Smita’s grand trip to Tanzania this January began in Zanzibar.
Welcome to Zanzibar
Excitement building up! We are off to Tanzania and this time I am accompanied by my husband (who is experiencing Africa for the first time J). After a shopping spree at Decathalon for all our safari gear, we are all set for our epic calving safari.
After a not very eventful flight (which is good) we arrive in Zanzibar. My first sight of Zanzibar is its very cute and quaint airport. Of course, before you land you see miles and miles of the Indian Ocean and pristine beaches. On arrival, we were met by our very informative and friendly guide.
Stone Town: Steeped in Culture
On our itinerary was a stop at Stone Town, a small and vibrant town steeped in culture. Narrow cobbled lanes, beautiful homes and lodges with a very Arabic influence, ornate doors and windows. Something about the place is intriguing. Zanzibar is also known as the “Spice Island” and you can almost smell the cloves, vanilla, nutmeg – or maybe it was just my vivid imagination? This is where Freddie Mercury was born, and naturally we went to the café named after him as well as some other sights. Our patient guide finally had to drag us away as we had to reach our destination before it got dark.
Heading Towards Matemwe Beach
We got back into our vehicle and our guide drove us to Matemwe beach. The roads are very well laid out. You see lots of banana and palm trees. Women sitting on the pavements selling fruits, vegetables and knick-knack. Our guide gave us a comprehensive overview of the island – from politics to commerce to education, health and more. We drove through a small village as well….school had just given over and we saw lots of children streaming out, running, playing. Hens clucking, sand and dust all around. People here are very gaily dressed with big cheerful smiles.
Finally we arrive at Matemwe Retreat (an Asilia Africa property). Matemwe has 3 different kinds of accommodations – Matemwe Main Lodge, Matemwe Retreat (these are uber fancy private villas with aircons) and Matemwe Beach House (this is an independent villa for families). Matemwe is a very exclusive remote beach to the North West of Stone Town. We spent two very relaxing days here. There is a lot to do in terms of snorkelling, scuba diving, walking the reef, kayaking, village visit etc.
The Retreat itself is magnificent – luxuriously appointed villas with your private butler, well-stocked fridge. You can let the lodge know your preference in tipple and they stock it for you. We had our meals in the retreat itself. The chef would come and ask us what we would like to eat. This is perfect for honeymooners and romantics at heart!
Smita continues her journey into the heart of Tanzania: Tarangire National Park and Manyara National Park. Read more here »