I stand outside the modest stone apartment where Freddie Mercury was born, and Stone Town, like the island itself, has rocked me. Located off the coast of Tanzania, this large island has a turbulent history, including the world’s shortest war, and being the centre of the spice and slave trade. Ruled by Sultans from their magnificent House of Wonders, the lush tropical islands offer the modern visitor gorgeous beaches, spices, fruits, and more than a pepper shaker of African chaos. Stone Town’s narrow streets feel like a movie set, the grime of a sordid yet rich history adding to the adventure. Before the hotels and resorts took hold, I was able to camp in the northern powder beach of Nungwi, spending hours in the bath warm Indian Ocean, soaking up its unique spice-infused atmosphere.
Length of Trip : 7 days
Many travellers find the activities and accommodations in Zanzibar to be surprisingly expensive. Budget up to US$200 a day for activities, meals, taxis and tips.
Best time to go : June to October, outside of the rainy seasons.
Wheelchair friendly : Zanzibar will be challenging. Speak to a tour operator if arrangements can be made.
Family friendly : Yes
Getting There :
There are several European, African and Middle Eastern airlines with direct flights to Zanzibar. Many travellers also arrive by ferry from Dar es Salaam. The dala-dala (shared mini-bus taxi) is a popular and easy form of transport to get around the island.
Note from Robin :
In Stone Town, I quickly learned the fastest way from A to B is not the quickest route, but the route you can remember. Take some time to study the amazing doors and architecture in the inner city, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. You can arrange a Spice Tour through your hotel or storefront tour operators. Be firm with the touts on the tourist-busy hubs of Kenyatta Road and Shangani Roads. Things don't work like clockwork, so if you're looking for efficiency, you're going to get frustrated. Hakuna Matata, no worries, as you adjust to the infamous Africa Time.
PRESENTED BY FORD OF CANADA
It’s a rare occasion when the name of a car aligns so perfectly with what I’ve used it for. Whether rocketing along the notorious Trans-Labrador Highway, or cruising among the mountainous candy of one of the world’s most beautiful drives, the Ford Escape has indeed lived up to its name. It has stood up to some pretty epic challenges, and that includes taking a 6-month baby on a 30-day cross-country book tour. Compact yet spacious, powerful yet fuel efficient, and loaded with features you’ll soon wonder how you did without, the Ford Escape more than lives up to its moniker. – Robin Esrock