I am writing this post is to share my honeymoon experience in Stone Town Zanzibar with you, should incase you were considering to ever go to Zanzibar or perhaps confused of a honeymoon destination or holiday destination or simply want a good read of an African destination :). Happy New Year to all my bella readers. I pray that this year will be filled with an explosion of blessings in Jesus name (Amen). It’s been a while, but trust me it’s for a genuine reason. I had a very busy wrap to year 2015 as I got hitched to my best friend on the 17th of December, 2015, went from Miss Bukky Bello to Mrs Bukky Asehinde. It was an amazingly beautiful ceremony, all Glory to God and thanks to my amazing family and friends that came out to support. I saved a picture for you and will share it later in the post.
I am sure by now you know that I am a lover of all things Africa to include destinations. I’m also very glad my husband (grins) is the number 1 supporter of my dreams and aspirations. To be honest, I had 5 options in mind for honeymoon destination (Mauritius, The Gambia, Seychelles, Kenya or Zanzibar), however, a friend that had just recently visited Zanzibar influenced our decision. So we got booking, and finally booked a flight with Kenyan Airways that could take us to Zanzibar via Nairobi (2 locations in 1, whoop whoop).
Honeymoon experience in Stone Town, Zanzibar
Our honeymoon experience in Zanzibar, Tanzania was a combination of a long awaited get away holiday, so it wasn’t for a few days, but for 2 solid weeks! (dancing).
Ticket check, yellow card check (you need to get a yellow card to travel to majority of the African Countries), cash at hand check, luggages check, smiles check. We took a night flight so that we could get to Nairobi, Kenya in the morning and spend the whole day before taking off to Zanzibar. We got a Kenyan evisa from http://evisa.go.ke/, which just cost us $21, got it under an hour and all we had to do was print it along for the journey (I must commend the Kenyan embassy or whoever created this online platform to make our life easier getting a Kenyan evisa, kudos!).
We landed in Nairobi at about 10.20am (the journey took about 6 hours). Luckily for us, we had a Kenyan friend who was on standby to pick us from the airport and show us abit of Kenya. Saved you some pictures below from Nairobi;
After feeding our belly, we took a quick stop at the giraffe centre in Nairobi, Kenya;
We had some local food in Kileleshwa, and had some Ugali, Sukuma and Nyama choma (sorry I didn’t take any picture, try google it).
Off we went to Zanzibar, which only took us about 1hour, 30mins from Kenya. We got our visa on arrival which took about 5mins and we paid $50 each.
Contrary to the wrong information we got, taking a trip to Abuja from Lagos to get a Tanzanian Visa before our flight, which ended up a waste just because the embassy took an early close to the year with the only access to information pasted on the gate (sad face). We placed a call from Lagos asking when they will be closed and was told a later date (If you are reading this and happen to work in the Tanzanian embassy in Abuja or know someone, kindly help tell them they have an unhappy customer).
We were told that getting a visa on arrival to Zanzibar was a long process, and we tried avoiding this, hence why we got on the plane to Abuja. Please don’t fall victim of this, it was a seamlessly straight forward process and only cost $50.
We had a hotel booking in Stonetown from booking.com at Grand Palace Hotel.
P.s: An important tip when travelling to maximize your honeymoon experience or holiday, always go with some cash at least some universally acceptable currency. Which happened to be Dollars in Zanzibar. The atm machine right outside the airport wasn’t working, so good thing we had sufficient dollars in hand.
The taxi man initially charged us $20, and we told him we had checked before arrival that the hotel is about 5km away and shouldn’t cost that much (thank God for some negotiating skills from home, Nigeria). We ended up paying $10 and shared the taxi van with some visitors that just arrived.
My first lesson on getting there, put on your negotiating cap when in Africa (well I don’t know if it applies everywhere in the world), but not every cost called to you is a fixed price, so beat it done to a reasonable cost you deem valuable to what you’re purchasing.
Our first impression as we took a drive to the hotel… ummm! what kind of village is this? infact few minutes after, we nearly asked the taxi man if he was lost (hahaha)…save that thought!
Honeymooners after about 9 hours flight and 1 day in transit, finally arrived at the first hotel about 2:00am, The Grand Palace Hotel, Stone town, Zanzibar. Wondering how the bedroom looked like, I saved you a picture (wink). We booked a suite…
Went to bed knackered and hoping to see a changed dead village looking assumption of Zanzibar at first sight!
You would think, the normal thing to do is to sleep the whole day and start our touring the day after, but nah, we excitedly got up early to get a better view of Zanzibar.
At this point, we learned that Jambo means ‘hello’ in Swahili, asante sana means ‘thank you’, Karibu means ‘welcome’…those were all we needed to get on… The blue western Indian ocean was so beautiful…
Wow, I never knew tortoise live this long. 192 years old..
Oooops, did I remember to mention I had loads of pictures… I need to take you through each tour now..
The city tour
The Dolphin Tour
We got on the boat and took a ride to the middle of the ocean searching for Dolphins. The plan was to take a picture with them, but they were moving too fast. If you trusted your swimming skills, you jump into the ocean to take a picture of the dolphins under the water. I had a swim in the ocean and that was an experience of a life time for me.
Click to view video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYHECE4Ql70
Someone asked if I had lost my mind, swimming in the ocean (lmao) and I answered saying I think I actually lost my mind at that moment I jumped in and was revived and back to reality when I got in the ocean. I also think my husband was very brave to allow me jump in because he knew I could swim, but then again I forgot it was the ocean and wasn’t a swimming pool.
P.s: Please don’t try it if you don’t already know how to swim and have the courage to come out alive, lol.
We hired a cab to the North to witness some fireworks and have a taste of night party life in Zanzibar. Spent our New Years Eve at the Kendwa Rocks, the Rocks beach.
We changed hotel to Forodhani Park hotel to have another experience and rate another hotel. This had a swimming pool at the roof top which was a plus…
We had a 2 hours tour of the major spice farm in Zanzibar. The farm was filled with so many fruits, spices, vegetables like the cinnamon tree, nutmeg tree, ginger, jack fruit, vanilla pea, curry and so much more.
After the spice farm tour, we went to Zanzibar park and saw a number of animals; crocodile, zebra, hyenas, snakes, porcupines and so much more. We had one full week of adventure but missed out on Safari blue tour. Afterwards, all we wanted to do for the few days left of our honeymoon was to chill chilllll chillll on the beach and in our hotel (winks).
Honeymoon destination in Zanzibar is full of exciting things and has a collection of cultures and this reflects in their cuisine, clothing and architecture. Zanzibar’s Stone town is the largest, living, Swahili stone town in the world, and was designated a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO in 2000. There are over 1000 coral “stone” buildings having architectural significance and more than 200 carved doors. In the late afternoon, local people like to sit outside, drinking coffee, talking and playing board games.
Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim.
English is widely spoken, but it’s fun and friendly to try some Kiswahili, particularly for greetings and shopping in the market.
The local currency is Tanzanian Shilling. Banknotes are issued in denomination of 10000, 5000, 2000, 1000 and 500 shillings. Coins are also commonly found in circulation, 200, 100 and 50 shillings. ATM points can be found at most banks in town and you will also find some bureau de change.
We mostly shopped for souvenirs in Memories and Zanzi one collection and few at the local shops.
In summary, to get the best honeymoon experience, we ended up staying in 4 hotels, just to ensure we had our personal recommendations for future honeymooners, and explored almost all the tours. Beware of mosquitoes! Fear not, at about 7pm everyday in the hotel, they will come to fleet your room with insecticide. The water is also not very skin friendly as it was hard water, just ensure you stay moisturised. The heat from the sun is also high, lol yes compared to Naija sun, so instead of us tanning, we were getting darker (lol). It’s predominantly muslim, so at 2, 4 and 7pm, they will have a call for prayers out loud.
Overall, we had an amazing honeymoon experience in Zanzibar and will highly recommend you go and try it out yourself. It’s a lovely honeymoon/holiday destination. A village but a definite African travel/tour destination, which is all you need on honeymoon, some peace and quiet with your spouse.
High point of my honeymoon experience in Zanzibar: swimming in the ocean 🙂
Low point: Dollar exchange rate in Nigerian currency 🙁 (you will relate better if you are a Nigerian reading this right now or live in Nigeria)
I hope I was able to answer some questions you have in mind or covered some areas of concern like getting a visa on arrival..
Leave a message below if you have any questions and will be sure to answer.
Finally, here are two pictures from my wedding as promised..only the ones that read till the end gets to see 🙂
I WISH YOU AN AMAZING 2016! I’m excited, and you should be too.
Happy Reading of my Honeymoon experience and God bless you…
Bukky Asehinde (née Bell0)…