Myself and my flat mate Grace had both randomly been assigned some days off at the beginning of July and we thought it was time we tick off a destination that is not achievable on a layover to us. Researching into all options that were both flight time and flight load dependent and also within a two hour time zone from Dubai for our next duty requirement. We narrowed around five destinations down, and ended up deciding on Zanzibar in Tanzania.
Our sister airline flies directly to Zanzibar and is just a short five hour flight. With only a one hour time difference from Dubai it seemed like a perfect option for us for a three night stay.
Visa on arrival was $50 USD which we were quite shocked by, and after making our way through immigration and baggage collection we met our driver who took us up to our hotel in Nungwi around an hour and a half drive from Zanzibar airport. We opted for Nungwi as it is best for beaches and snorkelling, something that was most important to us from our trip.
After a very long drive through many villages on a dirt track that had numerous pot holes, ditches and obstacles we eventually made our way to our hotel in Nungwi after sunset.
Once we checked in, we went to the room to change and grabbed some dinner in the hotel. I went for the fish and prawn skewers and grace for the tropical Zanzibari curry and a couple of cocktails. I mean, we are on our “holidays” after all.
After a few hours we were ready for bed to make the most of our next day. Check out the mosquito net that surrounded our bed! It felt like a princess pad, I always wanted something like this as a child!
The next day we had decided we well and truly deserved a chill day. We’d been a bit flat out with flying recently and myself studying for exams on my days off and wanted nothing more than to just chill out, do nothing and soak up the sunshine.
Waking up at 9am we went to breakfast which was complimentary in the hotel. We ate an abundance of fruit and made to order eggs washed down with cappuccinos ready to start our day.
Grabbing a couple of sun loungers by the pool that looked out onto the Indian Ocean with its pristine white beaches and dreamy turquoise waters with an abundance of rock pools at low tide, it felt like the piece of paradise we had been searching for.
After an hour or so we wandered down onto the beach and bumped into a local guy who was telling us about the sea creatures that could be found on the beaches here and even managed to show us a few. The most impressive being the sea hare which squirts out a vivid deep purple ink to warn people it is near by, which we actually managed to see!
We also saw sea urchins, crabs, sea cucumbers, small fish and even a bright red starfish!!
Back to the pool for some quality R&R (rest and relaxation) before deciding what to have for lunch.
I went for the seafood pasta and Grace went for spinach and cheese crepe. The food was lovely, especially my seafood pasta which came with fresh squid, fish and prawns in a spicy arrabbiata sauce. I could have eaten it twice over and was sat feeling very content.
That evening we decided to head to the opposite of the island, but still in Nungwi to a place called Cholos. It was great for sunset at this side of the island and was also their “African Party” night. We took a taxi over and grabbed a table on the beach by the waters edge ready to watch the sun go down.
The sunset was so vibrant and amazing, Zanzibar really does have some amazing sunsets. Something we also witnessed on the journey from the airport to the hotel the day before.
We ordered food and drinks and chatted the evening away listening to the African music. One thing we loved about Zanzibar was that the evening temperature was SO perfect. Not too hot, not cold, completely desirable. It made the escape from the Dubai heat the perfect choice! A lovely evening, and we headed back to the hotel ready for bed as we had an early start the next day.
Up at 7am the next day, we had a snorkel excursion booked to an island Mnemba which was around a seven hour day. We signed our forms, grabbed our equipment and jumped into our wetsuits ready to set sail. We went with a company called Divine Dive and our snorkel guide Pieter from South Africa gave us a brief on the boat about what we were to expect that day.
It was around a forty five minute boat ride over to the island and it was a little choppy on the way over. When we plunged into the water, due to the choppy waves and the low tide visibility wasn’t brilliant so we swam further down the reef.
We saw much more fish further down of all different colours, shapes and sizes. I really love snorkelling so much, it’s one of my favourite activities on holiday. When I last went properly snorkelling in Oman, this is what made me purchase my own GoPro and I’m SO glad I did and was able to capture some of what I was able to see!
After a couple of different snorkel sessions around different areas of the reef, we were back on the boat filling up on fresh watermelon and mango and also some traditional doughnuts which after one bite, I immediately said this tastes like barbecue?? Grace also said the same thing and the tour guides thought this was hilarious and no one has ever said this before. But it was seriously ALL I could taste!
There was also a quick little downpour on our way back to Zanzibar and myself and Grace huddled under rain coats to try and keep warm, it suddenly went ever so chilly!
Back on dry land, we paid, said our thank you’s and goodbye’s and went back to the hotel for an afternoon of relaxation by the pool overlooking the ocean.
That evening we grabbed a late dinner in the hotel, before going back to our room to pack up ready to leave super early the next morning.
We were picked up at 5am ready to begin the long journey back to down south towards the airport for the flight back to Dubai. Accepted at the very last minute we got onto the plane and the Fly Dubai crew seriously went out of their way to look after us like one of their own. They really went above and beyond, so thank you so much for that Fly Dubai!
Zanzibar is a seriously amazing and naturally beautiful place. I’m so glad I finally got the chance to visit and with my best friend too. There is a lot to see and do, and it hasn’t been ruined or damaged by tourism. Food and drinks are cheap here but there are a couple of hidden fees like $50 for the visa and also taxes for the hotel at the end of your trip that we were not expecting and also transportation. We spent $130 getting to and from the hotel, so all these little costs added up on a trip we thought was gonna be a quick and cheap last minute get away. Albeit, we had an amazing three nights and I really really do want to visit again at some point!
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