour in one Zanzibar plantation overturned our imagination of some plants, herbs and fruits. Let’s start the tour now!

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We are walking through the forest plantation, it smells so strong of so many spices and fruits. It is relaxing and our best tour guide Hassan is with us ready to explain about every tree, every grass and everything we are seeing.

Find Hassan’s facebook here and you better contact him if you want to travel through Zanzibar, Tanzania.

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Nutmeg tree. My first time I see it.

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Cacao tree. Why I start thinking of chocolate!?

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Lipstick tree. From this tree local produce lipsticks for women. It is natural, shiny colorful and long-lasting. A local guy shows us how to use it 🙂

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Carnation flower. We discovered the Swahili  word is pronounced exactly the same as in Bulgarian language. So many plant names in Swahili are common with the Bulgarian words for the same things. May be common origins..? Carnation flower is used for massage oil. Locals use carnation to cook the local specialty pilaf rice and for medical purposes.

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Vanilla tree – first time I see vanilla as a tree. The vanilla flower changes its color from green to brown and even black.

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Pineapple flower. Wow, it is beautiful and colorful! I want to have it in my garden some day when I have a garden.

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Sesame – looks like a high grass. It is used for producing oil.

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Tamarind tree casuarina

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Lemon grass. It is curious fact that locals make fire with this grass and the mosquitoes fly away. So the lemon grass is like a natural repellent.

Henna plant – this plant is used for painting and decoration for body and hair. The color is red and turns into black when it’s dried.

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Black pepper – the pepper is at first white and turns into black.

Carambola

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Cinnamon tree – I love cinnamon. My favorite tree. We tasted some parts of the bark and the root of the tree. The root parts smell like medicines and they are used for that, as our guide Hassan explain to us.

Curry tree – We tried the leaves and here it comes the well-known scent and taste of curry.

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Coffee graves

Ylang ylang plant – Chanel 5 is made by this plant.

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Curcuma

Jackfruit

We have tasted and smelled many more fruits, trees and grasses. We tried local tea made from spices. We bought amazing gifts as soaps made by herbs, spices for any kind of food and exotic perfume for me!

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Zanzibar island is staggering! I am in love with it!

This spice tour is once in a life experience that touches all your senses and imagination.

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Taarab Music and Ngoma in Zanzibar

Taarab Music

Taarab is a form of local music in Zanzibar that is a mix of sounds and styles from India, Arabia, and Africa. Taarab shows are as much about audience participation as they are about music. Although the music may be a bit harsh for Western ears, the show itself is great theater. The audience howls at the antics of the other audience members and the Taarab singer carries on with the back up of a forty-piece band that includes horns, strings, and drums.

Below is an example of taarab music 🙂

Check the Old Fort for performances and check with hotel and restaurant staff to see if shows have been announced on the radio.

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Ngoma

Ngoma is traditional African dance and singing accompanied by fast rhythmic drumming. There are performances around the island but they can be difficult to be found. Try the Old Fort in town and ask hotels and restaurants. Some restaurants feature Ngoma on certain night. Local shows are much longer than Western shows; a Taarab/Ngoma night’s schedule may last five hours. Ngoma was originally performed at weddings, harvest festivals, circumcision ceremonies and other celebrations.

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Ready for Zanzibar?

African vibes everywhere! Chilling summer moments!

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Zanzibar Stone town

The old town of Zanzibar is Stone town. Here is dynamic, colorful, spicy-scented. Everyone looks busy and the city is alive. Someone steals a souvenir and starts running on the street trying to sell it fast.

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Stone town is the most developed part of Zanzibar, Tanzania. There are high buildings and small port on the Indian ocean. We are here with a tour guide, his name is Hasan, and this is an excellent choice! He speaks very good English and he can explain everything about the city. The island Zanzibar is very attractive and we are asking about the past. Hasan answers all our questions related to the history of Zanzibar and Tanzania.

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I strongly recommend you to contact Hasan HERE  via facebook if you want to discover Stone town or the whole Zanzibar island. He is a very nice young person.

We are passing the Old Fort where the culture of Zanzibar is represented during their festivals. More about the culture of Zanzibar can be found in another post here .

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The Old Fort is next to House of Wonders. A curious fact is that the first elevator in Zanzibar was in this old building . It is the largest and tallest building in Zanzibar. The architecture of Palace of Wonders is ancient, compound and curious.

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The second elevator was built in Palace of Sultan, one of the most historical places on the African island. So much history here! The Palace is enormous and keeps the spirit of the past. Said bin Sultan was the first Sultan in Zanzibar. On the second floor we can see how princess Sayyida Salme has lived. There is one book – “The princess of Zanzibar” which is dedicated to this princess. She married to a German and had really tough life because of her choice. Her parents didn’t want to see her anymore so she left the country.

The exhibits include some of her writings, clothes and daily life accessories.

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In the Palace of Sultan, we see a hall which is still functional for local elections.

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Here from our tour guide we learn so much about the African history. Before Tanzania,there were Tanganyika and Zanzibar. They merged into Tanzania – “tan” like Tanganyika; “zan” like Zanzibar; “nia” means together. People’s life here has changed after the merged and some are happy, other don’t feel sure about their future.

I am walking in the palace of Sultan and so many pictures are changing. I am hearing about the political situation now and I see how was life here in the Palace. The Sultan had one main wife – Sultana, and more other women which rooms are not in the Palace. There are nice portraits as gifts. In the past sometimes this was the only chance to represent yourself to the Sultan. No Facebook, remember?

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Going out of the Palace of Sultan, we are learning more facts about Tanzania. The citizens in the whole Tanzania are 49 million and on the island Zanzibar – 1.5 million.

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Narrow dirty streets are showing us where is the Market of Stone town. On the market everything can be found – meat, cheese, milk, so many spices! of course because Zanzibar is the spice island. There are small souvenir shops and homemade things can be found.

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It is dirty and so arty!

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The smell around the market is disgusting because they don’t have refrigerators and the food is a bit spoiled. Locals are used to that but it is really hard to see a meat with so many flies on it to be for selling. While we are walking, we hear some nice dancing music from local poor hut. Small children are running with no shoes on the dirty dusty streets.

They look happy 🙂

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We are hungry, so we need to try one of the local food places. There are many and you can sit to eat almost on every corner. The food quality is suspicious at first for us and they serve you the food with hands. You can see their fingers have parts of your food. And that’s how we start eating… The food is delicious! and we taste some local specialties with rice and vegеtables.

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Our walk continuous with Freddie Mercury’s house but there was nothing special about it, because nowadays they rebuilt it like hotel. So if you are not a guest of the hotel, you cannot even enter the house.

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We have pleasant moments picking souvenirs from small and bigger shops. We found some really nice stores for clothes and jewels.

Our day is ending, we are on one of the highest points in Stone town, drinking cocktail Crazy monkey and waiting for the sunset.

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I am so grateful! I know I am blessed!

African kisses to all of you and can’t wait to share what else I’ve discover on the island Zanzibar.

 

Zanzibar Culture & Festivals

Festivals

Eid-al-Fitr is the festival at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Also known as Eid or Sikukuu (days of celebration, festival or holiday), this festival is a time of gift giving and giving alms. The fasting of Ramadan is meant to remind people what is the meaning of life. Because the Islamic calendar is different from that of Christians, the dates for Ramadan and Eid change every year by about 11 days, so check a local Islamic calendar if you’re looking to visit Zanzibar during Eid.

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Ramadhan is a holy month in which drinking, smoking, and eating in public are prohibited. Dress codes should be strictly adhered to. Some restaurants are closed during this month and outside of town it can be difficult to get any food at all during daytime hours. Eid is a nice time to see all the little girls in their new dresses and the boys in their new sneakers/trainers. The girls put kohl around the eyes regardless of age, and the boys run around firing cap guns. There is a general feeling of celebration as people go from house to house visiting friends and relatives.

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Zanzibar Music Festival

Every July this festival runs for one week and features artists and shows from around the world. Most of the performances are held at the Old Fort but there are other venues in town such as at Bwawani Plaza. Taarab music and Ngoma dances are the big sell-outs during this festival but you can also catch performances from Arabia, Asia, and possibly Europe. Keep in mind that you’ll have to do quite a bit of asking around to find out where the shows are.

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Mwaka Kogwa

A four-day-long celebration, Mwaka Kogwa is best observed in Makunduchi, a village in the south part of Zanzibar. The origins of this holiday are Zoroastrian (a Persian religion older than Islam). It is a celebration of the New Year and some of the events include huge bonfires and mock fights. These fights are between men who defend themselves with banana stems. While the men are fighting, the women stroll through the fields singing songs about life and love. They are dressed in their best clothes and are taunted by the men after the fight is over.

The festivities vary from village to village but Makunduchi is where the biggest events take place. All are welcome for the festival because it is a local belief that anyone without a guest for this holiday is unhappy. The holiday is held every year around the third week of July, but check with a local tour operator to get the official dates. The dates are based on the Shirazi calendar and with the Persian New Year called Nairuz.

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Passport & Visa for Tanzania. How I became a millionaire in a day.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date. This is a standard requirement not only for Africa. Check your expiration date in advance.

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You need visa for your trip to Tanzania but it can be issued on arrival. It is possible to have it in advance from the only one Embassy of Tanzania in Europe – in Germany. So it can be a nice chance to plan a trip to Germany. I read somewhere you can send your documents and wait for your visa to be sent back by the Embassy of Tanzania in Germany. I don’t know more details here because I didn’t choose this option.

So we took our visas on arrival in Tanzania. The procedure is crazy. Action plan:

  • First you need to fill a form on the airport.
  • Then you go on the queue for finger prints and a photo of you.
  • Next step is on a visa-paying desk – 50 USD (It’s good to have exact amount).
  • And then you wait for your passport.

But the last step is very hard. Unpleasant moment. You are on the “queue” with at least 100 people (I put quotation marks because there isn’t any queue – it’s a mass of pressing people). One fat lady with bitter face comes in front of the “audience” and screams 5 names of the 5 passports in her hands. This is the procedure. You wait and wait and you hope your passport and visa to be among the next 5. The people which passports are ready have to get their documents pushing the “queue” because they can be at the back of the mass of people. But once you reach the lady from the Tanzanian administration you are ready to leave this chaos.

Our flights were Sofia (Bulgaria) – Doha (Qatar); Doha – Dar es Salam (Tanzania); Dar es Salam – island Zanzibar.

Let me share with you a nice photo from Doha’s airport.

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We had a delay and we arrived almost 2 hours late in Tanzania, Dar es Salam airport. It was so much struggling time to get our visas on time, to take our luggage and to transfer from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 for the last flight. We were running, screaming, fighting with the administration and sweating. Nerve test.

I was trying to organize our documents on time and kindly asked the lady who gives the visas to get our very soon. I explained to her we need to take the last transfer flight from Tanzania to Zanzibar. The second time I requested our passports she told me – “Don’t worry, you’ll have them tomorrow.”

Fortunately our guys found the boss of the airport administration, they wrote on a paper our names and we got our visas in the very last moment. Then we were very fast and we managed to get the flight. It was a happy chance that while running for the transfer to the island Zanzibar we bumped into the pilot of our flight. He saw us running desperately and crazy and said – “Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you”. And then I breathed. The chance was on our side!

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Main rule for getting visa in Tanzania – save at least 2 hours because the visa administration is primitive and chaotic.

Tip 1 : There isn’t any shuttle between the two terminals on Tanzanian airport, so plan accordingly if you will go by feet – it will take around 40 minutes but it’s possible. The better option is to get a taxi but you better arrange the price in advance before the service. We were in a rush and we didn’t talk about the price, so for less than 2 km we paid 20 bucks.

Tip 2: Spend some time to exchange money on your arrival. They accept dollars and euro but the best offer is to have Tanzanian shillings.

1 Dollar = 2200 Tanzanian shillings.

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So this is my story of how I became a millionaire in a day.

Our crazy travelling time ended with landing on African land in Zanzibar.

Can’t wait to share with you all adventures we took there! So much fun!

Vaccines in Tanzania

There are 3 recommended vaccines for Tanzania, island Zanzibar – hepatitis B, typhus and yellow fever. Hepatitis B and typhus can be spread by poor hygiene and dirty hands. Yellow fever is an infection of a mosquito bite.

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Main rule in Africa – wash your hands before you touch your face and before eating!

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It’s up to you what kind of vaccines you will do before your trip. None of the 3 are a must, so you won’t have any problems when you arrive. This is only for the region of Tanzania (especially island Zanzibar), so if you’ll go in a different part of Africa, you should definitely check for mandatory vaccines. You might not be allowed to entry the region if there are mandatory vaccines and you don’t have vaccine book with your vaccine history. In Bulgaria this book looks like:

If you did some vaccines – take your vaccine book on your trip.

Me and my friends have only vaccine against yellow fever. We didn’t have any side effects. It is not recommended to have a baby 3-6 months after this vaccine.

If you are from Bulgaria and you’ll do your vaccines in Sofia – here is the address of the Metropolitan Regional Inspection in Sofia:

str. “Vranya” № 20, floor 2

It is recommended to get a phone call first and to keep an hour for yourself. Phones of Metropolitan Regional Inspection: 02/ 813 04 13; 02/ 813 04 00.

This is the side of Metropolitan regional Inspection Sofia

This is a very sensitive topic for travelers so I really hope what I’ve shared was useful.

Keeping motivated to go in Africa!

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