My Friends In Zanzibar

Three members of our clan went to Zanzibar & gave us major FOMO while they lived their best lives. I asked Pumeza, Thobekile & Khanyisa if they could share their trip with us to get some inspiration. Many people often dream of holidays but get so scared & they fail with the planning. Hopefully my girl’s trip will help & inspire you. Here they share with us their experience.

How did you decide & plan on your trip?

Planning was never difficult at all. We knew we wanted to go away together so we looked at several places like Zanzibar, Thailand and Mauritius. We finally decided on Mauritius. We looked at several packages online and didn’t find one that we liked & so we decided to tailor our trip. Most packages offered seven nights & we knew that would be too long because we wanted a short eventful trip. We contacted flight center & gave them our specific needs i.e. 4/5 nights stay, all-inclusive i.e. food (all meals) & drinks (including alcohol) which was the beeest decision ever because proper food is expensive in Zanzibar, drinks are super expensive but with our package we saved a lot. We wanted a package that also included accommodation, flights,  transfers & we told them our budget was 9K p.p. We paid the deposit just to secure the space, which was less than 50%. We made arrangements with our agent to give us a date on when the full payment is expected. We then decided to pay whatever amount one was comfortable with, as and when convenient. That made life easy… pressure!!!

We asked them to send us a list of hotels/ resorts they usually work with & we will do our research & decide. We decided on Dongwe Ocean View because of the reviews on Trip Advisor. Everyone spoke so highly of the staff at the hotel & the size of the hotel was another attracting factor for me. It’s a small hotel (17 rooms all with balconies & an ocean view) so we were sold. Because of the small number of guests, they pay attention to all your needs. We were not disappointed at all, it all paid off. We pre-checked activities, and made bookings in advance but we ended up winging our activities because of the awesome staff and locals.

What advise would you give others who want to travel?

  •  It’s advisable to book an all-inclusive package (this will save you more money than you can think of) drinks are crazy expensive when paying for them separately.
  • Read reviews from different sites before you accept what the travel agent is suggesting, sometimes the travel agents offer you what they think you would like but you may want something completely different.
  • Double check your bookings, with the hotel, the airline and transfers and check if the package is what is said on paper. Double check everything to avoid surprises on foreign land.
  • Call/ email the hotel and transfers two days or a day before departing to check if they are expecting you ad everything is in order.
  • NB!!!!!!!! Take hand luggage with clothes for at least two days & with essential toiletries. You can easily loose your luggage, you need a back up plan until you receive your luggage as this can take two days depending on how efficient the travel agent is. I know this because, someone took one of our luggage thinking it was theirs, luckily she had clothes in the hand luggage and the airport staff were very helpful & travel agent on the other hand was useless. Luggage was received that same evening.
Highlights of the trip & things you loved?
 One thing we can tell you about that country people are very warm and welcoming. They would be so excited to hear that we are coming from South Africa. They’d go like “ooooh u are coming from Mandela, Amandla, and akunamathata”. We were really humbled by their genuine love and warmth. The guests at the hotel were like family, that’s how intimate this hotel is.

THE food was amazing. Stone Town is gorgeous, you get lost in the stories those buildings tell, you wish you could walk those streets on a Friday night see how life can be. “Swimming in the ocean is not something I do often, but if I lived there I would do it very often”

We found ourselves a tour guide. He taught us a few phrases in Swahili, sometimes he wouldn’t be able to explain in English so we’d use hands for emphasis or further explanations,…..oooh we had so much fun. We loved our tour guide, he didn’t charge us tourist fees at all. We ended up using him for everything (Trip to Stone Town, Boat cruise, Village tour, Beach party, Snookering). In all this our tour guide never expected a tip, he was just doing it out of his good heart, and he really appreciated our tip.

We visited the locals and there was a wedding & we gate crashed! We were asked to cover our shoulders and legs for respect. They borrowed us the sarongs. They were so happy to see foreigners. Pum joined them to dance, they screamed and danced with her. OMG we had such a beautiful time.

We also went to a beach party. It was amazing. Beautiful music. Great cocktails. Disco lights. Everyone happy and dancing. We decide to take off our shoes because we’re dancing in the sand. When we left, someone had stolen all our shoes, all of three pairs.

Things you did not like & would warn about/against?

Never leave your shoes unattended in a public place!!! Besides the beach shoe incident, we cant think of anything we didn’t like.       

 Any other things you would like to share?
Go with your best mates.take a good camera. Have fun. Be kind to the locals and other guests. Buy a sim card and data at the airport so you don’t use your own, theirs lasts so much longer. Between the three of us we never ran out…imagine that. Go to Dongwe Ocean View. Last & surely not least, DRINK!!!!
Hope this will inspire you to start planning on that whats app group & get packing. Life is too short.  How amazing are my people though!!