Ms Adventures in Travel and Technology
Dawn in Zanzibar

Dawn breaking in Zanzibar

Lonely Planet research begins...

Stone Town

STONE TOWN VIEWS

Kizimkazi

FISHING NETS DRYING

Kizimkazi

Test

weaving

MAKING KANGAS

With DADA co-op in Pete

Test

Tanzania & Zanzibar Research Trip 2014

Step off the boat or plane onto the Zanzibar Archipelago, and you’ll be transported through the centuries – to ancient Persia and tales of Shirazi merchants that inspired Sinbad the Sailor

Paula Hardy
My latest research trip took me to the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar and Tanzania’s capital city, Dar es Salaam. The contrast between the two couldn’t be more stark: Dar es Salaam is an emerging African metropolis high on US and Chinese investment that is fuelling an aggressive building boom. Zanzibar, by contrast, snoozes on the image of a honeymoon island.

Both places depend a huge amount on the foreign investment that tourism and business travel brings but neither are managing its implementation particularly well. In Dar es Salaam traffic is so bad you can barely get around the city while in Zanzibar basic infrastructure is almost non-existent. In both, tourist accommodation is polarised into the most basic backpacker hotels and multi-star luxury resorts. This is a huge shame as both the city and archipelago have so much to offer adventurous travellers.

My Top 5 Hotel Recommendations

It can’t be said enough, but where you stay really does matter in Zanzibar. All resorts are certainly not made equal and quite a few of them have come to resemble gilded cages where local communities are shut out behind high walls and people are kept at arms length by silly, obsequious service. To travel smart consider staying at one of these fantastic and affordable places.
Creative people doing good work

One of the best ways to give back when we travel is to seek out local artisans and creative entrepreneurs and support them by buying something unique and usually handcrafted. This time around I was really impressed by a number of new Zanzibari enterprises which are producing high quality products in contemporary designs.
The Seaweed Centre

Up and down Zanzibar’s east coast you’ll see local women harvesting seaweed. It’s the island’s second biggest economy after tourism. Most of the seaweed is sold on to a handful of large Asian buyers who export it to foreign markets where it is processed into the food and cosmetics industry. The Seaweed Centre in Paje is doing sterling work trying to increase the economic multiplier for the women who harvest it, which is why it deserves a special shout-out.

There was always more in the world than men could see, walked they ever so slowly.


- John Ruskin


Associations

  • Frontline Club – London
  • The Royal Geographical Society
  • British Guild of Travel Writers
  • Lonely Planet
  • Royal Academy of Arts