a week in Zanzibar
winding lanes, the aroma of spices and white beaches

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Fondly known as Spice Island, Zanzibar is home to stunning beaches, crystal clear waters for diving, tours into the forests to discover the spice industry first hand and a maze like system of narrow streets in the capital, Stonetown
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On the east side of the island and an hours drive from Stonetown, Pongwe is home to miles of sandy beaches and small hotels and resorts. After a pretty hairy drive on the narrow roads from Stone Town to Pongwe, we were thrilled when we eventually got to our hotel in Pongwe. The sea around the hotel was a stunning turquoise blue and it looked like you could walk out into it forever, which, we eventualy did one day, with the aid of the local Masai Warriors as our guide. 
We selected the Seasons Lodge in Pongwe due to the location right on the beach, and the fact that it was a small resort with only 20 or so Beach Hut styled rooms. We were only here for 4 nights but were not disappointed with our choice. This is a small family run resort, so don't expect the trappings of the bigger brand names in the area. However, location, location, location if you want to relax looking out over the never ending tourquoise waters, so temping in fact, that before you leave you will be walking out to the horizon with a local Maasai Warrior (security guard) as your guide.
Just down a stone stairway from our resort lies golden sand and turquoise waters of the ocean. We simply had to go for a walk out into the ocean, it was calling us from the moment we arrived. The waters are warm and shallow and you can literally walk for miles. Before long, we were joined by a couple of local security guards, dressed in their traditional Maasai Warrior clothes, and they were only too happy to walk with us and show us things in the waters we might have otherwise missed. Our highlight was an enormous blue crab that seemed quite content with us taking a photo.
Pingwe is a village on the Tanzanian island of Unguja, part of Zanzibar. It is one of two villages located in the east of the island at the northern tip of Michamvi Peninsula. It lies immediately to the east of the village of Kae.
In my mind no visit to Zanzibar is complete without a visit to The Rock, stunning location, great food and amazing staff. In its unique position on the waters of the Indian Ocean, The Rock is a charming, exclusive restaurant that in a very short time has become one of the icons of this exotic island. One of Zanzibar’s most popular and sought-after attractions, The Rock opened in July 2010. Originally a very basic structure having been used as a local fisherman’s post, The Rock is now leased by a local business from the residents of the village of Michamvi. Located in front of Michamvi Pingwe beach on the south-east coast of the island, it has sometimes been referred to as the floating restaurant.
The road isn't the best road we have ever driven on, but there is so much to see if you stay awake and look around. The drive takes around 2 hours and we just took a taxi booked from the hotel, and agreed he would wait for us and drive us back to the hotel late afternoon. Though 2 hours on a bumpy road, there was always a glance of a local life you would otherwise not see from your hotels or the busier towns. It was fascinating to see the small townships along the way, and it was never too far between convenience stores (local version). 
Matemwe is a village on the north-eastern coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, between Mwangaseni and Kigomani. Its economy is mostly based on seaweed farming and fishing.
About an hours drive from Pongwe, the One Ocean Dive Center in Matemwe caters for all levels of divers. Crystal clear water, some great corals and fish and fantastic staff made this a dive to remember. We didn't have to go far out, and there was an option to snorkle on the surface for those that didn't want to do a full dive. Whilst we have dived on bigger reefs, the selection of fish was extremely good here, and our lead diver was very informative, making sure we missed nothing.
Stone Town is the main city on Zanzibar. It is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying the Swahili culture, with a unique mixture of Moorish, Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. For this reason, the town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.
We picked this hotel for our 3 night stay in Stonetown and we had no regrets, absolutely loved it, great location very friendly staff and a good restaurant and bar area. When the taxi driver stopped at a carpark some distance from the hotel, and we were told we had to take our bags and walk, we did start to worry what sort of hotel we had picked, but once we arrived, we could not have been happier. An old Spice House from days gone by, you can still smell the spices in every part of the hotel, and those vibrant colours will remain in our minds for ever. 

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