Cost of going to Zanzibar for 4 days and 3 nights with my 2 buddies: ~$315 U.S. (per person)
Transportation to and from various places in Zanzibar + hotel for 3 nights (1 night in Zanzibar, 2 nights in Nungwi) was $100 U.S.
Flight, roundtrip from Kilimanjaro Int’l Airport was $215.
Because we are flying on Precision Air, they provide shuttles from their local ticketing offices to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). I left Moshi town on the shuttle, Tish and Mario departed from Arusha. The first van left without them, but Tish was able to get a second shuttle to the airport.
At the airport, Tish and Mario got a beer for me to try, while Tish enjoyed a large bar of Snickers. It was “Tusker”, a nice refreshing beer, kind of like a Heineken. Beers here are sold by 1/2-litres, the bottles are pretty big. Soon, we boarded the plane, and we headed straight to Zanzibar. The flight actually has its final destination in Dar es Salaam, and Precision Air runs a route from KIA->Zanzibar->Dar–>KIA.
The view from the plane got all of us so excited to go to Zanzibar, all we saw were long stretches of beaches and nice blue water. We arrived at the airport in the afternnon, and exchanged some U.S. dollars to Tshillings (1 dollar to 1240 Tshillings was the rate). We met our guide, Mr. Pando, who drove us from the airport to our hotel, Safari Lodge, in Stone Town for the night.
Safari Lodge was a cute place. The lodge was a nice hotel. The room had a TV, a safe, a good bathroom, and A/C. We dropped our stuff and met our guide again downstairs. He showed us how we can get to the Darajani Market, and said we should also go to the seaside night market / seafood bbq by the House of Wonders later tonight. He left us to explore town, and agreed to meet us at 8am to go to Nungwi tomorrow.
We walked about 15-20 minutes to go to the Darajani Market. On the way there, we bought young coconuts for a couple hundred tshillings. The Darajani Market was a crazy place. We saw a bunch of vans packed with people, street vendors of all sorts. All we could smell was exhaust and every now and then, we’d smell fish. Vendors were selling all kinds of stuff: mangos, avocados, fish, spices, wifebeaters with G-Unit on it, bongo flavour cd’s, kitchenware, mattresses, mosquito nets, shoes, clothing, meat, jackfruits, veggies and more fruits…
The Darajani Market is one of the tourist attractions in Zanzibar, so bargaining wasn’t easy. Everywhere u go, people would try to rip u off. Tish, Mario, and I ended up buying a bunch of spices–Marsala, curry [333 tshillings for a packet of spices] and Vanilla Beans [~$2.5 for 10 vanilla beans]. Tish knows a bit of Swahili and charmed a few vendors and bought a ton of oranges for a very little money (don’t remember how much, but she got like 6-7 oranges for a buck). We also bought mangos (they were 400 Tshillings I think, super large and sweet). Mr. Mango was very nice too! Mario wanted to try Jackfruit and bought a huuuuge piece of jackfruit for 500 tshillings (I think that’s how much it was).
With our hands full of stuff from the market, we walked back towards the Safari Lodge, and sat down on the beach/pier to eat our fruits! Not too far from us was the House of Wonders, and around 6 or so, we started seeing smoke coming out from that area. We knew the BBQ was starting. We returned to the hotel room to freshen up, and we went to the BBQ for dinner!
That night market was one of the main highlights of the trip. Everything is about 1000-2000 Tshillings. There was a ton of seafood: squid, octopus, fish, shrimp, fish cakes, plantains/bananas, fried dough, doughnuts, bread, and best of all the food was the Zanzibar Pizza.
There was a few vendors that sold the Zanzibar Pizza. The guy would start off with a piece of dough smaller than a golf ball, and start kneading it to the limits. It would become a very thin piece of dough about 6-7 inches in diameter. Then they would pan fry another piece of dough until it’s crispy, and put it on top of that thin piece of dough for strength.
The vendor would then scoop in some chopped onions, some sort of meat, tomatoes, and beat it with an egg (eggs here in East Africa has yolks that are off-white, and not yellow!). Then using the outer edges, the pizza is then pan fried on top of a stove. Yummmm.. and the guy adds a ton of oil to make it crispy too. We also discovered that the Zanzibar Pizza also comes in dessert form: bananas and chocolate syrup!
Tish and I were a HUUUUGE FAN of the Zanzibar Pizza, we just wanted more and more. After we stuffed ourselves with tons of seafood, we stopped by an Indian restaurant on the way back to the hotel. We had lassi, which is a kind of flavoured milk! It was very delicious The owner came to talk to us and chatted with us for some time about the history of Zanzibar, and how he had a horrifying trip to New York back in the 80s…
We were so full and tired, food coma got us, we returned to the hotel, showered and slept like babies. I watched a little of the movie where 50 cent was in.. not sure what movie that was, but I need to remember to finish the movie when I get back to Boston.