Just got back from a great week in Kenya! Visited both Nairobi and Mombasa, though had to cancel the safari because of a severe attack of the runs! But I'll cover this highly memorable journey in my next blog, as somehow I've managed to get seriously behind schedule, mentioning nothing about my trips to Zanzibar in March and then Istanbul in June since I lasted posted!
So Zanzibar - that's Tanzania, by the way (see previous blog for Dar es Salaam). What a place! It must be one of the top exotic destinations anywhere in the world, as combines both culture and natural beauty. The Stone Town dates back several hundred years as a centre for the spice trade and has elements of Arab, Indian and Portuguese architecture in it. Its heyday, though, was probably from the 18th Century onward, when the Omani Arabs took control of it and added the slave trade to it (nice one, chaps). There's also a buzzing market here too.
Zanzibar is worth visiting for the Stone Town alone, but it also blessed with magnificent white sands beaches, particularly on the east coast. There's a reef about a mile out too, which means that the water remains very shallow near the shore.
Myself, I stayed in the Stone Town and made excursions out to the beaches, as, to be honest, I'm not really a beach person. I love to be near the sea, but find I get bored pretty quickly if I just sit on the beach, and I gave up sunbathing years ago! The only drawback in the Stone Town is the presence of persistent touts. I found the best way was to make friends with a couple of them, because actually they gave useful insights into the place and were often interesting characters in their own right. And, poor guys, they're just trying to make a living like anyone else!
The east coast of Africa is the Swahili speaking area, whether it be Kenya or Tanzania. It evolved as a result of Afrian Bantu meeting Arabic. Swahili doesn't refer to just the language but also the coastal people as a whole. And I'm pleased to say I learnt a few basic phrases! Jambo - hello!
But enough of my blurb. Judge for yourself by the pictures!