We looked out of the window of our plane only to see a beautiful orange sky and turquoise waters below us. Feeling as if it were the perfect time, it was only appropriate to sing The Lion King soundtrack until we touched down, starting with the Circle of Life. When we arrived at our hotel in Stone Town, Katie and I snuck up to room eight to wake up and surprise Kira, Katie’s sister and reunite with Katie’s mom. After a quick breakfast of mango, samosas, mandazi and peppermint tea, Kira gave us a quick walking tour of Stone Town and then we hopped in a car and made our way towards the East Coast. On the way we stopped at Josani Chwaka Bay National Park where we got to visit and learn about mangroves and play with monkeys, sea turtles and land tortoises. I was so excited when we finally reached Evergreen Bungalows and was able to sink my feet in the white sandy beach. We spent the day walking and relaxing on the beach; after dinner we sat by a bon fire and were mesmerized by the glowing stars. The next morning we were out early for a day of snorkeling. We had a blast feeding the fish under water and swimming up close to the reef. We saw thousands of fish of all different colors and sizes. We even got caught in a rain storm and it was so much fun to see the rain pounding down on the ocean from below the water’s surface. We enjoyed a lunch of mangos, pineapple, and coconut on the water and when the weather cleared we spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. Kira was insistent that we took the Dala Dala, a type of minibus taxi, home and it was a chaotic and entertaining experience. When we arrived back in Stone Town we visited The Anglican Christ Church Cathedral, a church that was built on the site of a former slave market. The church was built to celebrate the end of slavery and to remember those whose lives were lost and destroyed during the trade. The alter was built on the site where the whipping post once stood, and the christening basin was built on the site where all of the children were killed because they were too young to work.
The rest of our time in Zanzibar was spent visiting Kira’s favorite shops, restaurants and beaches and saying goodbye to all the friends she made over the past four months. It was great to see Stone Town through her eyes and she has been working very hard to teach us about the culture and basic Swahili. Tomorrow we leave for Arusha where we will be departing for safari and I am so excited!!