Zanzibar was only a dream
Traveling to Zanzibar, wasn’t even a thought when I first started talking to Heinie and the only reason for me doing that was to prove a point. A mutual friend told me he thought I was stuck up, and I wanted to prove him wrong. I carefully walked over to Heinie and introduced myself to him. The facial expression was priceless, he was shocked. The women he thought would never even greet him, came over to him and introduced herself to him.
It started out as friendship, two friends supporting one another through difficult times and then months later traveling companions.
Heinie was living in Cape Town, and I was living in Johannesburg at the time. I never thought we would end up together. We both took a big chance when we decided to travel together. Thinking we were going as friends. It is all about taking chances in life, then we did!
After three months of chatting, we casually started talking about travel, and we spoke about places we had traveled to. I mentioned Zanzibar and the fact that I would love to go, but didn’t want to travel all by myself. Heinie calmly said he would go with me, and asked: “when we were going?”. The next day, I contacted the travel agent, received the quotes and sent them on. Never thought he was serious. A week later, the trip was booked and paid for.
The day we left
The day arrived. Heinie was flying up from Cape Town and I was extremely nervous. My good friend Marthie, kept on telling me to relax and that everything would be fine. This was the day before we were leaving for Zanzibar.
I arrived at the airport, very excited and at the same time extremely nervous. Deep down I knew this will be more than friendship. With two tickets to Foo Fighters, and we decided this would actually be our first date. It ended up being an unforgettable night for the both of us.
The following day, we headed off to the airport and started our first adventure together.
Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania then a small airplane to Zanzibar. Be prepared, the airport it is not big, and very primitive. I didn’t expect the airport to be fantastic, as I have traveled to many African countries before, but for Heinie it was an eyeopener. Remember the hand sanitiser ;-).
We arrived at our Hotel, Amaan Bungalows, on the North of Zanzibar. This was a 3* hotel and we were not sure what to expect. Room was small, but we didn’t spend much time in the rooms anyway, we were out exploring most of the time. The hotel was right on the beach, and the view was phenomenal. Especially at sunset. Meals were very expensive, as well as the drinks. We enjoyed having cocktails at happy hour, as they were on special during that time.
One evening we discovered a little cocktail bar, not too far from Amaan, which we enjoyed having sundowners, while the watching the sunset.
While the sea is very calm and turquoise, one cannot just go an snorkel on the beachfront, one had to book an excursion to go and experience the underwater life of Zanzibar. One of the things I didn’t like.
The first excursion we booked in Zanzibar, was the Safari Blue. Operating from Fumba village, we were taken out to sea on a wooden dhow. Our first adventure together.
We were very fortunate to have dolphins swimming alongside us, as the dhow made it’s way to our destination. On the way, we had a guided snorkeling tour. The underwater life was breathtaking. We had so much fun. I constantly struggled with my snorkel, as I almost drowned myself. I have not done much snorkeling, and it took time to get used to.
Next stop was at a mangrove lagoon, where we were able to swim and enjoy the water. It was very quiet, and the water was crystal clear. Very eery in fact, but beautiful and peaceful. Something everyone should experience. After the mangrove, we headed to a beach where the team made us delicious Swahili seafood braai followed by a tropical fruit tasting. They completed the lunch with singing and dancing and we could buy some Zanzibar keepsakes from a couple of market stalls on the beach. This trip was definitely worth every cent spent.
Spice Route and Stone Town
Early in the 1900’s Zanzibar was East Africa’s slave trade hub. Visiting the town, gave me goosebumps, especially entering the slave museum. The rooms were very dark and extremely small. I developed tears in my eyes, just thinking of how they kept the people that were traded as slaves.
The Town streets are very narrow, and the architecture very distinctive of Arabic. Each Door uniquely carved and each one different, relating either Indian or Arabic descent. Unique little shops, homes, and restaurants.
The meat and fish market was not my favourite time of this excursion, definitely not for those with a weak stomach. The smell is very overwhelming. The tour guide had to make is way out there very quickly, as I couldn’t take the smell. The little shops have very interesting artifacts and the locals (predominately Massai) are very friendly and inviting, to try and sell you their merchandise. The one local even explained how a shark tooth is a good symbol for a strong Man, pointing at Heinie. With Heinie being so tall, taller than the local, he gained their respect.
After the Stone Town tour, it was actually quite refreshing to go on the Spice Route. The smell of all the different aromas in the air. Zanzibar is renowned for turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, chilies, nutmeg, black pepper, coffee, and vanilla. We even had the opportunity to interact with the locals, and Heinie and I were crowned King and Queen, with their woven art of leaves. They do expect a tip for their gift, and it is entirely up to you if you want to give something for their hard work, as well as the amount. We were also taken through their creation of perfumes and locally made soaps.
The day ended with our Guide taking us back to the Hotel. We were exhausted after the long day.
The weather is very humid, and all you want to do is to be in the water. The sea is warm, and quite enjoyable, especially if you don’t like cold water. We closed off the afternoon with a sundowner and a swim.
Our time together made us want to spend even more time together, and we dreaded being apart as we realised that it is almost time to go home. We didn’t know what would happen to our relationship, once we were back home. The two of us being so far away from one another made us heartbroken. We both admitted, that we definitely wanted our relationship to develop into something more. We had grown quite fond of one another, I would say we fell in love.
I wouldn’t say, a long distance relationship was easy, but it definitely made our love for one another stronger. A year later, I moved down to Cape Town, and today we are engaged.
If I never took that chance and introduced myself to Heinie, we would never have started talking. It was also done without expectations. From an article Christine Hassler “When you have no expectations, you have no disappointments and you open yourself to the realm of infinite possibility, where happiness and abundance simply fall into your lap.”