originally published : September 16, 2014
Since we only had four days in Dar Es Salaam, my mom and i thought we would check out the famous Zanzibar; a large island approximately an hour to an hour and a half away from Dar by ferry boat. Sunday we took the very first ferry at 7 am to Zanzibar so we could spend a whole day there.
We met up with our guide in Zanzibar who took us to a local spice farm. The farm was a collective of a few families who all lived on the farm and helped to grow different spices and fruits. We were shown how they grow spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, peppercorn, ginger, turmeric and many others. They explained to us the uses for each different spice and showed us how they can be used to make natural cosmetic products like soaps and perfumes. They also showed us one of the local homes as an example of the ways coconut trees can be used in daily life. The locals recycled almost every piece of the coconut. They drank and ate the coconut water and meat also used the coconut meat to make coconut milk. They used the coconut tree bark and shells as shingles for their outdoor kitchens. Also, they used the string from the outside of the coconut, twisted together to make rope. I was so impressed at how they were so inventive and how little goes to waste.
Our next stop was a hidden cave that was used to smuggle slaves after slavery was ‘abolished’ in Zanzibar. We learned that there were tunnels that lead to the ocean so that the slaves could be smuggled in and out without the slave traders getting caught. The cave was deep and dark and had jagged rocks all over. Only a sliver of light. It was a really scary place. We wanted to see what it might have felt like being down in this dark tunnel and so we tried to climb through it but only made it halfway. It was so upsetting to think of what people had to go through to obtain their freedom and made me feel extremely grateful!
Stone Town was our final stop before we had to catch the last ferry to Dar Es Salaam, the streets were the size of an alleyway, covered in cobblestone, with beautifully detailed doors with Arabic and Indian influence. Stonetown, just like the rest of Zanzibar has a rich history, in the 1800’s it was used as the ‘slave market’ where slaves were kept and auctioned off. Walking through Stone town was so interesting. Every street had people selling fruits, vegetables and crafts. We constantly had to jump to the side of the road for the scooters that rushed by. In stone town, we saw many tourists, which i thought was kind of cool that people came to see the history of Zanzibar, instead of just visiting the beaches. We left on the last ferry at 3:30 pm after our packed day in Zanzibar, and we were so glad we got to see it at least for one day.