Archive | March, 2012

Kizimkazi, South-West of Zanzibar: dolphins, coconuts and dagaa…

31 Mar

Set in the remote southwest corner of Zanzibar, the village of Kizimkazi is an apparently insignificant little fishing village which happens to be of great historical importance, being one of the first places that the Shirazi people from Persia settled along this coast.

The coastline here is very different from the classic palm-backed lagoon of the east coast. Here a coral rag cliff elevates the waterfront above the ocean and the beaches take the form of small coves rather than broad expanses of sand.

For decades now Kizimkazi has been best known as a location to ‘swim with dolphins’.  In this area inhabit two species of dolphins: the bottlenose and the Humpback. The Bottlenose are very friendly and they accept the human approach. The Humpback are more shy and they feel scared if you dive in to the water. For past years tourists visiting Kizimkazi for dolphin safaris have created some impacts, in particular a negative one is that the families get stressed to see too many boats and many people jumping into the water at the same intervals.

The Kizimkazi Mosque is a mosque situated on the southern tip of the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania and is one of the oldest Islamic buildings on the East African coast. Despite its name, it is located in Dimbani, not Kizimkazi, which is three miles away (this is because the official names of these two joined villages are Kizimkazi Dimbani and Kizimkazi Mtendeni). According to a preserved kufic inscription, it was built in 1107 by settlers from Shiraz. Although the inscription and certain coral-carved decorative elements date from the period of construction, the majority of the present structure was rebuilt in the 18th century.

Karamba Resort is set in the fisherman’s village of Kizimkazi, on the South West coast of Zanzibar. In the Menai Bay Conservation area. The village women, sit on the beach, and weave ropes from coconut pods. The sea front restaurant offers local and international cuisine, with an emphasis on Mediterranean dishes and fish, seafood, sushi and sashimi, vegetarian and yogic sattvic meals.

It was Austrian night yesterday in Matemwe: Guten Appetit!

28 Mar


Serban Peterfy, with the already impressive experience: Restaurant Bad Saag run by Hubert Wallner, Lake Wörth in Carinthia –  2 Gault Millau toques / 16 points, Burg Vital Hotel, Lech am Arlberg –  3 Gault Millau toques / 18 points, Loibnerhof run by the Knoll family –  1 Gault Millau toques /13 points made a point to offer the best of the traditionnal dishes from Austria and Hungary at Green & Blue Lodge last night in Matemwe.



For last night only he forgot how to combine the salt and freshness of the sea with exotic fruit and the flavours of the spice Island to create the ultimate taste experience and remembered his grand-mother’s recipes and advice.



Austrian music gave rhythm to the night in between each dishes and glasses of Austrian white wines…



Enjoy the otherwise fresh products of the island and spend a few nights in the Green & Blue lodge which has been decorated in the authentic style of Zanzibar and encompasses the exotic nature of the South Seas. Everything there revolves around pampering and enjoyment…




Tower Top Restaurant: bird’s eye view over Stone Town

24 Mar


Open since 1993, the Tower Top Restaurant lies high amongst the ornate minarets, temple towers, and church spires of ancient Stone Town. Located on the roof of 236 Hurumzi, guests feel as if they’re on top of the world as they sip exotic cocktails, watching the sun disappear into the Indian Ocean. The Muslim call to prayer accents the setting of Arab-style pillows and small tables and the Hindu Temple chimes remind the guests that they are far away from the stress they left at home.



Open to all, they serve a lunch menu with a full a la carte selection of appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.



The Tower Top Restaurant is the best location to enjoy a leisurely lunch with spectacular views of the roof tops of Zanzibar Stone Town and the beautiful Indian Ocean. Truly a birds’ eye view with flavorful Swahili-Arabic cuisine and dependable friendly service, 81 stairs above the streets of Stone Town.


Beyt al Chai: fine dining in Stone Town

17 Mar

Beyt al Chai is located in the famous Kelele Square at the heart of Zanzibar’s renowned Stone Town.

The location has an interesting history. A wealthy Arab merchant originally built this fabulous old building. In the years that followed, its square became a favourite haunt of the European residents of the town. Folklore has it that the square was christened, Kelele – Swahili for noise – because of the noisy dogs that the Europeans brought with them.

For those who want to experience the charm of a classic African setting with a touch of ancient Arabian mystique, this is the place. This is 5-room boutique hotel within a traditional Zanzibar house, built on 3 floors on what was once a tea house.

To dining at the Beyt al Chai is to experience Zanzibar. The restaurant, simply called the Beyt al Chai Restaurant, opened only in May 2007 but is already considered the finest dining establishment within Zanzibar’s Stone Town. The Restaurant is unobtrusively located on the ground floor, away from the rooms.

 The cuisine is a fusion of Zanzibar and Europe. Lunch is between 1200 hrs & 1530 hrs and provides a choice of Zanzibari and European cuisine. Begin your lunch with Fresh Crab Meat layered with Crispy Eggplant and Green Mango then select the pan-fryed snapper. Complete your meal with the chocolate chocolate chocolate or the passion fruit cheesecake.

Prison Island: Heaven for the giant tortoises and snorkeling

9 Mar

Changuu Island (Prison Island) is about 30 minutes by boat from Forodhani in Stone Town area lay Changu, also known as Prison Island.

The island was once used by an Arab slave trader to contain the disobedient slaves brought from the African mainland. To prevent their escape before shipping them to the Arabian purchasers, or for auctioning in Zanzibar’s slave market, the slaves were dumped on Changuu, from where they were unlikely to attempt escape.

After the abolition of slavery, in 1873, the island was bought by general Lloyd Mathews, commander of the sultan’s army, who built a house here. In 1893 a prison was built on the island, but it was used instead as a quarantine station for the whole east African region. In the 1920s passengers arriving from India had to spend between one and two weeks on Changuu before proceeding to Zanzibar Town.

You can still see the quarantine station, and the house built by General Mathews which is now used as a restaurant. A path leads right round the island (about an hour’s easy stroll, for residents of the lodge only), also passing some old pits where coral has been dug out to make building stone. Some of these pits fill with water at high tide, and in colonial days they were kept clean and used as swimming pools.

The Giant Tortoises (Geochelone gigantea) are Changuu Islands most famous inhabitants, and are to be found nowhere else in East Africa. Four tortoises were brought from the island of Aldabra in the Seychelles in the 18th century, as a gift from the Seychelles governor to his opposite number in Zanzibar. They started to breed, and by 1955 there were 200, but after independence the numbers began to drop, partly because people started to steal them to sell abroad, either as exotic pets, or as food for ‘exotic restaurants’. The numbers dropped to 100 in 1988, then 50 in 1990, until by late 1996 there were only seven left. In the same year a group of 80 hatchlings were moved to Zanzibar for protection – and 40 of them disappeared. Today the tortoises are protected in a large sanctuary compound provided by the Zanzibar government with help from the World Society for the Protection of Animals. In 2000 there were 17 adults, 50 juveniles and 90 hatchlings, all individually identified and protected by microchips injected under the skin. Since then, many more have been brought in, mostly juveniles.

Giant tortoises face dangers at every stage of their biological growth. Apart from poachers who want them alive, other hunters kill them to use the shells and claws for medicine or saleable souvenirs. Eggs and hatchlings face constant danger from crabs, birds and other predators. Tortoises have been living in the Indian Ocean islands, and probably Aldabra, for over 100 million years but their numbers have fallen to such critically low levels that they are now classified as endangered. The adult tortoises of Prison Island are already producing the next generations.


The Forodhani Gardens: 100% Zanzibar relax and eat in Stone Town

1 Mar



The Forodhani Gardens  are a small park of the historical city of Stone Town. The gardens are located along the main sea walk of Stone Town, just in front of the most famous buildings of Stone Town: the House of Wonders and the Old Fort. Previously the port’s customs shack, the gardens are now ideal for an evening walk and offer a good opportunity to try some of the local delicacies.



The Gardens are especially crowded after sunset, when tourists and local alike gather in a popular food street market in the main square, to have dinner eating Swahili and Zanzibari cuisine delicacies such as grilled seafood, samoosas, cassava and sweet potatoes, goat meat, grilled octopus.



The Forodhani Gardens is the place to find some of the least expensive food on Zanzibar Island. Every night as the sun sets, the food vendors in the Forodhani Gardens fire up their grills to cook the fresh seafood caught during the day.