A frequent TRVLBUGZ-flyer would not notice it, but we did not have a real TRVL-adventure for almost a whole year. We shared some romance in Turin and explored la vie en Paris, but our annual ‘to a galaxy far, far away’ trip still needed to be booked. And with the dark and cold December pacing towards us, it was time to act… now! We longed for Bounty beaches, crystal blue oceans, palm trees, an endless cocktail line-up and lots of soaking up the sun. In other words, we wanted a Zanzibar vacation! And thus we booked our ticket to the tropics.
I must confess: we have visited Zanzibar before. About three years ago. That time our TRVLBUGZ blog did not exist and the memories of that magnificent first trip only remains in our hearts and minds. What a marvelous first encounter it was. A Zanzibar vacation is not only special for its tropical paradise, did you know that its also the island where Farrokh Bulsara grew up? Or in other words, it is where Freddie Mercury used to live! As a big Queen fan, this felt like a very special bonus for visiting Zanzibar.
Once you go Zanzibar, you will always go back!
A Zanzibar vacation has so much to offer, in only a 10 hours flight you will have the opportunity to spend your tropical vacation at some amazing resorts, you can swim with dolphins, deep dive into a magical coral reef, leave your footprints on some beautiful white sandy beaches, gape at possibly the bluest oceans you have ever seen, visit the Unesco Stone Town city (as said, where Freddie spent his youth), taste and smell the worlds’ finest spices and, above all, enjoy the hospitality of the friendly culture and locals.
After such a wonderful first experience, it was without doubt that we had to go back. And so we did. But this time with less exploring and more relaxing on the beaches and at the swimming pool.
We booked our flight via TUI, who offered a very affordable and comfortable all-in-one package. With this I mean: flight, resort, all-inclusive, for ten days. Ten days of treating ourselves like kings and queens, sounded good!
The resort we chose for our Zanzibar vacation was The Sultan Sands, a very cosy and luxury resort that felt like home from the moment we arrived. What we liked most about this resort, was the superb buffet, the spacious and modern swimming pool, but most of all the fact that its white beaches are within a 10-meter walking distance of the ocean (high tide). And lets not forget working WiFi (this can be a challenge on Zanzibar) and airconditioned rooms.
Be ware of the Beach Boys (not the band)
Before you read on and start planning your trip: be sure to pack the strongest suntan lotion you have, as the Zanzibar sun is strong (especially when you travel in November). I thought I was safe with level 30, but still got a heavy sun burn after our first day in the sun. My body went lobster all over, which also made us decide to skip snorkeling to prevent even worse.
On our second day in Zanzibar we met up with our ‘regular driver’ and friend Mohammed, who we met during our previous visit to the island. When you travel around the island, I recommend to arrange your own private chauffeur to avoid crazy taxi fees and weird drivers.
Mohammed is a driving ‘tourism office’, as he knows all about the island, knows all the people and also organizes some amazing tours and trips. But today we just wanted to visit Stone Town, to buy spices, visit the recently openend Freddie Mercury museum, have a nice Zanzibar massage and to watch the sun go down.
The city of Stone Town is an Unesco Heritage and actually the only ‘normal’ city on the island. The city has a fascinating history and scrolling through the small streets is quite an adventure. I was also very impressed by the Freddie Mercury museum, which was small, but nevertheless had a very interesting collection and also a piano that Freddie used to play on.
When you visit Stone Town – or Zanzibar in general – you will be approached by many locals or ‘beach boys’ who either want to become your new best friend or sell you excursions, spices etc. This can be quite annoying. I have tried answering them in different languages than English, like German or Italian, hoping to drive them away. But guess what, these guys speak and understand all, ha ha. So here is a tip that DOES work, if you want to get rid off them: you can either ignore them and just say nothing (this asks lots of patience) OR say that you will be flying back home tomorrow. This will only works if they ‘harass’ you for tours or excursion though.
Fast forward to ‘a kind of magic’…
The first cool additional thing about this trip, is that my girlfriend managed to arrange a one night stay in a 5-star luxury resort, all-inclusive! We decided to plan our luxury upgrade at the magnificent Tulia resort in the midst of our vacation, as a small break inside a small break. I have never experienced a 5-star resort on a tropical island before, thus was very much looking forward to what to expect.
Upon arrival at Tulia it felt like we were treated like ‘royals’. We received a large plate of fresh welcome fruit and a small tour around the resort, the first impression was truly amazing. And the rooms… the rooms… wow! I will let the pictures do the talking for a look and feel.
As for ‘a kind of magic’ and also the second cool thing of our Zanzibar vacation, for which Tulia was a perfect location… asking my girlfriend and TRVLBUGZ companion to marry me! Oh my god, those exciting moments. Shirley has been teasing me about this for a while, and I always said that I would only ask her if the location was right. And what a right location it was! A tropical island, a bounty beach, palm trees and a 5-star resort, could a girl ask for more?
Choosing your moment is quite the challenge, which depends on the right flow. That flow arrived when Shirley was filled with joy after viewing some amazing Zanzibar starfish, a thing that has also been on her bucket list. When I decided to go for it, I lured her to a small ‘private beach’ – “There is this enormous crab you must see!! Quick!! – and popped the question.
Spending time in 7th heaven
And guess what, she said YES!! What a lucky man I was and still am. Not only because spending time on Zanzibar once again felt like spending time in paradise, but when someone chooses to spend his or her life with you, for now and for ever… its like 7th heaven. We were even rewarded with an extra day of romance on the island, due to a fifteen-hour flight delay!
So there you have it, a TRVLBUGZ story about WHY you should visit Zanzibar at least once in a lifetime. Who knows, this amazing island will also bring you some true love.
Ps. A special thanks to both the Sultan Sands and Tulia resort for sharing your amazing world with us and making us feel more than welcome.