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What an Island!
I went to Zanzibar last year with the rest of my family where we stayed in the MAPENZI BEACH CLUB HOTEL (on the east coast) over Christmas. These 10 days spent in the sun where some of the most relaxeing and enjoyable of my life.
The landscape and scenery where awesome as well as peaceful. From the paradise blue and white beaches of the coast to the ragtag beauty of Stone town (the several hundred year old, Unesco World heritage city), there was a lot to explore and see. Don't miss the slave memorials and statues, the colonial house museum as well as the small streets and local shops (where you can put your price haggling skills to good use.) There are pretty much no western shops so don't expect to find your next Gucci bag there.
The resort itself was supposedly the best around the area (we got a lot of people from other hotels coming to ours for their massages, hehe) It contained beautifully natural and abstract decoration and architecture and the huts in which we stayed where comfortable and airy. The temperatures where idyllic with no need to wear more than two layers in the evenings. There where loads of opportunities for sports such as surfing, kite surfing, wakeboarding, sailing, snorkelling in the reefs (strongly recommended) football, beach ball etc. All manned by really friendly and competent staff from Italy
The Nightlife is more of an issue, I guess as the dominant religion being Muslim, you won't find many nightclubs or western style bars outside your resort. Indeed, most of the locals are farmers and artisans. It is better to stay within the networks of hotels for this.
The food was unbelievable. Just exquisite, every time. (again I am not aware of other the resorts' food) There where varied selections of fish, meat, vegetable, superb pineapples and other fruits which never failed to keep you wanting. This was different outside the resorts,where it wasn't as good. However the Zanzibarians have good food specialties within their nuts, spices, fish and fruit.
Getting around usually involved ordering a taxi from the resort, as there is pretty much no local transport. The roads are in ok condition considering the countryside, but it did take an hour to reach stone town from the east coast. (I strongly recommend you Google map the island as you will learn a lot about it.)
Finally I wish to highlight the peace of mind that this island brings to you within the resort. If you come from a western rich country you will be immersed in a completely different culture and way of living which will really give your mind and body a break. Bring a few good books and some money for a cocktail from the beach bar and you're set!
Status: New - This brand new edition Insight Guide features outstanding full-colour ... more
photography and detailed maps alongside comprehensive information on all major sights and attractions. The guide also includes detailed explorations of history and culture, along with practical tips on accommodation, dining, transport, currency and much more.