Well after hiking Kilimanjaro and spending 3 days doing a safari, a week on Zanzibar sounded great. Lasse and I caught a flight the day after the safari was over to an island right off the coast of Tanzania called Zanzibar. We had a week scheduled here with nothing planned except to do some scuba diving. Upon arriving on the island, our hotel was located about 45 minutes away on the east side of the island. Talking the cab driver down to a decent price of $30 seemed pretty fair so we took it. Lasse had a buddy that visited the island a few years back and recommended the town of Paje to him. This is where we stayed and it is more laid back there and less ‘touristy’ than the northern part of the island. Arriving at our hotel, Arabian Nights, which was located down a dirt road, didn’t look too promising from the outside. Once inside, it was very neat and the receptionist warmly welcomed us to the hotel. Our room looked great and each morning the cleaners would make different animal designs out of the freshly washed towels. Although the hotel was located right on the beach, we could not afford a room looking out over the water.
The beach was beautiful and since the holiday season had not yet begun, there were not many people at all. In Paje the biggest activity is wind surfing, since the water is about knee to waist deep for 1/2 a mile. A constant breeze was always coming up off the ocean which kept the temperature relatively nice. Walking out into the ocean, it felt like bath water. The Indian Ocean is super warm and was enjoyable to hang out in.
One of the first orders of business after getting all checked into the hotel was to find food. Both of us were famished and tired of eating buffets that served the same food day after day. Walking around the little town of Paje, we stumbled upon our soon to be local lunch spot for the remaining time. Hot in Africa Bar and Restaurant, served us one of the best burgers that we had eaten in a very long time! This is what kept us coming back to the spot day after day and ordering a delicious bacon cheeseburger. It was homemade and so fresh that the only way we could figure out why it took an hour to prepare and make a burger and fries is the chef had to go kill the cow himself. It was a little hole in the wall place with a sand floor but boy was it yummy!!!
Feeling human again after getting some food in the body, we walked around the tiny town a little more and then made our way back to the beach. A local dive shop wasn’t too far away so we popped in and ended up booking 6 dives over the course of three days. This would keep us entertained in the mornings for a few days. Walking back to the hotel, we relaxed on the beach chairs and tried to figure out what else we might end up doing. It was concluded that we would catch the local transportation called the ‘dala dala’ into Stonetown one of the days. This was the main city on the island and a place we had to check out. After a local hustler started talking to us, he convinced us into renting some motorbikes for a day. Since I had been deprived from riding, the $25 price tag didn’t seem too bad. We told him that we were going to rent two motorbikes later on in the week. Well, first day in Zanzibar and we managed to eat a fabulous lunch, relax on the beach, watch some wind surfers, and plan out the next days of the vacation.