Hi I’m Gaby or Malaika

Gaby Dec 2012

Sounds like an intro at an AA meeting 🙂 But no, I am not an alcoholic. I do have though a let’s say infatuation, which is Zanzibar!

Born in Germany many moons ago, I emigrated to South Africa in the 80s and found my final destination in Zanzibar. After several holidays I moved here permanently in 2011. I am truly blessed to live on my little dream island and am enjoying every minute!

Yes, Zanzibar has the most beautiful powdery white sand beaches lined with coconut trees and the ever warm Indian Ocean with gentle waves (especially the east coast of Zanzibar is protected by a coral reef that keeps the big waves out and also sharks and any other undesirables). But the Zanzibaris make this island so very special: Zanzibaris smile with their eyes, genuinely, and welcome us foreigners with open arms and a hearty “Jambo” to their home – Zanzibar.

A while back I started a facebook page “Zanzibar Insider Buzz” with info, specials etc on Zanzibar, mainly for my friends and associates all over the world.  It became very popular and I got so many requests for information that is not easily found on the usual (commercial) websites. I then began to write a document covering all sorts of topics on Zanzibar.  That document very quickly became too big and I had to find another portal.

That’s how this website was born. This is information on the island from my perspective, based on my knowledge and experiences made as a Zanzibar resident. I am humbled and excited that this blog was already viewed over 65,000  times since I published it in November 2014. This is obviously work in progress. Any questions about anything I haven’t covered yet are most welcome.

For current specials that I know of please visit my facebook page “Zanzibar Insider Buzz”.

Happy reading and enjoy exploring Zanzibar.
Sunny greetings and Karibu sana!

contact: zanzibargaby@gmail.com

This short video was sent to me by Matthias who spent a week on the island in April 2016. Thank you Matthias. Enjoy! https://youtu.be/nKKqEnejVGw

michamvi-robinson-crusoe-beach1.jpg

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51 thoughts on “Hi I’m Gaby or Malaika

  1. Greetings again ..
    Please can you tell me – is the flying horse ferry ( Dar – Zanzibar route ) ok ? I’ve read that it’s much cheaper but takes longer , and to avoid the overnight route Zanzibar to Dar …

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  2. Hi
    I’m visiting zanzibar for the first time
    Can you recommend a reliable car rental
    Is there anything important to know about driving in zanzibar the net is full of remarks and I’m not sure what us really true.
    What is your opinion of the sea cliff resort ?
    Can you give me the name of a website that can give helpful tips on where to party and which beaches are for young couples
    Thank you so much

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    • Hi Rachel,
      Car rental: http://www.kibabucars.com
      Driving on zanzibar: pls read page “driving/getting around” of my blog
      Heard very good things about Seacliff, haven’t been there myself though.
      No clue about website re party spots etc. There is a full moon party at Kendwa Rocks in the North of Zanzibar.
      Cheers

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  3. hi gaby im coming in august with my 2 children ,were staying mainly in jambiani possibly coral rock , casa del mar , ndame then on to kinwenga zan view hotel the to nungwi at amaan bungalows, all in all it is quite abit more money than I can really afford but just working my ass of to make sure I get there my budget is really about £800-£1000 for 2 adults and 1 child aged 11 we would like nice beaches and somewhere we can go walking distance ie resturants and somewhere to chill and have a nice cold beer my sons birthday is on the 19 august when were there so need somewhere nice for him then my girl who is really highpo…. I kow aall the beaches are nice but could you recommend your best , we want to try all the fruits anything natural thanks kev

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    • Hi Kev,

      I’m not quite sure what your question is since you apparently already know where you will stay. As I wrote in my blog, in my opinion, the south east coast has the best beaches. Swimming in the ocean is only possible at high tide so you might want to look for a place with a pool (this applies to the east, south and west coast of Zanzibar). The north coast (Kendwa/Nungwi) is very touristy – and rather expensive – since you can swim in the ocean all day.
      At the south east coast, my personal favourite and insider “secret” is Mustapha’s Place in Bwejuu. They are about 20 steps from the beach, have beautiful rooms individually designed with en-suite bathroom or shared bnathroom (depending on your budget) and also offer family rooms. Look them up on http://www.mustaphasplace.com They also serve typically Swahili (delicious!) food and have a big pool for the time swimming is not possible in the ocean. There are also other restaurants in walking distance. Mustapha’s is about a 15 min. walk away from Paje. But have MUCH more affordable rates than any other places.
      Hope this helps.
      Cheers
      Gaby

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      • hi gaby thanks for your reply , just another mention about malaria , friends of mine have already visited zanz and never had any jabs etc for malaria and came back fine , also you mentioned there has been no reported cases for a few years, in your opinion is this due to people taking the precautions or just that its not such a high risk area anymore , myself I don’t like taking any medication especially with the side affects in mind, thanks kev

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      • Hi Kev,
        I guess the efforts of the government did the job. They distributed specially treated mosquito nets to all households and send regularly teams to spray all houses indoors. I also heard that some years ago there were planes spraying wide areas of Zanzibar against Mosquitos. There were no reports of new Malaria cases for many years. I live here now for 5 years and don’t take any Malaria prophylaxis (although Mosquitos love me). Zanzibar is no high risk area for Malaria.
        Cheers
        Gaby

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  4. Hello
    Thank you for all the information on your blog.
    We are an Australian family travelling to Tanzania over December/Jan. It will be our children’s first trip to the country where their father was born. We will only have 3 nights in Zanzibar and I have already made a note of your recommendations regarding ferry, south east coast, car hire and contacted Mustapha’s Place! Given our short time and 3 children(aged 15,12, 7 who love the beach) I’m thinking that our best plan is to hire a car and driver for a day or 2 half days. What would be your top 3 recommendations of all the great places you suggest?

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    • Hello from Zanzibar,
      Great to hear you are going to visit our beautiful island. 3 days is a very short time for the island.
      First and foremost, you of course need to go snorkelling (which the staff of Mustaphas can arrange for you).
      You should visit Jozani Forest, which is a 20 min drive from Mustaphas/Bwejuu. Besides the Red Colubus Monkeys (who live freely in the forest, not in cages!) you will see the mangroves and if you are lucky, the huge crabs. If you are into butterflies, you can also visit the butterfly farm which is a 10 min drive from Jozani Forest.
      I also recommend a visit to the spice farm as a must do, although that means you have to travel to Stone Town (about 1 hour drive from Bwejuu) – you can combine it with a guided walking tour through Stone Town.
      You might also want to have a sunset barbeque at the beach of Michamvi, which is a peninsula 20 km north of Bwejuu. From the west facing side of the peninsula you can watch one of our glorious sunsets. Mambo Poa Tours in Jambiani organizes the barbeque, also “tours off the beaten track” (especially interesting for your kids). Check out http://www.mambopoatours-zanzibar.com
      Hope this helps.
      Cheers

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  5. thanks for reply ,all the bloomin doctors here in uk say its high risk so my ex says, as I don’t trust them, drug pushers at best, what id like to ask is do you have any credible links with info regarding this subject that I can show my ex which could hopefully stop her insisting that the kids take malaria pharmaceutical’s, if not no worries ill do my best to find as much out as poss but if you do that would be great thanks kev

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    • Hi, I unfortunately don’t have any “credible” links (besides the fact that I live here for many years). I do understand though the your kids’ mother’s insistance for proof, better safe than sorry. You might want to look up “Artemisia” which is a herbal Malaria prophylaxis and treatment which is supported by the WHO. It surely is more suitable for your children compared to the chemical substances. You can google “Artemisia” and you’ll find a pdf file “WHO Position Statement on Effectiveness of Non-Pharmaceutical Forms of Artemisia annua L against malaria – World Health Organization”. I took Artemisia as a Malaria prophylaxis on my first few trips to Zanzibar and had no problems or side effects. Hope this helps.
      Sunny greetings, Gaby

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  6. Hi Gaby,
    I am so happy I found your website, it’s filled with very useful information! We are a family of 4 visiting from Southern California – kids are 13 and 11 . We are going to be visiting Zanzibar for 4 days after our Safari. We for sure want to check out Stone Town – would a day and a half be enough here? We are a beach family and love the water -for the beach part of our trip which area would you recommend? Thank you, Tonya

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    • Hi Tonya,
      Great to hear you find my website helpful.
      Since you are only here for 4 days, I suggest that you spend one day in Stone Town. That will be enough to do the historical walking tour and a visit of prison island or a trip to a spice farm.
      In my opinion, the south east coast is the best on Zanzibar. It’s not as touristy as the north coast (Nungwi and Kendwa). If your kids want to do sports activities, Paje is the best choice. If you don’t mind to walk about 3 km on the beach to Paje, stay at Bwejuu. It’s much cheaper than Paje. My insider secret choice of accommodation is Mustapha’s Place in Bwejuu.
      Hope this helps.
      Cheers
      Gaby

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  7. Hi Gaby, jambo jambo . Thank you for a most useful guide to Zanzibar. My wife and I visited in June and used your info extensively. We stayed at Uroa Bay Beach resort and found it most pleasant. I think the most important thing one can do is to hire a vehicle as travel costs are high. We thought of using dala dala’s but the hire option was not expensive and much better .We drove around five hundred km in a week and we saw many of the places you recommended. The roads were as a rule unmarked and town traffic is not for the timid but using google maps made navigation easy. Our only problem was in the north near Nungwe where a policeman at a checkpoint tried a bribe but we took his name and number and he soon backed down. All the other police were polite and helpful . Mmm just one bad apple. Our stay was during Ramadan so many small businesses in the city were closed but this was not a problem as some were open and we could have lunch and shop with no difficulty. Keep up the good work . Asante.

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    • Hatujambo. Mambo vipi?
      Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated. Glad to hear that my info on Zanzibar helped you to make the most of your stay on our beautiful island. The police stops at Nungwi/Kendwa are the last ones on the island that still refuse to accept that corruption is illegal here. Hope and wish this stops soon. You did very well by taking his name and ID number, the cops know exactly that if they are reported they will lose their jobs.
      Have a super day. Karibu sana. Gaby

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  8. Hi Zanzibar-Gaby
    I’am from Germany, too 🙂 We’ll visit Zanazibar in September and I also be very happy for finding your website/Blog. Very useful information. Thank you so much.
    After readinfg of all these we are looking forward to zanzibar even more than before 🙂

    Perhaps we’ll meet.

    Wish you all the best & kind regards from Germany
    Tina

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  9. Hi Gaby,
    thank God I accidentally found your blog. I’ve read it thoroughly, and I must congratulate you, this is the most informative website about Zanzibar.
    I had an entire list of questions which I was about to ask on Tripadvisor previous travelers, but now having your blog read there are very few left.
    We bought our tickets and will be on the island 7 days, 7th to 15th Feb 2017. We distributed them on 2 days in Stone town (Al-Minar), 2 days in Nungwi (still looking) and 3 days at Mustapha’s (thanx for this hidden gem). Also booking a car with Kibabu (thanx again). Question left:
    1) Can we bring into Zanzibar alcoholic spirit (1 bottle) bought at the duty free from our departure airport?
    2) Is it a good idea when having a car to stock with beer and water in Stone town for the coastal stay? Is beer sold at the supermarkets or we must find a liquer store?
    3) Can you tell any name of the spice farm? When we leave Stone town we’ll be heading north to Nungwe. You said they’re 20 km that way, are there any signposts and how can I find it (self driving)?
    4) Any suggestion on Nungwe hotel like Mustapha’s?
    Thank you again for your blog. I will point it out on Tripadvisor where I write a lot, to help others. It deserves much more attention. Asante Gaby.

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    • Hi, thank you so much, glad my webpage helps. Herewith answers to your questions:
      1) As much as I know, you can bring alcohol with in your suitcase
      2) Water you can buy anywhere on the island. Beer is only sold at liquor/bottle stores in crates (you need to pay deposit for the crate). Otherwise, rather buy your beer at a restaurant/hotel anywhere on the island.
      3) There are quite a few spice farms. Best is if you ask at Al Minar for directions, or ask Kibabu of Kibabu Cars
      4) I don’t have any suggestions for hotels in Nungwi, sorry. I don’t like that area, too touristy for my liking. Best is you check on Tripadvisor for the most suitable place.
      Enjoy the planning stage, it is one of the best parts of the holiday!
      Cheers
      Gaby

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  10. Hi,

    1.Can You recommend me place for to sleep – we are going for one week. I think that we should stay in one hotel, not share for 2 hotels because we are planing 3 combined tours. About places I mean:
    – Jambiani
    – Bwejuu
    – Kilimajuu – Miramont Retreat Zanzibar.
    Maybe You can help us to choose sleeping place ? Thank You.

    2. Can You help me about the trips – how much pay to not pay too much ? I have an offer for 150 U$D for Tours:
    – Excursion Kizimkazi Dolphins Safari
    – Excursion Stone Town & Spice Tour
    – Excursion Safari Blue
    – Excursion Jozani Forest

    best reagards
    Maciej

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    • Hi, I highly recommend Mustaphas Place in Bwejuu, that’s an insider secret. They are about 20m from the beach, offer beautiful accommodation at very good prices, a large pool and excellent Swahili Food. http://www.mustaphasplace.com
      Tours: Not sure about the prices, are they per person? In that case, you are being overcharged. If the price is for all 4 tours, you are getting a really good deal. If you book Mustapha’s they for sure can also organize the tours for fair prices.
      Cheers
      Gaby

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  11. Hi Malaika,
    My husband and I are coming to Zanzibar in January and I have a few questions I couldn’t find the answers to in your blog:

    – Do we need to book tickets ahead of time for the ferry from Dar es Salaam
    – We’re renting a jeep from Kibabu and will be self-driving around the island for 10 days. We were hoping to camp on the beach but I don’t see camping advertised as an accomodation option, is it possible at all?

    Many thanks,
    Melanie

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    • Hi Melanie,
      You have to book the ferry tickets ahead of time. The ferries are full during high season. There are long queues, even if you already have tickets.
      Please read my page “getting here” regarding ferry as opposed to taking a local flight. The prices are similar. If you are in the center of Dar already, you don’t have to worry about the high taxi cost. If you arrive by plane, I recommend you take a plane for the 15 min trip to Zanzibar. Taxis are very expensive and traffic is horrendous from the airport to the ferry, or vice versa.
      Camping or sleeping in tents is not allowed on Zanzibar. You for sure will get into trouble with the local police. There are a few budget places all over the island, or you can book a bed in dorms.
      Cheers
      Gaby

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  12. Jambo! Gaby,

    First of all I would like to congratulate your website/blog that is really rich of important informations. All tourist should visit here before travel to Zanzibar.
    My main doubt is healed “drive in Zanzibar”. Asante sana 🙂
    I will enjoy 3 days in Jambiani + 1 in Stone Town beginning march… about southeast area seems more isolated, so what advice or tip can you say about the night period? restaurants, bars… night options in general.
    I would like to suggest a post with simple and important words/phrases that can help anyone in Zanzibar.
    All your texts are awesome! Best consistent and helpful advices!

    Thank you a lot!

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    • Sijambo!
      Thank you Fred, glad you can make an informed decision now about car rental versus taxi for a day.
      Best is to ask at your hotel what to do or where to eat in Jambiani.
      Thank you for your suggestion re adding some basic phrases in Swahili, will look into it.
      Have a wonderful holiday,
      Gaby

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  13. Hi Gaby,
    we just returned from a fabulous 9 days trip visiting the entire island. We spent 3 days in Stone town, 3 days in Nungwi and 3 days in Bwejuu. We are absolutely amazed with the beauty of Zanzibar, but specially with its charming, friendly and nice people.
    We would like to thank you once again, for this great helping blog you run. We followed it in all aspects and had wonderful time, with no issues and we were all alone there, on our own.
    I would like to encourage people to rent a car to see everything, including the inland of the island with its villages. Kibabu was great, spotless, right on time during pick up and drop off and we even got an upgrade of the car.
    Mustapha’s place is a place for itself…very relaxed, rustic and beautiful in such a lush greenery…for a great price.
    The only thing I would add, if you don’t mind, I would advise travelers to exchange more USD into TZS, and to have TZS always with them, not only for petrol and market. According to our experience, all the prizes everywhere in street, in restaurants,… (except for hotel accommodation paying) are quoted in TZS. If you pay in USD they calculate the rate 1 USD = 2.000 TZS, while at the exchange offices in Stone town you get 2.230 TZS for 1 USD, so in that way you save 10%.
    Thank you again, and keep up the good work on that beautiful island.

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  14. One thing I forgot about driving. We drove totally 450 km there, had no problems at all. We were stopped 4 times by police, but all of them were nice and polite, no one appeared to hassle us in order to get some money, not even in Nungwi.

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    • Hi Dejan,
      Thank you so much for your great feedback. I’m very happy that my blog contributed to a wonderful holiday experience.
      Glad to hear that you had a great experience with Kibabu Cars. They are excellent, highly reliable and punctual, which is not the norm on the island as you surely experienced.
      It is most definitely advisable to rent a car here. There is so much to discover. And as you said, most of the police guys are super friendly.
      Mustapha’s Place in Bwejuu is very special, super comfy and relaxed, with a lush garden and huge pool, and all that for a really good price.
      Also thank you for your advice on USD / TZS, very helpful indeed.
      Karibu sana, Gaby

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  15. Hi, vielleicht kannst du uns kurzfristig weiterhelfen. Wir haben an Strand eine mutterseelenallein Baby Katze gefunden. Werden die hier im Meer einfach “entsorgt” ? Wie tierlieb sind denn die Sansibar Bewohner und was können wir für die Katze tun? LG Sandra

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    • Hallo Sandra,
      Danke für deine Nachricht. Es kann sein dass der Mama-Katze etwas passiert ist. Leider werden die Katzen und Kater hier nicht in dem noetigen Ausmass sterilisiert. Du kannst dich an http://www.zaaso.net wenden, sowas wie ein privates Tierheim das keinerlei Unterstuetzung vom Staat bekommt und auf Spenden angewiesen ist. Die Kontaktdaten sind auf der webpage.
      Thank you for caring!
      LG Gaby

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  16. hello Gaby,
    i love your blog! i will be in Zanzibar in about a month. i m coming from Greece – Europe with a 2 hours stopover at Cairo. i was wondering do i need to take a vaccination foe yellow fever in order to enter the country? if you dont mind i have some other questions to ask
    1. how can i get from airport Dar es salaam to ferry port to Zanzibar? is there any other way beside taxi? train maybe?
    2. as you suggested i will use a local sim card for internet. can i find their office at the airport?
    3. i will be stayinh at jambiani beach, how can i get there from the ferry port? shall i use the local transportation?

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    • Hi Anna, your question about yellow fever is answered on the page “Malaria / Yellow Fever Vaccinations”.
      Question 1: I only know about transfers by taxi from Dar airport to the harbour. Taxis are expensive and traffic in Dar is horrendous. Since you arrive at the airport, rather book a flight from Dar to Zanzibar with one of the local flight companies, details see on my blog “how to get here”, it works out much cheaper than the combined cost of taxi and ferry, and it is much faster. Additionally, you have an amazing view of the ocean and the island on that short 15 minute flight.
      Question 2: a kiosk where you can buy a simcard and airtime is outside the Zanzibar airport arrivals hall.
      Question 3: best take a taxi (cost should be US$ 50). There is no direct DalaDala (public transport) from the ferry port (or airport) to Jambiani, you will have to change DalaDalas. The trip from the ferry port or airport with a car takes 1 1/4 hours, with the DalaDala it takes at least 2 hours. Please also note that hotels or resorts are usually quite a distance away from the tar road, where the DalaDala stops, you will have to walk the rest of the way.
      Cheers Gaby

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  17. Hi Gaby

    Thank you so much for your blog! I’m travelling to Zanzibar for the first time on Friday and have just spent an enjoyable hour or so reading all your posts 🙂 I can’t wait to visit the island to explore and spend some time relaxing at the beach!

    Thanks for sharing so much valuable information.
    Morag

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  18. Hi Gaby I love love your blog very informative for tourists. We currently live in South Africa and we moving to Zanzibar in August could you perhaps recommend a school that offers both primary and secondary schooling for expat, even an international school just not int. school of Zanzibar they are just too expensive. Would you recommend we complete all our paper work for immigration in Tanzania, must we do the process in Dar? What are medical facilities like on the island, would you rather recommend we have medical insurance? Lastly how difficult/easy is it to open a business on the island?

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    • Hi, there is a British School in Stone Town, not sure about standards. No idea about other schools.
      You must do paperwork for immigration in SA before you arrive here otherwise you have to apply for an additional permit which costs a few hundred US$ per person.
      We have a new hospital, Global Hospital in Vuga, Stone Town. I had very good experiences at that hospital, very good doctors from Ukraine and India. Definitely get health insurance. I recommend Jubilee, best rates, widely accepted.
      To open a business here is a lengthy and expensive process.
      Cheers, Gaby

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    • Hi Slava, well written, excellent observations and advice. I will gladly also add the link to my Zanzibar Insider Buzz facebook page. Glad to know that you thoroughly enjoyed “my” island.
      Cheers, Gaby

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  19. hello Gaby,
    i will be staying near Jambiani beach for 5 nights and then move close to stown town for another 4.
    i will rent a car, and i was wondering whether you can help me and suggest where to go from each place.
    i am instersted in seeing all the beautiful beaches, spice farms, forest….
    Anna

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    • Hi Anna,
      Please read the pages “Discover Zanzibar south of Stone Town” (when you are driving to Jambiani and also whilst you stay in Jambiani).
      For the beaches: you’ll find the best beaches on the stretch Jambiani – Paje – Bwejuu, which you can discover by taking a leasurely walk. Drive to Pingwe (where the Rock Restaurant is, and Upendo opposite) and Michamvi, where you also find beautiful beaches.
      When you are in Stone Town, please read “Discover Zanzibar north of Stone Town”. When you drive from Stone Town to the north, check out Kendwa beaches. Nungwi is for my liking far too touristy.
      Cheers
      Gaby

      Like

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