Insiders view on Zanzibar

The Wanderers in conversation with Niall Anderson

Everything the guide books or tourism websites won’t tell you about the place.

One little known fact/trivia that everyone should know about when travelling to Zanzibar?

Zanzibar is home to the most endangered antelope in Africa – Ader’s Duiker.

They number less than 500 on the planet, and can be found in Jozani Forest and on Mnemba Island.

What is a must buy when in Zanzibar?

Kikois – the traditional and colourful, Zanzibari multi-purpose item of clothing that can be worn as a wrap, a scarf, head dress, or used simply as a blanket or throw.

One take-away after a visit to Zanzibar..

You will never see whiter sand or an ocean so turquoise blue!

What is your advice to first time travellers?

Bring lots of sunscreen!

One thing to definitely pack when travelling to…

Swimming costume…

One activity anyone travelling to Zanzibar should not miss!

A sunset Dhow cruise across the ocean.

Where should anyone, travelling to Zanzibar, definitely get their picture taken?

On a local Dhow sailing across the ocean

On the beach at Mnemba Island

Under water on the Mnemba house reef

Which is the best place to get a panoramic photo?

The best place to get a panoramic photo is off a local Dhow sailing in the ocean, looking back at Zanzibar or Mnemba Island.

Best place to enjoy sunset/sunrise?

Sipping a cocktail on the beach at Mnemba Island!

Most romantic place to take a special someone to.

Mnemba Island – your private island!

Best place in Zanzibar to have local food?

Foradhani garden in Stone Town

Your favourite local dish and drink that you would recommend?

Zanzibar Curry and a dawa!

A local cocktail made of vodka, lime and honey, ‘dawa’ means medicine, or poison in Swahili – Depends how much you drink!

One place only the locals would know.

Jozani Forest!

Zanzibar’s only national park, search for rare birds, Red Colobus monkey, Ader’s Duiker and Suni here.

The best pub and best place to catch up for a drink?

Sundowners with live music at Livingstone, or on the roof at Maru Maru hotel, both in Stone Town.

A local festival you feel more travellers should come and see?

Sauti Busara, an annual African music festival, which takes place in historic Stone Town, attracting artists from all over the world. It had been dubbed the ‘friendliest festival on the planet’.

The things guide books will not tell anyone about Zanzibar?

The best samosas and biryani in East Africa can be bought at Passing Show, a local restaurant near Zanzibar port in Stone Town.

Is there any particular month you would not recommend travel to Zanzibar and what would that reason be?

April & May, as this is the rainy season in Zanzibar

In one sentence, Zanzibar is the exotic spice island.

Niall Anderson is the Regional Director for Tanzania with &Beyond, which he joined six years ago. Settled in Arusha, Niall takes on exciting challenges in leading teams around Tanzania.

Check out our package on Tanzania

Day at Ile Aux Coco in Mauritius

By Anand Pandit

Mine goes like this. Rise up in the morning, go to a largely secluded island, laze on pristine white sand, go for a swim, have a wonderful meal, and take in some wonderful flora and fauna. Normally it’s pretty difficult to get all of this on one excursion. There’s always been something missing from my Wishlist above, wherever I have been to.

Farah, who so wonderfully planned my honeymoon vacation, had recommended that we spend a day at Ile Aux Coco during our stay in Mauritius.  When I look back, the trip to the island was the best part of a already great vacation. Fish around Ile Aux Coco –sights that need to be seen, cannot be described.

We were whisked off to Ile Aux Coco on a speedboat in the morning. As you approach the island, the sight of the clear blue sea and the mangroves already fills you with a sense of delight. We were greeted by an amazingly courteous and friendly bunch of staff at the island. While the standards of hospitality are really high in Mauritius, wait till you get to Ile Aux Coco. The staff is extremely high on service quality, and go to that extra mile to make you feel comfortable (such as getting a curry dish especially made for us, once they got to know we were from India, though we didn’t have to ask for it at all!)

Ile Aux Coco as we approach it, notice the white sand

If you want to laze on the beach, Ile Aux Coco is the place to be. Wonderful white sand, and just the right temperature and breeze, to lie on the beach while sipping a relaxing drink. If you are the active sorts, Ile Aux Coco gives you the option to go snorkeling and/or a glass boat ride. This is highly recommended, as the vibrancy of sea life that you see here is unparalleled.

After your snorkeling getaway, when you want to sit down for a nice meal, there’s a wonderful barbeque waiting for you. You might think the natural beauty of the island and the water life around it is unmatched by any experience, but the lunch spread does come pretty close!

All in all, it was an experience to savour and something me and my wife would remember throughout our life. If you’re going to Mauritius, you just can’t give Ile Aux Coco a miss.