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Scouting Out Zanzibar

By Judith Matloff / August 30, 1995



How to get there There are direct flights to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and from Mombasa, Kenya, but these can be unreliable. The easiest way to get to Zanzibar is via hydrofoil from Dar es Salaam. It takes 70 minutes, and there are at least four trips a day with the Sea Express company. First class is US$35, second class $30. Where to stay There are many cheap and clean guest houses; you can just show up and get a room. Those looking for old-world elegance at $60 a night should opt for Mazsons (tel. 255-54-33694, fax 255-54-33695) or the sister hotels, Dhow Palace and Tembo (reservations tel. 255-54-330-12 or 255-54-330-05). What to eat Zanzibari food is similar to Goan - sumptuous curries with a strong emphasis on coconut. Reasonably priced prawns and lobster are plentiful. Good eateries in Stone Town are Fisherman's Restaurant on Shangani Street (good seafood) and Sea View Indian Restaurant on Mizingani Street (it has the best location, on a balcony overlooking the harbor). For the best curries, try Camlurs, behind the African House Hotel. What to do Around town there are many historical buildings, including the National Museum, old Persian baths, and old slave market. Myriad ruins are scattered across the island. There are many day trips - tours of spice plantations, visits to the pristine white beaches with their coral reefs, and snorkeling. Jozani Forest southeast of the town is a sanctuary for rare red colobus monkeys. Those who want to get away from it all can visit less-developed islands such as Pemba and Prison Island. The easiest way to get around the island is to hire a taxi. The tourist office by the harbor will provide details on what is worth seeing and how to get there. A full-day taxi excursion should cost $25 to $35, depending on where you go. There is a $5 immigration fee; hotels often demand payment in dollars.

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