15th flight to Zanzibar
Finding a hotel
Flying to Zanzibar today.
It used to be a different country, and we are choosing to see it as different from the mainland, mostly hoping that it will be better.
We meet Helen again when checking out and hang around for another chat over coffee. Hopefully we can keep in contact with her.
We walk our bags over to the Fastjet office, from where we take a shuttle bus to the airport. The airport, flight etc is pretty standard and we land in Stonetown at about 14.30. There was supposed to be shuttle bus on this end also between the airport and down town, but that does not seem to be the case. As the taxi’s all want 10US to get us there, we decide to just grab a daladala. We have to wait for a few to go past, till we find one that is going in the right direction, and is willing to take us and our luggage.
The main daladala stand in Stonetown is next to the market, so we get dropped in all the hustle and bustle. Old Stonetown is pretty small, and we have decided to try to find a place in the cheap area near the harbour. We can easily walk there, but soon pick up a “guide”. We try to get rid of him, but even when he leaves, there is an instant replacement. We go around the different hotels and guest houses in this area, sometimes following our guide, and sometimes them following us. This is not a cheap town though, and some of the rooms are shockingly bad for the price they are asking. So we keep going. We have to leave the harbour area as we have run out of options here and with our new guide start heading towards central Stonetown. Our guide Said, is very nice and speaks some English, which is handy. Now we can just explain that we do not want a guide to help us find a hotel, as we do not want to pay commission. A bit rude maybe, but that’s what it is.. He lets us know, that he does not get a commission, the Zanzibari just want to look after their tourists.
Eventually we end up at Haven. A simple room with nets and fan, shared bathroom, for 25US after haggling. That is about 40.000 shillings and the most expensive room we have stayed in in this country. (The breakfast was nice though!) We only got the discount on the agreement that we stayed for two nights, so we have time to look around for maybe a cheaper option, but we doubt it is possible on this island..
We feel like we have seen most of Stonetown already dragging our bags along. It sort of reminds us of Fez, but smaller, quieter and dirtier. It has a certain charm about it though, and is definitely different from the mainland. We head out for a meal, but have an early night.