The Residence Zanzibar: Chill out where the pepper grows

Zanzibar is dreamlike. I think that is out of the question. On the exotic island in the Indian Ocean, which stands for romance and snow-white beaches – the risks are manageable. The villas of “The Residence Zanzibar” offer the right mix of casualness with luxury.

Zanzibar is like a parallel world that starts just behind the entrance door of the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. One feels reminded of earlier times, when the tired passengers wait densely packed for the longed-for stamp in the passport

Beautiful is the southwest coast near the fishing village Kizimkazi. 32 hectares of forest, gardens and a 1.5-kilometer-long white sand beach surround the 66 villas of The Residence Zanzibar Resort, which combines British and Indian influences with the traditions of Swahili and Oman. All with private pool and partly with view of the topaz-blue Indian ocean the noble hostels offer at least 100 square meters place for enjoying – flanked by one between 55 and 145 square meter large external area.

The Residence Zanzibar: spacious villas

The Residence Zanzibar: dive deep into the cuisine of Zanzibar in the herb garden

There are bicycles in front of every villa – always welcome vehicles to cover the sometimes long distances to restaurant, lobby or spa faster in the tropical heat. If you don’t like to move much, you can be chauffeured in a golf cart. For example, the restaurant ‘The Pavillon’, which offers generous buffets every evening. The ‘Latino BBQ’, for example, tempts you with calamari salad with red beans and jalapenos, shrimp salad with grilled zucchini or chicken salad with coconut as an appetizer. At the live cooking station you can choose from Mexican tortillas, mint beef or dorade. If there is still room in the well-filled stomach, you can enjoy mango skewers, Arabica& Macadamia roulade, pina colada pudding or sweet crepes to indulge in.

The Residence Zanzibar: Cooking in the herb garden

If you want to dive deeper into Zanzibar’s cuisine, book a cooking class at the resort. The shorter version takes place in the herb garden, where chef Mwana Shabani offers insight into his work. The most important part of his menu is fish curry, flavored in style with, garlic, cumin, coriander, chili, cloves, salt and pepper. On the other flame of the gas stove simmering a ‘Ugali’ called corn porridge – the traditional East African side dish for every meal. It goes with everything and is always eaten with the hands. As delicious as easy to prepare is ‘Zanzibar-Chapati’, an unleavened bread made of flour, salt, oil and water. On the island and also in Tanzania it is one of the main foodstuffs.

Up close and personal on a Spice Tour

The half-day “Spice Tour” shows how the spices grow, which give the island its name. Zanzibar resembles a gigantic spice cabinet that holds many things that spice up the kitchens. Vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron or cloves: on the tour, hotel guests learn about the plants behind them. And they literally learn where – and how – the pepper grows. What surely not everyone knows: In order to market it fresh, it is harvested early and in green condition, pickled in salt water or freeze-dried. Red pepper comes from ripe fruit, its black counterpart is preserved by drying.

Smooth gliding on the Indian Ocean

A must is a ride on a dhow into the sunset. Abdul and Khatib are likeable as well as lively contemporaries, who make sailing a great experience. First, they steer the handmade wooden barge with furled sail and engine power from Matemwe in a northeasterly direction. For the way back, Khatib sets the sail, which looks as if it had already been in use during the times of the British protectorate. The Indian Ocean shows its calm side and makes the gentle gliding a meditation. The last bit of bliss is provided by the South African Cabernet Sauvignon, which Abdul conjures up together with fine canapes from a wooden box.

How nice to be able to welcome them again as skippers on another boat the next morning. Punctually at eight o’clock the dolphin stalking starts. In the past, marine mammals were hunted here to eat them, to sell their meat or to use them as bait for shark fishing. Today they are hunted only by tourists. What in other regions of the world often resembles a mass event, here off the southeast coast of Zanzibar seems like a private stalk this morning.

A single small boat is to be seen, in it an ambitious fisherman, who proudly presents a capital Kingfish. Is the silence possibly due to the fact that there is no dolphin to be seen? Already on the way back to the resort they are suddenly there: One, two, three – more and more chase through the water and jump into the sky blue. They briefly come up for air to the surface of the water, and then dive straight back down again.

Sunset on the Indian Ocean

Excursions like these represent the special magic of Zanzibar. It’s hard to say goodbye – and not only because of the return to the seemingly endless lockdown.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *