On Zanzibar, our hotel was right in the middle of Stone Town, the ancient part of the capital, Zanzibar City, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I had picked a city hotel, instead of a resort, because I figured that there would be a multitude of things to do/see/eat in the old city and I’m too light to spend three days at the beach.
In truth, dividing a half-day between walking around, a meal and visiting the Sultan’s palace left the rest of the day with nothing to do.
Stone Town would be an absolute tourist mecca if East Africa were developed, but, unfortunately, that won’t be the case for some time.
So, after spending most of the afternoon drinking at the hotel restaurant and reading, I found an activity on TripAdvisor that sounded interesting: a visit to a spice farm.
Dad – he of the horticulture degree – was in, immediately.
We took a cheap taxi out to the suburbs and alighted at this gem of a sign.
We were met by our host and his helper, who periodically would give us funny gifts, like hats and ties made from leaves.
The spice tour consisted of us following around the guide who, whilst describing the history of land reform and farming in Zanzibar (seriously), would also point out different plants. At each, he would either crush the leaf or flower and then make us guess the plant off the smell. Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and harder-to-figure out spices; I was decent at guessing, but Dad was champion. If he first didn’t know the plant by leaf or flower, his guess seemed to always be correct.
There were also avocado plants that looked like they would make primo guac.
The tour culminated with another employee demonstrating how to climb a coconut tree. (Tip: it helps to be insane.)
While enjoying real coconut milk , we chatted generally with the tour guide who informed us about his love for American movies, especially the Fast & Furious series, the endemic corruption and the revolutionary history of the young country.
We also bought some pre-packaged masala and curry spice bags that so far have been delicious on chicken.
We were totally blown-away by everything and would recommend this to anyone, even though no-one could explain why exactly the name of the farm is “Big Body with Tatata.” Ergo, we didn’t meet Big Body or Tatata, my only disappointment.