zanzibar stone town & beach help needed

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Nov 18th, 2004, 09:57 AM
  #1
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zanzibar stone town & beach help needed

After all these weeks and help from so many on this board, we're almost ready to finalize our 3 week trip doing the northern circuit in Tanzania/Kenya in aug 2005. We're finishing up with time in Zanzibar and need help with accommodations. We're looking for moderate priced well-located places. We're thinking 4 nites at the beach and 2 in stone town (departing early the second morning. It's me, my husband and our 24 year old son - so we're not looking for a romantic honeymoon getaway. Just someplace where we'll have good access to some swimming, snorkeling, but also excursions to the forest, maybe prison island, etc. Roy Safaris recommended Tembo or Dhow Palace and Karafuu or Nungwi Village, but they can book anywhere. If you have any first-hand knowledge of these or other good places to consider, I'd greatly appreciate the help.
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Nov 19th, 2004, 09:18 AM
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Hi Sharon, I dom't have any first hand knowledge on Zanzibar hotels but I am also be staying in Zanzibar for 5 nights after a safari in Kenya. After much search I decided to book the Mapenzi Beach Club, which is all inclusive and looks great. Besides it, it isn't very expensive. I am also travelling with my 22 year daughter and my 25 year old son.
I booked the Mapenzi through www.encounterzanzibar.com. They have a great site with all information and description on hotels in Zanzibar. The Mapenzi Beach Club site is www.planhotel.ch/mapenzi/.
Take a look at it, it looks great.
Hope it helps!
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Nov 19th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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Sharon,

We stayed at the Tembo Hotel last July. It was interesting, not fabulous by any means. But more than acceptable and our room was HUGE. I believe our first choice in our price range was the Dhow but they had no vacancies. I'd stay at Tembo again: location is good, sunsets are very pretty, staff was kind.

At the beach we stayed at the Sunrise Guest House, by Bwejuu. Again, our first two choices were booked up. We really wanted to stay at Pongwe or Matemwe Village Bungalows. Pongwe because we had heard the chef there used to cook at the Ivy in London, I believe. We chose Sunrise because we had read it was small and very quiet and that they served desserts with Belgian chocolate (yep, that was the clincher). We liked it quite a bit, but then again we wanted someplace that felt very quiet and relaxing. Your son may be happier up at Nungwi where I think there is more of a social scene.

Have a great trip.
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Nov 21st, 2004, 06:55 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions.
Tere: When are you going to be there? Please let me know what you thought of it when you get back.
Leely: What do you know about Pongwe and Matemwe? On the other hand, those Belgian chocolates are definitely a big enticement! Did you do any trips around the island like the spice tours, etc.? We want to do some relaxing but we're really into exploring. BTW, we're really close to finalizing our trip and will do some lodges with a few campsites mixed in. I know you've done the camping and it sounds like a lot of fun.
Thanks for the help.
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Nov 22nd, 2004, 02:06 AM
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Just for fun and you might get a laugh out of it .. I first went to Bwejuu in 1991. I stayed at a "guesthouse" without electricity. The bathroom was traditional Swahili style with an open tank and a scooper made from half a coconut and a handle to ladle water over yourself. The local villagers still went fishing and the village was the only source of supplies (biscuits, cigarettes, etc). Just next door was a house with power where you could go to eat a Swahili banquet.

It was beautiful - at full moon it was so bright that the locals played football on the beach. No hassle - take the one-a-day local bus to get there.

Does that appeal to you? No going back but if you could make it so, would you?
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Nov 22nd, 2004, 08:45 AM
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Sharon, I am afraid I won't be able to give you any feedback on the Mapenzi because, like you, I will also be travelling next August. Who knows, maybe we meet there?
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Nov 23rd, 2004, 09:35 AM
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I think I started reading about Pongwe and Matemwe (and I believe Matemwe is better located for diving, but I am by no means an expert) by googling after seeing "reviews" on Africa Travel Resource web site (a booking agency that we didn't use; we ended up booking Zanzibar ourselves).

I think their web site is something really straightforward like... africatravelresource.com?

We took a Spice Tour from Stone Town. I wouldn't do it again, but that's me. If (when!) I make it back to Zanzibar I'd like to arrange some kind of historical tour of Stone Town; that's where my interests lie.

But my sense is that people will be all over you to do things (tours, dives, boat rides, etc.), so I wouldn't worry about being too bored. I guess I'd just want to use someone good for these services.

I also found it easier to get around the island than I had read in guide books. Honestly, the island felt so different, so foreign to me that I wasn't bored just doing whatever the day brought.

You three are sure to have a wonderful time. Enjoy!
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