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Zanzibar - An African Beach Paradise

In May this year, I received an email from our product team asking if I’d be interested in visiting Zanzibar. I'd be staying at the Hideaway of Nungwi Resort and Spa. To say I was excited would be a gross understatement: I was over the moon.

This was my first trip to Zanzibar but it certainly won't be my last. At the end of the week-long journey I left the island awestruck. Zanzibar truly is a magical destination and in my opinion should be included on every East Africa itinerary.

By way of introduction: I am one of Go2Africa’s Travel Experts but also an avid photographer. An Africa travel enthusiast at heart, I've naturally developed a keen interest in travel photography and while on the road I try to capture the essence of the destination by focusing on the visual gems that grab my attention.

Travelling with my partner Anja, our goal was to experience as much of Zanzibar as possible and our local operator - Fisherman Tours - ensured we did just that. What follows is the first section of a three-part photo essay sharing a little bit about what attracted me in each photograph. I hope you enjoy the journey.


The postcard-perfect view from Hideaway of Nungwi Resort.
The postcard-perfect view from Hideaway of Nungwi Resort.

Zanzibar is famous for its white sandy beaches and Nungwi Beach on the north-west coast lives up to expectations. 

I took this photograph from the Hideaway of Nungwi – yes, this is the view from the resort - with my GoPro camera. It's one of my favourite travel cameras: I love the ultra-wide angle of the lens and since it's so small, it's easy to carry around.

I like this image because it captures the essence of Nungwi Beach in a single glance. The sailing dhows in the foreground are typical of Zanzibar while the beautiful calm water and clean white beach complete the idyllic scene.

Fishing dhows lie on the beach after a busy morning.
Fishing dhows lie on the beach after a busy morning.

On our first morning at the resort we took a walk on Nungwi Beach. As we walked I was fascinated by what was going on. Scattered across the beach were small fishing dhows resting after a busy morning while their crews mended nets in preparation for the next day.

These four dhows caught my attention because it was clear they had been used earlier that morning. In the background, three fishermen can be seen cleaning out their boat. Behind that, and in complete contrast, is a large luxury catamaran. This is typical of Nungwi – it's a captivating mix of authentic African culture and luxurious holiday resorts, something that we saw regularly throughout our trip.

Shady beach salas are the perfect place to sip a cocktail.
Shady beach salas offer the perfect place to relax & sip a cocktail

While on a site inspection at the new Gold of Zanzibar resort (also on Nungwi Beach) I took this photograph. Here I wanted to show Nungwi through the eyes of the traveller. With the large palm-leaf salas and comfy beach recliners, it’s the ultimate beach destination. Who wouldn’t want to relax on one of those recliners with a pina colada in hand, watching the world go by?

If you have done your research on Zanzibar, you will know that the island is generally very tidal. At its highest point, the tide covers most of the beaches around the island while it can be a long walk to the water from the resort during low tide. Happily, the tidal effect at Nungwi is not as marked and the beach can be enjoyed throughout the day.

West-facing Nungwi enjoys spectacular sunsets.
West-facing Nungwi enjoys spectacular sunsets.

Once again, I took this photograph from the Hideaway of Nungwi Resort. Being on Zanzibar's west coast, Nungwi enjoys the most incredible sunsets. The beautifully golden light here is typical of any African sunset and I loved the jagged shape of the coastline. The building on the right is one of the restaurants at La Gemma dell’Est resort. Imagine sitting there at sunset with a glass of champagne!

Interestingly, Zanzibar has an abundance of coral limestone - evidence that the island was once covered by the sea. You can clearly see the coral rock outcrops along the Nungwi coastline in this picture. 

Dhows will whisk you away for a 'desert island' picnic.
Dhows will whisk you away for a 'desert island' picnic.

Nungwi Beach is not the only place in Zanzibar where you can stroll on pristine beaches. During low tide, small sand islands emerge from the ocean, ideal for a 'Robinson Crusoe' island experience and accessible by dhow. We spent an afternoon on one of these islands, exploring a nearby coral reef and enjoying sublime swimming conditions. The day trip included a seafood barbeque on the island prepared by our personal chef.

I enjoyed taking this photograph because it again depicts the unique character of Zanzibar. During our trip I developed a fascination for the traditional dhows since they are such an integral part of Zanzibar daily life. I included Stone Town, the island's historic capital, in the background to complete the scene. 

Read more about a Zanzibar holiday or browse our recommended Zanzibar accommodation.

Written by Stuart Parker. Connect with him on Google+.

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