Despite the many attractions of Stone town, the main drawcard on Zanzibar is undoubtedly the beautiful beaches and warm seas. Situated on the northern tip, Nungwi is a laid back oasis of lazy days and tropical delights. It is the major dhow-building centre on Zanzibar and the local men can often be seen hard at work on their boats. Nearby, Mnemba Atoll has an abundance of marine life and astounding turquoise waters. Even if you’re not a scuba diver, a day’s snorkelling trip here is a must.
But the east coast of the island has the best beaches, with endless stretches of white sand and palm-fringed shores. The mini bus taxi fetches me at 8am sharp for the journey out to Jambiani. On the way, we pass through the Jozani Forest where the red colobus monkey lives.
Jambiani is a picturesque beach several kilometres long. Coconut palms sway in the gentle breeze, overlooking a tranquil translucent sea. The village is home to 7000 people, most of whom are fishermen or farmers who cultivate cassava, maize, tomatoes and bananas. After a dhow trip out for a snorkel on the reef, I amble through the village where small smiling children rush to greet me with a friendly chorus of “jambo”.
The next few days pass quickly in a pleasurable haze of stunning sunrises, bicycle rides, afternoon siestas and delectable seafood. All too soon, it’s time to leave. But the Zanzibar bug has bit me hard. As my aeroplane ascends over the blue Indian Ocean, I’m already making plans to come back.
Copyright © 2004 Jeremy Jowell. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of the author is prohibited.