You can’t go to Zanzibar without going on a Zanzibar spice tour like we did during our final days spent on the beautiful island. Spices, in particular cloves, account for nearly half of Zanzibar’s GDP. The island has a number of thriving designated spice plantations definitely worth visiting. Lady Lynne and I were lucky enough to visit here in December as part of our continuing trip of a lifetime.
Welcome to part 4 of our African adventures – Zanzibar spice tour and final days.
BTW. You might want to check out the previous posts first:-
just to bring you up to date with where we are before you continue to read below.
Well, we weren’t to know that the day we’d booked for our Zanzibar spice tour and visit to Stone Town was the day that a tropical storm would choose to unleash itself. But, I suppose it was only one day out of our entire 8 days holiday in Zanzibar, all of which had so far been hot and sunny, so it’s best to be thankful for these things.
But why oh why did it have to be that particular day?
So, back to Tuesday 15th December and we made our way to reception for the our taxi pick up at 07.50. It was a little wet underfoot, from a night of light rain, but nothing in the sky to give us a clue as to what was to come. It was only once we were in the taxi, and on our way, that nature began to unleash it’s heavy tropical storm which then proceeded to go on all day!
Arriving at the spice tour (we were the only ones there due to the weather) we huddled under an umbrella as we were taken around the plantation and shown all of the spices and exotic fruits that are cultivated and exported from Zanzibar. Above you can see Nutmeg seed in it’s pod.
Just look at the river of water flowing past us too! We had to dodge these rivers as they formed, flowed and filled up the trenches around the growing crops. It’s also worthwhile noting the temperature drop from it’s usual 30 odd Degrees to 22 that day. And we felt it!
Anyway, being from the Northern Hemisphere there were just so many plants that we had never seen or even got close to in their original state before. We normally just see fruits like pineapples on our supermarket shelves so plants like that totally fascinated us.
Fresh Coconuts. Wow! We’d never had a coconut so fresh before. A guide actually climbed up a palm tree for us (the main image at the top of this post) retrieved a coconut, cut the top off and let us taste the sweet nectar that came from within the shell as well as the fresh coconut itself. I’d never tasted anything quite like it!
By this point the socks and shoes I’d worn (thinking I was sensible) had been swapped for a pair of flip flops I’d had to hire from one of the plantation guides. Let me tell you that walking in those flip flops, having accidentally sun burnt my feet a few days earlier was extremely
tricky painful! 😮
Do we look wet? We were!
Lady Lynne made me post this photograph. She said it was “funny”. I’m never sure of putting photographs of me up. Lynne’s so much more photogenic.
But anyway what do you think of the cool hats that the plantation guides made for us? 🙂
I could have sold them easily as “rain hats” back in Glasgow if they wouldn’t have rotted by then!
Above is our Zanzibar spice tour hoard.
Now here’s a challenge for you!
See if you can match the names of the spices and exotic fruits in this list below to the actual spices in the picture above:-
- Cinnamon (there’s two!)
- Red pepper
- Black pepper
- Lemon grass
- Vanilla pod
- Green orange
- Star fruit
- Flower cotton
I wish I could have flown all of these home with us, exactly as they are in the picture, to show everyone and to let them experience the smelling, touching and tasting part of the Zanzibar spice tour.
Despite the wet we absolutely loved the Zanzibar spice tour. It was absolutely brilliant and a “must” for your to-do list if you ever go there.
I did manage to bring home a selection of dried spices for neilshealthymeals cooking purposes! Some cinnamon sticks, cloves and ginger, which I’ve already been using in plenty of recipes!
While the Zanzibar spice tour was fantastic. Despite the rain, it had JUST been possible to do it.
Unfortunately not so with what was to be our afternoon touring around the world heritage site of Stone Town.
Stone Town is the old and historic part of Zanzibar City. It’s the soul. It’s filled with beautiful churches of all religions, cobbled streets and a mixture of buildings built from the Arabic, Indian and European influences that have taken place in Zanzibar over the centuries.
As you can imagine Stone town has lots stunning achitecture to view. This is of course when you can look up, without getting soaked in the process.
Try though, we did to navigate around the narrow, ancient and historical streets, with our poor guide trying desperately to keep us enthusiastic, and dry, under the one umbrella.
Above I managed to capture the Anglican Cathedral Christ Church Zanzibar. But unfortunately that’s all the photographs from Stone Town I could get. I had to protect my precious camera from the ongoing deluge.
I felt guilty
walking wading past shopkeepers standing in their doorways trying to entice us in to show their wares. But we just wanted to get back to hotel to get dry!
Stone town would have to wait until another time. And possibly another visit?
Of course, no sooner had we returned to our accommodation (pictured above – we were in the lower part) at the Hideaway of Nungwi, the rain went off and the sun came back out again!!
Our final days here were spent with a routine of going to the gym at 07:00, breakfast, lounging by the pool, cocktails, lunch, lounging by the pool, cocktails, get dressed for dinner, dinner and repeat. Not a bad life really.
Even though we were this close to the beautiful blue sea and golden beaches, as it was pretty hot for us, it was easier to spend time by the pool
where the bar was as it was nearer.
I also get easily annoyed by beach sellers hassling you to buy stuff you don’t need so I tend not to go near beaches when on holiday. I mean I know they’re just trying to earn a living and they’re mostly pretty decent people, but I just cant abide those pushy ones who won’t take a “no”.
Such beautiful sunsets, the picture pretty much says it all!
This was the view in the early evening as we walked the short distance from our accommodation to where food was served. Heading for another stuffing of goat curry, or maybe fresh grilled fish, or maybe just a huge plate of fresh fruit and salad. Almost always finished with a home-made pistachio ice cream!
When we flew back from Zanzibar to Nairobi to catch our home flight connection we were 2 of only 4 passengers on board. How likely is that? Was it because it was another 0200 awakening and 0530 flight? Too early for the chilled out citizens of Zanzibar perhaps?
I thought this one final photograph, was rather appropriate seeing as we started with an airplane photograph in part 1, albeit that shot was a good deal wetter!
Plus it was a really nice surprise seeing Kilimanjaro from the airplane. How stunning is that? And I said to Lady Lynne “we really must look into climbing that”.
It’s since been added to the bucket list. 🙂
Lady Lynne and I love sharing our holidays with you. This was more than just any holiday, as I mentioned several times it was a “holiday of a lifetime”. Judging by the comments on these 4 posts you guys enjoyed these. Thanks for your positive contributions and taking the time to read and comment. You make it all worthwhile, so much so we’ve decided to plan something fantastic for 2017. We’re already saving hard. I’ll update you in February as to where exactly that is and we’re going to.
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And thanks Amanda for our usual Thursday thinking out loud blog post sharing opportunity!
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