Zanzibar – Africa’s exotic spice island

Zanzibar – Africa’s exotic spice island

Ras Nungwi lies at the northernmost tip of Zanzibar, a classic Indian Ocean escape. It’s close enough to the island’s inland spice plantations for a day trip, but most people come here simply to unwind and get away from it all. And who can blame them!

walking on the beach Zanzibar
zanzibar beach view
children on the beach

Luxury hotels line the sandy shore, but walk towards the headland and you soon reach the village of Ras Nungwi, where you can gain a glimpse of the island of old. The village is known as an important centre of boat building – in particular for producing Arabic-styled dhows, the type of which have sailed these waters for centuries – and local craftsmen build and repair the Ras Nungwi fishing fleet using methods passed down through the generations.

zanzibar fishermen in boat
fishing boat

Many of the dhows are tied up along the sandy shore, seaweed clinging to their hulls. Others can be seen heading out to sea beyond a protective reef, their white sails twinkling in the sunlight, a light coastal breeze enough to fill their sails as they glide gently by and fill their hulls with the catch of the day.

Ras Nungwi fishing fleet
turquoise sea

The turquoise waters abound with wahoo fish, prawns, squid and octopus. The fishermen take home some of their catch, the rest they sell on to the beachfront hotels – to be grilled on skewers and served in open air restaurants, salty and fresh, and cooked with intoxicating local spices. Delicious.

red flowers
sea view

Written by Duncan Mills

Duncan Mills is a journalist and editor with a passion for travel and photography, good food and the great outdoors. He’s visited more than sixty countries on six continents and was the deputy editor of Traveller magazine prior to joining the AB internal communications agency in 2013. He lives amid the scenic woodlands and rolling green hills of England’s South Downs National Park.

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  1. This is an amazing place! was planning on making a trip, now motivated even more!! Great article! cheers! x

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