Today we have booked a full day tour visiting Stone Town and doing the Spice Tour. Super excited for today. Ali is our Tour Guide and he came to collect us from the house. We get in the car and relax, we know we going to be in good hands, as he came recommended. As we drive our eyes dart here and there, soaking up everything there is to see.
We stop outside the market in Stone Town for a tour and walk around. Ali takes us to the fish and meat market. I feel like I know a little bit about Zanzibar, as I had done some Homework and watched some documentaries on the telly, but it was still a shock to me. We start at the fish market, Oh my gosh, the smell, the flies, were so hectic. On either side is cemented slabs slightly divided for each stall holder to showcase their fresh catch of the day. The floor is blood stained cement, and you have to be careful as blood from the fish, water from washing comes spilling onto the path and splashing your legs as you walking. Men selling all kinds of fish, octopus, fish eggs, types of fish, fish heads and some are really large in size. They sit barefoot on the cement block separating each stall holder, but there is nothing to separate the flies from the fish. Flies everywhere and yet people are buying the goods. I stop here and there to take a photo, unbelief. A warning for Vegetarians don’t visit the fish and meat market, your stomach will turn for what you see to what you smell. This is only for the brave at heart. I suddenly think of Fear Factor and realize not for a million dollars would I eat anything here.
The meat market was just as bad, sheep heads, raw bloody meat and just as many flies everything sitting on the meat, as if they are at a conference. This is normal to them, and a man must eat.
All hunger disappears and we venture into the spice market. Got to taste a fruit, dark pink/cerise in colour, not sure what it was, but it was nice. Barter for some spice, lots of cloves, pepper corns, bay leaves and saffron. This is of course the Spice Island. Lots more stalls we wander through, and everyone is trying to make us buy from their stall, it is too much and we leave for the city tour of Stone Town. We look like tourists and everyone is trying to make a living.
We walk to different sites, down many narrow paths, old houses and buildings. The doors in Zanzibar are fascinating, and each tells a story. Stunning wooden and brass spike doors to carved doors, we walk and stop to take photos. Finally our appetite returns and we stop at Lukmans for Breyani rice, Nan bread and hibiscus juice which tasted like beetroot. The food was delicious, and you have to go to the counter and order what you want and get it immediately, and you can see exactly what you want. There are no waiters coming to take your order.
The heat is so intense and Stone town is full of people and tourists, and everyone is trying to sell you something. We go to Africa house for Chai and some free wi-fi. We are upstairs and enjoying the view of the Island, they say tea is supposed to cool you down, but don’t think that is possible in Zanzibar.
We visit Freddy Mercury’s house as well and I sing one of his songs. Love Queen Music and every now and then I like to act, not professionally of course, but no ones knows me here, so it is fine. I can understand that Freddy Mercury came from Zanzibar, he was always full of spice and his music had a lingering flavour that had you begging for more. If I had to choose which spice he was, I would say a clove – so many points and always standing out with flavour. An old wives tale was that you could put a clove on a sore tooth and it would take the pain away, very much like his music would take your pain away and transform you to another place. We do a final barter on our way out for a bicycle made of wood, it is beautiful and I have my heart set on it. We get it!!
The Spice tour was next and was my absolute favourite, and the very reason why I will come back. I LOVED it is an understatement. Ali was brilliant; he takes us through the Spice farm where all the spices are growing. At each tree he stops and tells us what spice it is, he digs for roots and we taste ginger, smell vanilla pods, lemongrass, and turmeric, see coffee beans and put on some lipstick from the lipstick tree. He tells us stories as well. He sifts through the sand and picks up cloves for us. We taste star fruit and smell everything that is in season. Zanzibar has every single spice available, it was amazing. There is also another local guy walking with us, who does not speak English at all. While he walks with us, we notice he is making something out of leaves, and then he hands us our Zanzibar crowns, that fit all of our heads perfectly without him even measuring. We are gob smacked. Our day has come to an end and we are taken up North to our friends place. This day will remain in my heart forever.
I suggest if you go to Zanzibar to please visit Stone Town, Zanzibar Urban/West, Tanzania