Thursday, October 22, 2020

Royal Zanzibar and Dar Es Salaam Tanzania Africa Review


Check out this full length video review of #Zanzibar, #DarEsSelaam #Africa stay at the #RoyalZanzibar 


Flying to Zanzibar from the US is an all day deal. The best way we found to get there is using Turkish Airlines. The ride from Atlanta to Istanbul, Turkey is about 12 hours. Then you will have to transfer to another 7 hour flight down to Zanzibar’s sister city, Dar Es Salaam. I was used to say TanzanEEa but the locals let me know that the right pronunciation is Tanzania. The Visa to enter Tanzania is $100 per person. You can pay that in the airport as you are leaving customs. Once I was told by residents that Dar Es Salaam means the land of black people, I had to go check it out..

 

The first thing you will notice is how much the people’s facial features look more like African Americans than anywhere else I’ve ever been. If they didn’t start talking Swahili, you would swear, they were from cities in America. A lot of them came up to me thinking I would be able to have a fluent conversation with them because we looked so much alike. They were surprised when I didn’t understand them.

 

Dar Es Salaam was a great stop over on our way to Zanzibar. We stayed for 2 days in the best western


just to get over the Jet Lag, and since we were all the way on the east side of Africa and I don’t get enough chances to travel this far, I wanted to see everything. While in this metropolis, we had a tour guide named George to show us around. I’m going to put his contact info in the description of this video in case you want to learn about the history and development of Tanzania. It’s also great just have a great contact when you arrive.

The language spoke most in Tanzania is Swahili, but the 2nd language that almost everyone speaks is English. Communicating with people in local shops, restaurants and everywhere else is very easy. While here you will pick up some Swahili phrases too, that will help you navigate this experience. For instance: A phase everyone uses is Hakuta Matada, which means to take it easy and not get over excited. Dada means Sister and Kaka means Brother jumbah, means Uncle. Asanti is thank you and Kariboo is you're welcome. Mambo is used in Tanzania for Hello and Jambo is mostly used in Zanzibar also meaning Hello and how are you? Add po to those words and you are saying “very much.” So if you really appreciate anyone, say Asanti Po. Lastly, OK, OK is sawah, sawah.


We toured most of the city and made sure we got to see the fish markets. This experience was very unique, the people where friendly but you can tell they were very busy, fishing isn't the easiest job in the world.. You can also tell that they have respect for each others and for each other’s hustle. Once someone is selling you something, the others will back away. They really want you to enjoy their country.

It can be overwhelming at first when they are aggressively trying to sell you the souvenirs or offer you cab services. But once the deal is made you will realize that they are just trying to make a living and the competition is fierce. They will then treat you like a brother who is just from the other side of the world and they want to know all about you.

George wanted to take us on a Safari and to Kilamanjaro. The largest Mountain in the world was 6 hours away by car or 1 hour 45 minutes by air plus they said the weather there is ultra cold. We winded up going to the bar instead! You can check out his all of George’s tours on his facebook page that I’m also linking below.

After chilling in Dar Es Salaam, we headed over to the island of Zanzibar. You can get there either by plane or Ferry. I chose the Ferry for the experience. There are a lot of ferries going over there but we took a company called Killimajaro 7. My research showed that this was the most popular, well established and well kept ship available out of all the options. It was very clean and a smooth ride. It’s a great opportunity to see the city’s coastline. Although the locals will brag about how there is little to no covid in Tanzania, I still decided to wear my mask. There are a lot of locals but a lot of tourists on this ferry, even with the testing that they did, there were just too many people on it to risk it. The trip took about an hour.

Once you arrive to Zanzibar, you will surprisingly get another stamp on your passport. I had no idea that they treat Zanzibar as another country entirely. The area you arrive in, will be called Stone town. My driver told me that Stone town is the richest part of Zanzibar. It still has forts and old buildings that were built for their liberation. The structures are old and in my opinion, need to be torn down to make way for new modern construction, but I also understand that people love to latch on to their glorious history. As recently as 2005 An excavation at Kuumbi Cave in southeastern Zanzibar found heavy duty stone tools that showed humans were there at least 22,000 years ago. Their history is Paleolithic.

From the ferry in Stonetown to the resort in Nungwi is about 45 minutes in a cab. While riding through you will notice that a lot of people are living in pretty harsh condition. The toll of their liberation is still seen to this day. The islands gained independence from Britain in December 1963 as a constitutional monarchy. A month later, the bloody Zanzibar Revolution, in which several thousand Arabs and Indians were killed and thousands more were sent back to their countries. This led to the Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba. That April, the republic was subsumed into Tanzania, but its mostly self governed state. Their recovery is obviously on it’s way but they still have a lot to do. What you will see is not very different than what you will see while shuttling to most resorts on Caribbean Islands. They’re working on it.


You can also see that this island is more religious. Most women are wearing saris and other head coverings. Zanzibar is 95% Muslim where as Tanzania is about 40/40 Muslim or Christian and minority religions. The main attractions on this island is The Butterfly farms, The Monkey exhibits, Prison Island, the Spice Farms, Stone town, swimming with dolphins, and the Rock restaurant has a big reputation.

When we finally arrived to our resort, The Royal Zanzibar, we were finally able to relax. And there is no more perfect place to relax. This place looks AMAZING. The water is the bluest I’ve ever seen. At some points you can’t look directly to the bottom of the ocean. The grounds are spotless and the staff is extremely friendly. There are so many large pools including the infinity pool, that you will never feel overcrowded. People are sailing by waiving Jambo, and you may even see dolphins. I guarantee you will love it. It’s almost at the most northern point of Zanzibar. It will feel like you are stepping into a different word. It has Untapped Beauty, that obviously only a few people know about. Then there’s the rooms:

The Masai people are one of the 5 Biggest tribes of Tanzania. They are easy to point out by the way they're dressed. They're usually wearing red robes and carrying a spear. If you say Jumbo to them, they will go out of their way to reply and make sure you are having the time of your life. A lot of them work for the resort but you will see them on the beach playing sports. The food many of them eat is called Ugati. They say they don’t like it much, but it’s cheap and they were raised on it. I didn’t get a chance to try it, and a lot of them told me I was not missing anything. I guess it’s like grits.

The menu in the royal zanzibar was pretty limited but so was a lot of other things. It wouldn't be fair of me to give you the cons about our experience on this resort without first addressing that this resort has been closed for over 6 months due to covid-19. Our visit was within the first 2 weeks of them opening back up. None of the usual buffets were open so we had sit down meals whenever any of the 4 restaurants were open. It was cool and I actually felt good about not pigging out. I’m on a diet. But for breakfast you can choose from typical American or European breakfast and at the ___ resturant you can eat while watching boats float by waving at you. Just don’t leave your food unattended because the crows are gangsta, and they will swoop down on your plate if they get a chance.


Again the people you meet will be extremely friendly and are genuinely concerned that you are having a great time in Zanzibar. They will tell you their entire life story, ask you about your life, answer any questions you have about anything you’re curious about and most importantly, they’re taking it easy. They Hakuta Matada everything!  And again, it’s truly amazing how much they look like regular African Americans. There may be some truth to the Israelites that say African Americans are from east Africa.

We visited the spice farm and learned a lot of how fruits and spices are grown. It was a cool experience and we enjoyed helping out the people who worked there.

The Rock hotel is internationally known because of it’s bizarre placement. The restaurant is literally in the ocean. If tides are high, you will have to sail over to it. We happened to get there at low tide, so we were able to walk through the marsh to the Rock’s stairs. I kind of wish we went at high tide, but it was still definitely an experience that we won’t forget. The food was great and you can tell it was fresh out of the sea.

Ubers are available in Dar Es Saleem but not on the island of Zanzibar. If you need a ride around Zanzibar, you need to contact our new friend Usef. He has a very clean van, he’s cool as a fan, very knowledgeable about Zanzibar and very skilled in the streets. People drive crazy, and mopeds, bikes, people and even cows may cut you off. the way they are able to overtake other drivers is truly a skill to have. I would NOT suggest you driving yourself around the island. I will also leave Useph’s contact info in the description below.

Over all I had a great time at the royal Zanzibar and the Journey getting there. I recommend Tanzania for anyone who wants to visit Africa. I also hope this video shows skeptical non-travelers that Africa is not a “scary” place to visit. The resort is put together beautifully. The windows in every room are gigantic and the scenery is epic. The beach is accessible right down the steps from the resorts and the excursions are easy to find. The weather goes from cool to ultra hot and if it rains, it'll only last for a few minutes. Visit Africa. You won’t regret it. Like a king...

1 comment:

  1. I went in 2017 it was amazing. I stayed in an airbnb in the local neighborhoods in Dar the went to Zanzibar, then took a flight to Arusha and saw the snake and masai museums. You can buy Tanzanite (a rare jewel only found in Tanzania) off the street in Arusha.

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