November, 24 2018 ♥♥♥
Part 4 of our East African adventure continued from exploring Tarangire National Park, to milking cows in Ngornogoro Crater, to witnessing the great migration in the Serengeti, to finally shrugging off our muddy desert boots to slipping on our flip flops at the tropical oasis of Stone Town, Zanzibar.
Day 1: The magic of Stone Town
Stay: Zanzibar Serena Hotel
After a quick 2 hour flight from the desert in Serengeti, we found ourselves stepping off the plane and hit with a warm tropical breeze enveloping us with open arms. Welcome to Zanzibar it said!
The airport was small and easy to navigate. (Tip: If you have priority pass cards, they will escort you into a VIP lounge and handle all your paperwork, luggage, and get you a driver while you sip on a cocktail and immediately get into full on vacay mode).
Our driver set off on the 20-ish minute ride into Stone Town where we would be spending the first 2 nights on the island. Peering out the window, we saw women dressed with vibrant colorful hijab’s around their heads, men on scooters zipping along the road, and so many lush palm trees. The vibe was buzzy and so was I!
After we settled into the superbly located Zanzibar Serena Hotel, we explored the hotel grounds admiring the Moroccan interior design. Everywhere we turned there were embroidered pillows scattered on benches, rich dark tapestries hanging from walls, natural wood carvings placed on turkish style rugs. Outside on the terraces, a colonial feel took over- I just love that mix of Old English style and African vibes. In the background the sounds of prayer filled the air as an exotic soundtrack to the beginning of our island adventure.
Near the serene pool laid a white sand private beach with WARM ocean water. Can I repeat WARM?! A tropical rooftop bar overlooked the sea. Guests milled about with fun cocktails in hand wearing long breezy kaftans (well at least the women were). It was perfection. We ooohhh and ahhhed a bit and then took off into the 5 minute walk to the heart of Stone Town.
Stone Town itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Imagine faded grandeur and old world charm sprinkled on stone streets. We spent the afternoon getting lost in the narrow alleyways, visiting marketplaces, and browsing galleries.
Day 2: I Love Stone Town
Stay: Zanzibar Serena Hotel
Day 3: From Stone Town to Beach Town
Stay: La Gemma Del Est
For our last night in Zanzibar, we figured we should check out the beach scene that Zanzibar is so famous for. We tend to lean towards city/town exploring over beach life so that’s why we chose to do just 1 night on the beach. It was a nice balance to the lively high energy of Stone Town, and great for just one night. Otherwise, I’d go a little stir crazy :).
We stayed at La Gemma Del Est located on the northern-west tip of the island, about a 1.5 hour drive from Stone Town. The hotel was absolutely beautiful, and both the service and food were fantastic. It was an all-inclusive so the quality was good considering, but as with all of these large hotels, it lacks a bit of character and soul. But it was lovely to exprience the private beach access they had and we definitely enjoyed it!
Our one day of relaxing in the sun was just what we needed. By the next morning, we were ready for another adventure. As we drove through Stone Town one last time on the way to the airport, I said to Dave we will definitely be back here. It’s such a magical, and escapist kind of vibe there…truly SO special. Writing this has made me so nostalgic! I hope you all get a chance to go someday!
Next up…Nairobi, Kenya- here we come!