Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar

Off to the big city! We left Mikumi behind us and quickly noticed that the closer we got to Dar Es Salaam, the louder and the dirtier it got. From now on, we were supposed to wear long clothes, but it was of course also the area where it had been the hottest until now.

What we saw of Dar Es Salaam was honestly not that beautiful. That may have been because our hotel was not exactly in the centre of the city. But yes, that’s right, we stayed in a hotel for the first time on our trip!

After having checked into our room (!) for the night, we decided to explore the area around our hotel but quickly noticed there wasn’t a whole lot to see. I heard the city centre is actually not too bad, so I might just have to go back again one day.

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It was okay though, because we weren’t going to stay in Dar for very long anyway. The following morning, we were already off to Zanzibar! Another thing I had been really, really excited about. It was actually one of the reasons I picked this organised tour over others, because it included a trip to this wonderful island off the coast of Dar Es Salaam.

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We arrived in Stone Town after about two hours on the ferry and immediately had lunch. After this first meal on the island, I was so excited about all the food we’d be eating over the next few days. It was a perfect mixture of all different kinds of spices on fresh ingredients. And lots of seafood. The spices especially did the trick to me.

And so like probably everyone else that visits the island, we did the “mandatory” spice tour. Zanzibar is known for growing all kinds of beautiful spices, so the tour was definitely amazing, and so interesting to everyone who is – like me – a real big foodie and enjoys cooking.

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I am always amazed by places in which you can actually grow wonderful plants like cacao (below – this cacao is not close to being ripe yet but I thought it looked pretty amazing anyway). If you are from a colder place like me, you will understand what I mean. Zanzibar is so rich in wonderful plants.

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vanilla beans still growing

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Everyone that has been on a spice tour in Zanzibar will know what will come next… the coconut man! He climbs a palm tree with nothing but a rope around his bare feet and will pick some fresh, young coconuts for everyone.

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You get to drink it before you eat it. I’ve never had a fresh coconut before so I was definitely amazed. The bottled coconut water I can buy at home doesn’t taste nice at all compared to this. Also: note the green bracelet I’m wearing… some of the guys there made bracelets, necklaces and rings out of banana leaves and gave them to us to wear during our tour.

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After a few tastings of some local fruit (the first time I ever tried jackfruit and instantly fell in love with it), we kept driving further north until we had reached our accommodation for the night in Nungwi. Oh my, I cannot even begin to tell you how beautiful it was. And I’m not just saying that because I had been camping for days…

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This was the view from our room, so ridiculously nice. The hotel was right at the beach, a beach with sand so white, it even made me look tan. The water was so clear and warm and everything about it was just incredible. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be right there, right then.

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The hotel we stayed at had a bar overlooking the beach and this was our daily view during happy hour. This view and super cheap cocktails? A happy hour indeed! This was definitely a promise of more nice days to come.

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