We were picked up last night from the airport by tow representatives of Safina Tours who is subcontracted from Shades of Green Safaris for the Zanzibar part of our trip. We got to the hotel about 8pm and went to the sports bar for a pizza. When you order your food in Tanzania and Zanzibar, don't expect your food to arrive in 10 or 15 minutes. It takes an hour or more and at the Mtoni Marine Hotel, it was no different. The hotel looked quite pleasing on the website and this morning when I went for breakfast, it did not disappoint. There was a nice selection of fresh fruits - much nicer than we had in Tanzania, coffee, tea, eggs any style and several types of bread. I pounced on the small ones that looked like Guyanese bakes and had about three of those.
We got a taxi at the front of the hotel and he took us to Stone Town for a short visit. We got back to the hotel in time for our 12:30 meeting with the representative from Safina Tours but he was not there and we received a message from the front desk that he was not going to be there for another hour.
In the meantime, the taxi driver told us that if we were interested in sightseeing, he would offer a good price. I wasn't sure what that meant so we thought we'd hear what the Safina rep's prices were and compare. We were almost certain that it would be higher than the cab driver and we were not wrong. The rep offered us a spice tour for $18 each and a tour of Stone Town for $20 each. He seemed rather disinterested when he was talking to us but that was okay. When we talked to the taxi driver Ali about the same tours, he offered the Spice tour for $10 each and the Stone Tour for $13 each. We decided to do those and had a great time exploring some of the narrow streets (more like alleys) of this old city. Apparently, it used to be the capital of Oman before the capital was moved to Muscat
Stone Town Street
Alley (street) in Stone Town
Artist's palette (recycled bottoms of plastic drink bottles)
Stone Town transport vehicle
Me wearing a Maasai sandal
Stone Fort in Stone Town
Inside fort in Stone Town
Hotel in Stone Town
We headed back to the Mtoni and had lunch and a sit a bit of a rest before heading off to see a glorious Zanzibar the sunset.
Mtoni Sport Bar
The best part about the sun setting was the beach dinner which I had arranged earlier today at Mtoni's formal restaurant.
Ready for a beach dinner
We arrived at the beach all decked out in our fancy clothes (was as fancy as you can get packing for temperatures that varied from +32C to -20C in the space of a few days while limiting your suitcase to 50 pounds). The staff had set up a lovely table on the sand and they had candles placed around the table - in a sandpit - so that they wouldn't blow out from the wind. But the night was so perfect that there was only a whisper of wind and no mosquitoes in sight.
Sand pit candle holder
Table set for royalty
Amuse bouche (one bite serving of an appetizer)
Chicken breast main course
Butter chicken hot pot
Onion tart (vegetarian main course)
The food we ordered was quite delicious but way more food than we could eat. There was fresh bread as well so by the time we scarfed that down, the food seemed excessive. We did ask the server about the serving sizes of the meals and she said they were small. When we left half of our food, she was surprised and said that in her village, a small child could eat one of the servings. It must be a BIG small child. Donna L was courageous and had roasted warthog and said it tasted like pork. Maybe warthogs and pigs are related. But they sure are ugly in an almost cute way.
We sat with each other for quite some time, just enjoying the pace of the night - not hurried and with nowhere to go but bed for the night. It was a gratifying way to end our first full day in Zanzibar and even if all parts of it did not quite remind me of all those Harlequin romance books I read as a teenager, it was still satisfying - especially after yesterday's incident in Arusha.