In Stone Town, Zanzibar, we saw a country with a rich history where the past, present, and future are locked in a delicate and sometimes uncertain balance.

 

Karibuni! Welcome!

STONE TOWN: From our third floor wrap-around balcony at the historic Zanzibar Serena Hotelwe watched the dhows file out to sea, their white sails pregnant with the south-westerly monsoon trade winds upon whose might vessels have visited these shores for centuries. Given the problems with over fishing in these waters, we said a silent prayer that they would return in the morning with a good catch for their efforts.

Balcony at Zanzibar Serena Hotel

It was early evening and down on the beach, the locals had come out to play. Someone had drawn a circular running track in the white sand which a group of boys used to warm up in preparation for a game of beach soccer. Another group swam formation laps in the ocean, racing each other through the gentle waves.

Dhows going out for fishing, sunset, Stone Town, Zanzibar

Young men coaxed their love interests to join them for an evening dip in the warm ocean. The young ladies coyly approached the water fully covered in their hijabs. Somehow, while preserving their modesty, they discarded their outer layers as they waded in. Equally admirably, they managed to re-emerge from the ocean again fully covered despite dripping wet. In Zanzibar, it is culturally uncommon for girls to swim.

Locals enjoying an evening on beach in Stone Town, Zanzibar

In the distance, Changuu Island (aka Prison Island) caught the last orange rays of the sun setting over the Indian Ocean. The previous day, we had been snorkelling in its surrounding reef, diving into the warm blue waters from a private dhow provided by Zanzi Resort. As we explored Zanzibar’s ocean secrets, we wondered what others we would find on land in Stone Town.

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