From stone town we took a "spices trip". There’s a short version (9:00-14:00) and a long version (9:00-16:00), which includes lunch and an hour visit to Mangapwani beach. We took the long version from the hotel, and it cost us $10 per person. The tour was very interesting, lunch was simple but very tasty, and the beach was amazing. After we returned we learned that there are special natural caves in the beach itself, which our guide failed to mention. Be sure to ask him about it, so you won’t miss it like we did.
One of the interesting stuff we learned on the tour (and didn't know) is that Zanzibar used to be the base camp for the Arab slave traders. They used to go to the mainland, kidnap young men and women and bring them to Zanzibar. There, they imprisoned them in small cells (you'll see that on the tour) and sell them for slavery .
The safari itself lasted 7 days starting with 2 days in lake Manyara and Serengeti park, then Ngrongro Crater , a visit to the Bushman and the Toga tribes and finishing with Trangirie national park . It was an amazing experience, we saw all "big Five" - a term which refers to the big African animals = lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo. We didn't witness any prey but we did see a lion and a lioness mating.
There are the eastern beaches and there are the northern beaches and they are totally different. The hotel manager in Kendwa explained us that there are also east coast people and north coast People. So what’s the difference? Well, the eastern beaches are secluded. The water is clear and unbelievable turquoise colored. There are palm trees, coconut trees, and there is almost nothing on the beach strips, hardly any hotels and no crowd. you’ll probably be all by yourselves. Besides reading a book, watching the water and the local fishermen, eating in the the hotel restaurant there's nothing much to do. Still you can rent a bike and paddle on the beach, get your hair braided or enjoy a relaxing massage. When the tide is low you can’t go inside the water but you can see some crabs, sea urchin etc.
In the northern beaches you can bath all day long, but they are not as beautiful as the easterns and they are packed with tourists. The hotels are close to one another, there are pubs and restaurants, and the beaches are more crowded (in Zanzibar terms, which mean that the closest person will probably be about 50 meters away). For a group of friends I recommend renting some motorbikes and drive to the east coasts just to check it out, but I think they will find it a bit boring. For couples, well, it’s up to you. If you feel like spending some time alone, start with the north and move on east. If you want to mingle a bit, start with the east and then make your way up north.
In Tangerine Park you mostly see elephants. It can be a nice attraction for a first day safari trip but when it's on your last day it simply not interesting any more. We traveled at the end of June; the flora was too high so even if there were other interesting animals it would have been really hard to track them down. At the end we did managed to see two lionesses watching after a buffalo body that they probably killed a day before, and we also saw their cubs from a distance. In retrospect we could have given up that day and end the Safari a day earlier or add another day at Serengeti which is a huge park with unexpected surprises.
The Visit to the Buchman and toga tribes is A must. Without it one can't comprehend why Africa is so poor and faltering. Its a 3 and half hour drive in a rough and bumpy roads (each way). It is a surrealistic visit - visiting a tribe who lives in the bushes (Bushman's) joining them in their hunt. Make sure you come with high shoes and a lot of energy, these guys sure knows how to run bare foot. After 2 hours of running and zero catch we got tiered and asked to return. fortunately they finally caught a dove ,built up a fire , cooked it and ate the dove right there and then. They offered us a bite but we kindly refused.
The next tribe we visited was the Toga – went inside their mud hats, watched them dancing for us. In every visit you'll be joined by a local guide, who knows their language and whereabouts. You are expected to give something to the people which can be old cloths or shoes, food, candies etc. Children were fascinated with pens. We just gave some money. Insist on giving it to them people directly and not to the local guide. I saw him dividing the money in 2 pockets so I am not sure what they got in the end.
Dinner, after a long day...