Last month we went to Zanzibar for the long Eid weekend. We were supposed to go on a camping safari with some friends. But one of the friends became ill (turned out to be pneumonia, poor woman) and we had to cancel. So we were bummed and had four days of holiday ahead of us. So, at the last minute, Craig found a reasonably priced resort called Coral Rock on the east coast of Zanzibar and off we set. The ferry boat was fine, a bit crowded and a bit hot but Mia (thanks to a hit of gravol) slept the whole way. Lily slept about half the 2.75 hour trip.
However when we arrived we hit a hitch. We hadn’t brought our passports since our travel agent said we didn’t need them. (Craig happened to have his passport with him but the kids and I did not.) It struck us as reasonable not to bring them since Zanzibar is part of Tanzania. However the government calls itself the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and so it has some autonomy — I don’t know how real or imagined the autonomy is. But you need a passport when entering from Dar. I was especially irritated by this and snapped at the customs official that it is absurd to require a passport when travelling within national borders. Well, that got his back up and his ego took a huge hit. Craig meanwhile was (as he later told me), so amused by my self-righteous ire, that he joined in. So we both talked down our noses to this fellow for about ten minutes and thoroughly annoyed him. I have to admit, it was quite enjoyable. (I particularly relished telling the customs guy that yes, in fact, in Canada you cross the ocean to another province and do NOT require a passport) However, it was clear if we wanted to stay in Zanzibar we were going to have to change our tack. After much grovelling and apologizing they let us in. We had to spell out in a letter exactly what the deal was, where we were staying etc. But amazingly they took no money. They just wanted to hear how right they were and how wrong and sorry we were. We figured kissing the ground at their feet was worth it. We did not want to take those now exhausted, whiny children back to Dar on the ferry.
Anyways the resort was very nice. I’ve included some pics. We took Mia to see some real monkeys. She was initially afraid they’d attack her monkey, then she was bored (see pic). Kids. geez.
The beach was stunning. The water is actually turquoise. And there was a little pool where the kids enjoyed swimming. Lily had a bit of a tough weekend. Her molars were coming in and she spent a lot of the trip feeling terrible.
Coming home was mostly uneventful. The customs agents this time could not have cared less whether we had travel documents and just waved us through (sigh). But the ferry was delayed four hours. Yes, we waited four hours in the Zanzibar sun until our boat came. The kids were fantastic. They hardly complained the whole time and then slept on the trip home. But it meant we left our resort at 9 a.m. and reached our home in Dar about twelve hours later. It was exhausting. But on the whole a good trip.