Day 83: Wet Stone Town
It was raining again when we woke up and then we realised we didn’t think of breakfast on Zanzibar. It was close to 09:00 and we were getting hungry so we made a dash for the Zenji Cafe, where we stopped yesterday. For breakfast we ordered fish soup and samosas for 12 000 TZS, knowing that we won’t be able to eat breakfast in a restaurant every morning.
After breakfast we decided to go to the Darajani market. It was still raining a lot and at one point we literally walked ankle deep through a flooded alley. The only fixed structure of the market houses the meat and fish section, with the spices and vegetables under wooden structures with open pathways. Some paths were covered with tarpaulins, but most had holes or didn’t overlap correctly, which just created curtains of water every few meters.
We bought some bananas, spice, eggs, chipati, one carrot, one pepper and one tomato. We wanted to just take the same route back, but ended up in a differently alley and decided to go with it. We tried using Open Street Maps again, but with all the rain and the narrow alleys we couldn’t even make out which direction we were going as our location were jumping all over the place. We walked passed the same place a few times until we finally found a route that looked familiar. We got back to the flat at 12:00.
We stayed indoor, working and studying for a while. For lunch Caro made a chipati wrap with egg and the vegetables, but the kitchen didn’t have any pots or pans, so she boiled the eggs directly in the electric kettle. We also didn’t bring any salt or sauces, so after taking the first bite we decided that Hugo should at least go and buy some salt. He ran out in the rain and found a shop withing 500m and bought 500g of salt for 500 TZS.
Late in the afternoon the rain stopped again and we made a dash for Lukmaan. We ordered two smoothies and plain rice with red beans curry. The rice and curry (huge plate full) cost the same as one small smoothie, only 3000 TZS. We then went next door to Ma Shaa Allah Cafe (2nd on the Cheap Eats list) and ordered a Oreo Milkshake for 5000 TZS, well worth it.
We went back to the flat on the main road which was mostly lid and felt much safer and faster than last night.
Day 84: Prison island and shopping
We slept quite late. At 10:00 Caro started nagging Hugo to get out of bed as it wasn’t raining anymore. Hugo went for a cold shower ant finally at 10:40 we left the flat. Not even 200m later a giant wall of rain came down. We ran for cover. We first decided to rather go back to the flat and ran from building to building. The rain calmed a bit and then we decided to just put on our rain jackets and go to craft shops. We started walking and then withing a few minutes the rain stopped again and the sky started clearing. Soon we had to take off our jackets as it was getting too hot. At the Forodhani gardens someone tried to sell us a walking tour, but we saw most of the sites, and thus declined. He then offered to take us to prison island for $20 per person. We took his number a left. Soon after someone tried to sell us a Taxi ride to Nugwi for tomorrow, but also managed to get away.
We went to the Sasik shop, where Caro bought a cushion cover for our future cushion room (a room in our hypothetical house that will be full of cushions with different covers from all over the world).
We could see blue skies and thus started to really consider the idea of going to the island. TripAdvisor reviews were mixed between. “Amazing place with giant tortoises and beautiful snorkelling spots” and “Animal cruelty, don’t visit”. We got back to Forodhani where someone else approached us and also offered a prison island boat ride, again starting at $20 per person. We asked our host May, what the price should be over WhatsApp. She mentioned a much lower price, so we negotiated it down to 50 000 TZS for the both of us.
Hugo ran back to the flat to get our swimming clothes and snorkel gear, while Caro ordered lunch. By this time it was already so hot that Hugo was soaked in sweat when he got back few minutes later. Hugo paid the full amount in advanced and immediately wondered whether that was a good idea. We joked about being stuck on the island if the guy doesn’t wait for us.
The boat ride took about 30 minutes. The skipper dropped us at the pier and then set off. By the time we reached the beach the boat was almost out of sight already. What have we done? We decided to worry about it later.
We went to the Tortoise sanctuary which costs another $4 each. The tortoises are truly massive. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is apparently an endangered species, but the little enclosure had no shortage of them, perhaps too many for such a small area.
Later we went snorkelling on the one side, but only saw sand and then a big school of small silver fish, nothing special. We went back to the main beach and spotted our boat and skipper, he came back! He started pulling in the anchor and starting the engine. We tried to tell him we still wanted to swim and find better fish, but he just kept pointing somewhere away from the island. We got on the boat and was taken to a spot about 500m offshore. He anchored and told us to snorkel there. We put on our masks and got in the water. That moment when you put your head underwater is just indescribable. From the outside you just see the reflection of the water and then suddenly a whole different world alive with 100s of colourful fish, coral and plants when you look down.
On the return journey the sea was quite choppy with some waves splashing us. Back on shore we went to the flat for a shower before heading out again. From the flat we just started walking and talking through the alleys without really having a destination in mind. We definitely walked through alleys we haven’t been before and bought some cheap items from locals in small 1m x 1m ‘shops’. First sweet pastry things with coconut, ginger and sugar for 1000 TZS and then 6 warm freshly baked soft rolls for 600 TZS.
This set in motion a spending spree that quickly got out of hand, we eventually reached the Darajani market again and found all the other shops surrounding it. We bought the following items, where each new line is basically something from a different stall/shop (first number is the price in TZS):
1000 – Sweet pastries
4000 – Spice and baobab sweets
3000 – Mango tea and hibiscus
600 – 6 soft rolls
1000 – 2 sesame flat breads
500 – Date and sesame jelly
5000 – Cheese wedges (like Melrose)
2500 – Margarine
1500 – Tomato sauce
3000 – 25 Tea bags
3000 – Drinking Yogurt
1000 – 1 Avocado
1000 – 5 Tangerine
500 – 1 orange
500 – 10 small limes
2500 – ginger biscuits
Since we snacked so much and had lot’s of bread and toppings we decided to have dinner back at the flat. We got there without having to use the GPS, while still following new alleyways back. We basically just always alternated turning right and left.
We ate the sesame bread with cheese wedges and the date jelly for dinner, leaving the rest for breakfast or lunch tomorrow.
After dinner we sorted out photos and made two videos.