There’s something about the ocean that makes you feel alive. The sound of the waves, the smell of the sea and the barefoot lifestyle. Spending time at the beach makes you feel relaxed, rejuvenated & happy. And for us, there’s very little we don’t enjoy about the beach and any opportunity we can snatch to do so, we take it.
When people think of Africa, generally speaking, the first thing comes to mind is the incredible wildlife, the safaris and the game reserves. Well, I’m here to tell you that just off the coast of Tanzania, there is a small piece of paradise known as, Zanzibar.
This small idyllic island is made up of white sand, swaying palm trees, turquoise waters, acres of spice plantations and fresh seafood. You might just say this is the perfect place to unwind after experiencing the world-class safaris in Tanzania or Kenya.
One of the challenges of visiting Zanzibar is that it can be hard to decide which town or beach you want to go to. If you open Booking.com, you’re spoilt for choice with places to stay. It was hard for us to decide but the moment we saw the rooms at Seasons Lodge Zanzibar, we were sold.
Seasons Lodge Zanzibar
” Your personal private paradise “
Seasons Lodge is a gem of a hotel located on the east coast of Zanzibar in a small beach town by the name of Pongwe. This hotel, run by a Ugandan-Irish family has been open for only 5 years and it is one heck of a place to relax and take in the Zanzibar lifestyle.
The emphasis put on Seasons Lodge is eco and environmentally friendly. Every single detail throughout the property has been carefully handmade from local sources, including the individual rocks that make up the walls in all of the villa rooms. There is no need for energy heavy air-con throughout the property, the whole room remains open with screen doors providing natural ventilation with cool breeze directly from the ocean.
We were shown to our villa through a beautiful door and were instantly blown away. Not only were the rooms absolutely stunning, the sound of the ocean was immediate, it felt so close as though we could reach out touch it. We felt the salt on our skin just by standing on our deck.
Spending just under a week here really was paradise. Our rooms felt like a home away from home with extreme privacy and ample space.
During our 3-week overland tour through Eastern Africa, showering with hot water was rare, so you can only imagine the joy when we discovered their bathroom. Do you know how great it is when you find a bathtub that you can actually fit in? Hea-ven!
Our bed was perfectly located to watch the sunrise every morning, without moving a muscle (our alarms were on at 6:30 am every morning!) and the rooms were equipped with everything you could possibly need. The whole design of the property was consistent with a rustic, yet classy feel.
One of our favourite aspects of Seasons Lodge was the atmosphere; very calming & extremely peaceful. Something everyone wants on their holiday, right?
We spent our days chatting with the staff, relaxing by the pool or on a hammock, consuming rosé on the balcony (possibly more than we should have) while overlooking the stunningly turquoise ocean. We attempted to kayak until we realised the tide was heading out, read books, ate delicious food, played pool & ping pong and of course, admired the ocean directly in front of the property.
Despite the ever-changing tide and the unfortunate seaweed on occasions, we couldn’t have picked a better place to end our time in Africa.
Drone footage for the win!
The food in Zanzibar, something very important to us, was entirely different to that in the rest of Africa. Our staple diet during our overland tour consisted of carbs on carbs on carbs. Chapati (bread) with rice, potatoes and beans. Don’t get me wrong, we love our carbs but we were definitely looking forward to the fresh seafood and spices of Zanzibar. During our stay at Seasons Lodge, there was great emphasis on locally grown food, including produce from their own spice garden.
Wherever you wanted your food delivered, it was delivered. Breakfast in bed, lunch by the pool, dinner in your own private seating? You got it. It was refreshing to try so many different dishes with so many different flavours, in such a perfectly serene setting. We had a range of cuisines from Mediterranean to Mexican to fresh seafood and everything in between.
One of the best things about Zanzibar, or islands for that matter is everything being relatively close together. They say everything in Zanzibar is roughly one hour away and getting from A – B is relatively painless, although taxis are not necessarily the cheapest. Here are a few of Zanzibar’s other highlights.
Please note that Zanzibar is 99% Muslim therefore when you are walking off the beach in the villages, it is very important to cover your knees and shoulders. Do not walk around in your bikini or swim shorts.
Nungwi is the second largest village located on the northern tip of Zanzibar. You’ll find the most concentrated amount of hotels, resorts, restaurants, water sports, diving, beautiful turquoise watered beaches and parties in Nungwi, making it the perfect place for solo backpackers or people looking for a lively holiday.
Certain bars and clubs have a rotation basis for parties as well as sunset booze cruises, so ask around and the locals will tell you where to go. Due to the location of this village (far north), the tidal level of water on the beach is not affected like it is in the eastern beach towns which have dramatic high and low tides.
Paje is one of the liveliest beach towns (second to Nungwi) and is located on the east coast of Zanzibar. The beach in Paje is known to be one of the most popular places in the world for kite surfing but it wasn’t until we ventured down here for the day on a motorbike that we noticed just how popular!
The ocean was filled with eager kite surfers, both beginners and advanced. You’ll find a variety of places offering lessons and rentals. This beach is one of the nicest beaches in Zanzibar, perfect for swimming, relaxing or grabbing something to eat on the sand.
Stone Town is the major city of Zanzibar and is a must visit for a minimum of 2 days. The cultural and historical capital has a unique mixture of architecture with influences of Arab, Persian, Indian and European components. Stone Town is a great place to learn about the history of Zanzibar and you can get lost in the small alleyways, visit museums, explore the Old Fort, grab a sunset cocktail at 6 Degrees South and enjoy a typical Zanzibar pancake at Forodhani Gardens night markets where you’ll find over 30 different vendors.
Perched on top of a rock in the middle of the Indian Ocean is the “The Rock“. A one of a kind restaurant with 360-degree views of the ocean surrounding you.
During high tide, a boat is required to access the restaurant but during low tide, you can walk along the makeshift path to reach it. They have set eating times in 2-hour increments starting at 12:00 pm until 8:00 pm daily. Was it the best food & service we had in Zanzibar? Unfortunately not, but the views, the wine and unique value of the restaurant were worth it. The Rock is located south-east of the island, on the Michamwi Pingwe Peninsula.
Zanzibar was our last stop on our East African adventure and I’m not the slightest bit surprised that we left this continent filled with love more than we did before. Africa is one of these places we try and organise a trip back to before we’ve even left!
NB: Our stay was made possible in partnership with Seasons Lodge Zanzibar. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are, as always, our own.
Married Days Survived; 907