Sunday Special – Zanzibar, Tanzania


beach-zanzibar

Zanzibar beach – Photo credit: Public Domain

I am a member of several online travel groups. I like to use them for travel tips and inspiration. It was in one of these groups where I learned about Zanzibar, Tanzania. This archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean, a mere 25 – 50km/15 – 30mi off the Tanzanian coast. Historically the island grew spices which continues on today and retains its moniker of the ‘Spice Islands’. It was also a location ideal for traders to make contact for commerce with those living on the Swahili coast. Centuries later the islands fell under Portuguese, Arab, and then British rule. It was in the mid-20th century that Zanzibar sought independence and merged a union with Tanzania, today remaining an semi-autonomous region.

The islands consist of many small ones and two larger ones, Unguja (a.k.a. Zanzibar) and Pemba Islands with its capital of Zanzibar City located on the former. Zanzibar City is considered the heart of Zanzibar and has much to offer. It is divided into two – the modern Ng’ambo and the historic Stone Town.  An interesting tidbit about Stone town is that musician, singer and songwriter Freddie Mercury was born there.

Want to check out Zanzibar? Well this is what I found about its activities and sights:

  • Historic Stone Town is good for wandering its storied streets, seeing quaint shops and visiting cafes. Time spent at Forodhani Market is a must.
  • There are amazing beaches with stunning sunsets
  • Snorkeling and diving at Mnemba Atoll for a fun adventure
  • Visit Prison Island for a somber trip to the Slave Museum and to see giant turtles at the turtle sanctuary
  • Visit Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park to get back to nature and see some monkeys
  • Take a spice tour to learn more about this important trade

These are just a handful of sights and activities that await you in Zanzibar. I can say these islands have moved high up on my bucket list, that is for certain! 

stone_town2c_zanzibar_town2c_tanzania_-_panoramio_281229

Market in Zanzibar’s Stone Town – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Alex Petrenko [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red Colobus monkeys in Zanzibar’s Jozani Forest – Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Taken and owned By Olivier Lejade from France (P8200036.JPG) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Sunday Special – Belize


san_pedro_beach

San Pedro Beach, Belize – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Areed145 at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Not long ago a couple friends spent some time in Belize and absolutely loved it. So I though I’d take a look at this small Central American country that does not have a Pacific Ocean coastline. Since it is on the eastern portion of Central America its shores are the Caribbean Sea with neighbouring countries of Mexico and Guatemala. Those shores are one of the big attractions to this locale. Beaches are plentiful along the seacoast as well as on the many islands found nearby. Ambergris Caye is the largest island and possibly the most well known.

So what are all the wonderful things to see and do in this adventure-packed country? Plenty from what I have garnered. Let’s take a look.

  • The plentiful and beautiful beaches, as mentioned above
  • Adventure sports such as zip lining, jungle treks and hikes, repelling and spelunking, caving, kayaking, and diving are yours to enjoy
  • Mayan history and ruins, many of which can still be visited. These include the impressive El Caracol and ceremonial site of Altun Ha
  • Marine and underwater activities – with the world’s second largest barrier reef and the impressive Great Blue Hole make it a haven for divers and snorkelers 
  •  Food! Try Creole Johnny Cakes for breakfast, some ceviche for lunch and rice and beans or conch for dinner

Belize sounds like it has plenty to offer! 

great_blue_hole

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Belize’s Great Blue Hole – Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Public Domain

5256_aquaimages

Altun Ha Mayan Ruins, Belize – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo Credit: By The original uploader was Aquaimages at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Sunday Special – Korčula Island, Croatia


Croatia. This country is definitely on my bucket list. I do want to visit all of the former Yugoslav countries (I have been to three: Slovenia, Serbia, and Macedonia) so of course that includes Croatia. However, that is not the only reason I want to visit it. I understand it is a wonderfully beautiful country with much to see. Islands lie all alongside its Adriatic Coast providing a large number to choose from. Some are major resort locales while others run at a slower pace. Of the latter, one such island is Korčula (also the the name of the main city) in the southern area of Dalmatia. Beaches of course are bountiful with shorelines ranging from sandy to rocky and everything in between. A great way to unwind. Wineries and wine tours are not lacking on the sun-kissed isle. In fact, Korčula Island has some indigenous varietals such as grk and posip.  Many of the wineries have been producing wines for centuries. Additionally, there are stories that explorer Marco Polo was in fact born on this small island and the very house where he supposedly entered the world. I wonder what the Italians have to say about that? LOL.

Korcula

Korcula, Croatia – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Andrzej Wolinski 

Andrzej Wolinski [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

mesto_korcula2c_pohled_z_hradeb2

Town of Korcula – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Martin Broz 

By Martin Brož (Martin Brož’s camera) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

krajolici_korc48dula04593

Korcula countryside – are those grapes for wine? Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Anto 

By Anto (talk) 14:40, 7 October 2009 (UTC) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Bermuda


1030 km / 640 miles off the east coast of the USA are the Islands of Bermuda. This Atlantic archipelago is the oldest British Overseas Territory  and is also self-governing. Additionally it is the northernmost point of the Caribbean. Due to its northerly location its climate is humid subtropical (due to the Gulf Stream) with winters being a bit cooler with lows at approximately 17C/62F and summers comfortable at about 26C/80F.

Perhaps best known for its pink sand beaches, Bermuda has plenty to offer despite its small size. The two main towns are Hamilton and St George with the later being a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although there are no car rentals in Bermuda they have excellent public transit or you can opt for motorized bike or moped rentals. Taxis are an option as well as walking around areas on foot. For those who crave  outdoor activity there is much to choose from. Golfing, hiking, cycling, rock climbing, snorkeling and diving, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing await. I’ve heard the view is stunning too. If culture, arts, history and sights are on your list then seek out local theatre, fashion, dance and costume, its African history in local museums and its British history in the buildings around you. Retail therapy and spa pampering is also a way to experience this sunny isle. And don’t forget the numerous beaches.

Perhaps I’ll make it there one day soon.

bda_bermuda

Bermuda’s pink sand beaches – Photo attribution: Bermuda Ministry of Tourism and Transport (via Wikimedia Commons) 

Bermuda Ministry of Tourism & Transport [Attribution], from Wikimedia Commons

st-_george27s-1

St George, Bermuda – Photo attribution: Taken and owned by Captain-tucker via Wikimedia Commons 

By Captain-tucker (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons