Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Zanzibar - A bucket list destination

Robin Mcleod, our Sales and Marketing Manager recently visited the exotic “Spice Island” and gave us some wonderful insight on this exciting destination.

The famous explorer, David Livingstone wrote, “In Zanzibar, nothing is as it seems”. 

The island of Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean, about 35km off the Tanzanian coast, and although it falls under Tanzanian jurisdiction, it operates like a self-contained country
Even before visiting the island, Zanzibar evokes within travellers a sense of the exotic and mysterious. Traditionally a haven for FIT travellers and honeymooners, corporates the world over are now waking up to the possibility of Zanzibar as an incentive destination, either as stand-alone or in combination with safaris in other parts of East Africa.  Dragonfly Africa / Green Route Africa has now extended its operational reach to include Zanzibar as a destination.
From the moment of arrival, the island is an assault on the senses. From the incredibly vibrant, colourful and bustling Stone Town to beautiful tropical beaches to the heady smells and tastes of spicy curries. The mix of religions creates a unique melting pot of cultures which is reflected in the cuisine, architecture and décor. The island is small, only 96 km long and 32 km wide, so practically everything is “one hour” from one place to the next. From east to west is 1 hour. From Stone Town to the south is 1 hour and from Stone Town to the north is also an hour. The airport is situated a mere 10 minutes’ drive from Stone Town.

The North Coast, being the site of hotels such as La Gemma dell’Este and Essque Zalu Zanzibar, is where most of the new hotel development is taking place as it offers the added advantage of not being affected by the tides. In the East and South luxurious hotels such as Sandies Neptune Pwani Resort, Melia Resort, Baraza and The Residence offer a mixture of half-board, full board or fully inclusive meal options. While the hotels in the East and South are affected by the tides, they compensate by offering stunning pools and lovely, sandy beaches.

Incentive-style activities abound – from sunset cruises, snorkelling and lunches on a private tropical island to amazing race-style jeep safaris. A visit to the spice farms is a must and can be combined with a trip to the Jozani Forest, home to the endangered Red Colobos Monkeys. There are also various CSR projects for groups to get involved with.

So, back to my first statement – Zanzibar is not at all as it seems. Initially, the azure waters and coral reefs take your breath away, then you are overwhelmed by the incredible sights, sounds and smells of the island, but ultimately it is the incredibly friendly, kind and helpful people of this delightful little paradise who keep you captivated.

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