During our stay in Zanzibar Island in November 2019 , besides Stone Island and the history of the island , the most impressive part of the journey were the natural wonders that came across our roads to me – whether it were the natural beauties that we experienced at the coastlines or on the shores – all were so interesting and partly also very unique experiences which I would like to share some of them here .
One of the beauties of Zanzibar for sure were the awesome, wide , fine , white natural sand banks of the island – I think I have never seen such nice sand beaches wherever I have been so far . You have kilometers of long , untouched beaches , no hotel chains – very clean and very natural since the tide is going in and out – no plastic !
All the views that we had while sailing around were phenomenal – the harmony of the colors was spectacular. So were also the little kids sometimes playing around and smiling at us.
We took many opportunities to take a traditional Zanzibar boat made of Mahagoni wood , very robust and comfortable – so called Dhows – to sail to different locations around .
It is as if you are in wonderland when you see e.g. the Kwale sandbank at the horizon , a sand dune in mid of the ocean- sparkling in its white color in the sun – the sand is so fine and so soft .We anchored here and enjoyed the special moments in mid of the ocean – fishes around – what a joy .
The color of the sky was dark blue and rain was falling during our trip – big drops , but warm .
You don’t feel cold as the temperature is warm , around 28-29 degrees celsius although it is a little windy . It is interesting how fast you adapt yourself to the environment . A swim short or a bath suit , a T-shirt and flip flops is all what you need .
On the sand bank the currents and the waves are moving from all sides and the island is becoming slightly bigger due to the tide.
In the moment when we raise our heads to the sky we recognize a rainbow which is lying in the clouds – it looks beautiful .
When sailing a little further we arrive at Kwale İsland and at its back part there is a hidden ,quiet, green huge lagoon .
It is open to the seaside but somehow it is like a lake – very calm and somehow it looks like a lost paradise – it is fringed with coral stones and a nice dark green vegetation .
The natural color play of the blue sky and ocean , the green of the plants and the lagoon and the white clouds as well as the reef stones is gorgeous .
Swimming here is like swimming in Eden ‘s Garden – inexpressively . You just need to be super careful as the coral stones , the reefs are super sharp and it is very easy to get hurt .
Another wonderful location at the coastline was Mnemba Island at the north coast of the Zanzibar. Today it is a private island owned by Bill Gates where we were just anchoring our dhow in front of its coastline.
I think I have never seen such a beautiful blue color of the ocean .The ground of the ocean is very clean, fine and white . Beautiful colorful fıshes in blue- yellow and black- white are swimming around . There are some coral reefs where there is some vivid sea life that you can see down there .
There are fishes , sponges , sea urchins , sea eggplants ( I have never seen a sea eggplant before and I was just surprised by its appearance ).
Normally there are also dolphins and whales in these waters close by but unfortunately no chance for us to see any of those.
During our boattrips our friends are always preparing a basket of coconuts or some other fruit for refreshment . They sing their local songs and are always happily smiling .Their white teeth are blinking in their friendly dark faces and their colored clothing is sparkling in the sun .We pass by lots of small , uninhabited islands here and there – each of them little beautiful paradises .
Another great location that you could also visit and which is a good place for some lunch or dinner is definitely the Rock Restaurant on Zanzibar İsland .
The view on the rock is nice , the pasta dishes with seafood are great and what is awesome are the sweets – Coconut Tiramisu which is served in a coconut shell or passion fruit cheesecake – sounds good , right ?
On the other hand there are also other gems on the island , not just at the seaside but also on the countryside such as the Jozani National Park, the only national park of Zanzibar.
Jozani is an extraordinary mix of mangrove forests, tropical forests, coral rug forests , groundwater forests and salt marsh areas. It was assigned 2016 as a UNESCO World Heritage due to this nature . It is about 50 km2 huge and a very special place on earth . Due to the permanent rain , the forest is always wet .
Zanzibar was under water hundreds of thousands years ago and later on it became an island when the ocean water retreated – the paths that we were walking on in the rain forest were in ancient times a part of the ocean . That is why you see coral stones everywhere surrounded by plants and leaves.
The point that is incredible is that sea life is still ongoing in the rain forest – so it is normal that you can see crabs , shrimps , mussels, seashells – far away from the coastline and living here in the waters of the jungle — it is unbelievable !
Who knows what you can all observe if you have a little more time since the rain forest is bearing so many species – most of them are more active in the night and are very shy and hiding from human beings.
There are wild pigs , monkeys , snakes , birds , butterflies ,slugs , Pemba flying foxes , lizards , geckos , turtles , crabs, pythons , bush babies , hyrax, dik diks ( small type of gazelle ) everywhere .
The red Colobus Monkey is the endemic species of the island that is only living on Zanzibar Island .
They are living in family types of social groups and moving through the forest – once the dominant monkey is jumping into a certain direction , the whole family follows one after the other.
In Jozani there are also people living – 9 little villages are part of the National Park . Local people live here and help to keep up the national park .
After we are leaving the part where the Red Colobus Monkeys are living we enter a different area of Jozani which is the mangrove forest..
Also this area is very interesting . I have earlier seen few mangrove forests in different parts of the world – e.g in Cuba , in Australia. The mangrove here is located very close to the coastline and is living with the saltwater reserves.
We walk through the mangroves which are brown and black colored in the rain. There is nobody else then us around and somehow the forest looks very dark and creepy – like a film scenery .
These are just few impressions of the island and it is so difficult to describe what you see there since every inch that you see is a story , a picture , a feeling or a new experience – so many things to absorbe and to understand .
What I am just happy about is that the island could keep so far its purity and beauty and is not overrun by tourists .
I do hope that the local people appreciate, protect and make the right use of these gems of what they call their home and do not loose their purity and nature to industry or mass tourism.
We were overwhelmed by the nice moments we spent in this part of the world , to make friends and hopefully come back one day to find all this in the same way – safeguarded and undamaged as it is today .