This post is the fifth in a set of publications which will describe the last trip I did in East Africa, back in August, leading me to Zanzibar and back again.
With constant swarms of tourists throughout the year, it is not surprising to know that Zanzibar has plenty of tours and trips for everyone. From nature trips to food tours, without forgetting the “Freddy Mercury Tour” ( He was born in Zanzibar, where he lived his first years), there are countless opportunities to experience the island.
Being short of time, I asked for recommendations to my new local friends who promptly suggested two tours in particular: the popular spice tour and the trip to the Jozani-Chwaka Bay monkey reserve.
The spice tour, the first one I did, was advertised as a way to get to know the local spices, the history of the spice trade and of the infamous slave trade, having been the third pillar of its economy.
The tour guides picked up our group at the Stone Town and brought us to a nearby forest, where we were shown several different spices and fruits (from vanilla to fresh cocoa beans and lychee trees).
After a walk filled with incredible flowers, plants and fruits (along the way we were able to take lychees branches. I don’t even remember how many I had…) the guides stopped us near some very tall palms. They turned out to be coconut palms.
As part of the tour, one of guides hugged the trunk, tied a rope around his feet and started climbing the immense palm. During the climb, he started singing a local song to give him strength (I would do it to just keep my mind busy and I would definitely shout a lot).
In about a minute he was at the top, fetching coconuts and tossing them down after loud warnings.
I got to try my first fresh coconut (still green and not the brown and hairy ones), freshly opened with a machete.
The last part of the tour included the optional visit to the Mangapwani Coral Cave and a traditional lunch.
The cave, as you might imagine, was dark, wet and huge and, by itself, not too exciting or interesting. We accessed it through some stairs going deep into the ground.
Once we all arrived, the guide started to tell the history of Zanzibar and explaining how it is believed that the Mangapwani cave (meaning ‘Arab shore’) was widely used as a hiding place for slaves after the trade was officially abolished (1873). That’s where it gets its other name: slave cave.
That bit of information made us all more aware of where we were; it also made me try to somewhat imagine how it must have been to be kept in there but I certainly failed at doing so.
A quick visit to the Mangapwani Beach, which connected to the cave, before heading for lunch.
A large meal consisting of rice, chapati and different types of curry, loads of them, waited for us at a traditional-looking hut. We had the chance to purchase spices as well as other products on the way back to the Stone Town, our final destination and the end of the tour.