Zanzibar Island is an Indian Ocean paradise off the coast of Tanzania. Here is the idyllic place to recharge your batteries after your safari on the mainland. This island offers opportunities for cultural exchanges, tranquil breaks and historical exploration around the streets of Stone Town before heading out to and relaxing on the white sands of Nungwi in north.
The spice tour on Zanzibar is organised from the entry port of Stone Town. It is difficult to sort out this excision once you are in Nungwi. Alternatively if you have a tour operator transferring you to Nungwi then they will be able to arrange this for you en-route.
Most spice farms are small and if you are expecting a huge plantation then you may be disappointed. The tours are very low-key.The tour usually takes an hour or so with most of the spices being grown within a small area on each shamba.
The tour usually ends with a young man climbing a coconut tree to harvest young coconuts which are opened and the water is offered as a very refreshing drink. Thousands of clove trees line the roads and if it is the season you will be able to smell and see the cloves drying on hessian sacking at the roadside as you drive to Nungwi. From Stone Town the drive is 60km and is a pleasant drive through the island it is too.Nungwi is a small fishing village on the most northern tip of Zanzibar Island [Unguja]. The traditional wooden boats are still made here and visitors are able to watch the craftsmen at work.
Nungwi has evolved into a resort and looks likely to keep growing.Life for the fishermen of Nungwi is very different from life in Stone Town. Stone Town is affluent and here in the far flung north life is hard.
The fishermen can be seen fixing their boats with a paste made up from ground bones and oil.Nungwi can be very lively having discos and many backpackers choosing Nungwi for the nightlife. However Nungwi is not just for backpackers there is some very upmarket accommodation in this village. The village is split by the Ras Nungwi peninsula with the budget accommodation on the west side of the peninsula and the more upmarket accommodation to the east side. There is good diving here as well as sunset cruisers and close by is a tidal lagoon where green and hawksbill turtles are found.
There is a fully equipped dive centre with an emphasis on high quality dives in small groups. They go to the best sites on the north east coast including the celebrated Mnemba atoll where there is very good snorkeling too; each dive is led by a qualified dive master or above. Purpose built dhows powered by outboard engines make for comfortable trips to the dive sites.
There is the full range of PADI courses from Discover Scuba to Dive master with excellent tuition. For the more experienced divers wall, drift, blue and deep dives are offered..
For more information on Zanzibar and Tanzania see http://www.betheladventure.co.uk or for more comprehensive advice and comments go to http://www.tanzania-info.
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By: Ian Williamson