For the most part of my trip to Zanzibar, I was alone when we hit the beaches of Nungwi. It is situated at the northernmost point, the tip of Zanzibar and we hopped on a large taxi to get there. It takes about an hour from the beaches of Nungwi back to the airport.
Whilst my fellow mates wanted to laze around and did not have spare cash to afford a more comfortable stay, I opted for a better option to stay in by walking around the stretches of resorts. I bumped into a local and made friends with him for the better part of my next few days. He was so friendly and nice to me, although his intentions were more than that. Nevertheless I am absolutely grateful to have met him that day, for it gave me courage to go about and have a short vacation on my own.
The sunsets everyday were amazing, the beaches were dotted with many fishing boats which have been out since the break of dawn. I took a stroll every evening, just taking in the seaside air and enjoyed the feeling of soft sand crumpling between my toes.
I picked one of the days to go on a snorkelling tour, whereby I joined a whole other group of people and we headed to an island in the middle of nowhere. An island which is not inhabited at all, the waters so crystal clear I could not believe it.
Ive never seen a cleaner shoreline than this and we had lunch made of fresh caught fish from the sea.
Our snorkelling took place in equally crystal clear waters.
On the way back as the boat dropped off people to their respective resorts, I couldnt help but notice the more luxurious and expensive bungalow resorts along the coast.
It was unreal plainly because no one gets the real picture of what is behind these resorts. About 400m behind all of these beautiful resorts, the local people live in stone houses with no roads and no electricity. The locals live in darkness and with so little food, every morning most of them walk the little paths to the shore and work as waiters and cooks, serving burgers and fish and chips to tourists. Its unthinkable to imagine that this portrayal of paradise for tourism and poverty lives adjacent to one another. I was stunned when my local friend took me back to his home area, and the children were thin without clothes, the women trying to cook over charcoal. I don’t think this is particularly uncommon in Africa, but the reality of this stark contrast in environments really hit me and has remained with me ever since.
We can look at Africa as tourism do, a large continent with so much to explore, wild animals to capture on safaris, lodges and wildlife enticing us urban people. We can look at the continent as a place to help people, to volunteer on our monthly projects and what not. But do people actually bring home this message that the people are still suffering clearly, and it is not as always exotic and pretty as it seems? The region is so vast and huge I can barely think of what it would take to turn it around. All I can say is that though they may be poverty stricken, many of the children are smart and they rejoice in simple things such as pumping water from the ground and making faces into your camera. They welcome you with open arms, they sing to you their national anthem. So much potential in these people, its such a shame for them to be living in these conditions.
Zanzibar wrapped up my one month stay in Africa and it sealed my love for this continent. I have every intention to go back, to go to other parts.