A Spice Tour Zanzibar – The Spice Island!

Next up was a Spice Tour Zanzibar style. On our very last morning in Zanzibar at the Melia Hotel we woke up to tropical rain, which means large rain droplets and puddles pooling all over the resort. We walked to breakfast huddled under an umbrella but that did little to stop us getting soaked!

After doing a Stone Town Tour, a Spice Tour was the next thing on my Zanzibar bucket list. As this tour is located near to Stone Town, and on our route back to the airport, we planned to do our spice tour on our last morning to save the costs of time and money traveling back and forth across the island from our hotel. Unfortunately this meant we were to do our tour in the rain….but there is no planning these things!! And there are adventures to be had – come rain or shine!

We arrived on our shuttle arranged through Fishermans Tours & Transfers to be greeted by a familiar face, Chum! Yes, the same friendly face who had guided us expertly through the back alleys of Stone Town was on hand to educate us once again, this time on the history of the spice farm and the origin of all the spices we use on a daily basis but take so for granted!

Spice Tour Zanzibar

Our guide came prepared with huge rainbow coloured umbrellas for us and we prepared ourselves for a spice tour with a difference! My choice of outfit was probably not the best… a short dress and slip slops… but at least I could just embrace the mud knowing it would was off my feet fair easier than a pair of long pants! I just had to make sure that each foot step I took was very carefully placed on grass or stone so as not to slip and “see my ass” so to speak! I am pleased to say I came away unscathed, others in our party of 2 were not so lucky 😉 I’ll let you guess who!

spice tour guide

spice plantation

Zanzibar village

After passing through a few of the local village buildings we started our walking tour amidst the rain soaked fields of cattle and tropical vegetation including huge banana and palm trees.

Along the way we stopped at various unassuming bushes to learn exactly what it was about each plant that placed it here, on a spice farm. The first stop on our Spice Tour Zanzibar was nutmeg, a huge tree with average looking green “fruit” but a hidden gem inside… the nutmeg seed!

Nutmeg seed

spice plantation tour

tanzania spices

Next up on our spice safari was a clove bush… one of the islands most famous exports and the only spice still exported from the Spice Island (although strictly managed by the government). It was fascinating to discover that the dried cloves we buy in little bags at Pick ‘n Pay are in fact the flower buds of the plant!!

clove bush

cloves from the clove tree on spice island

Along the way we stopped to examine some very unusual plants such as the huge jackfruit and another known locally for producing a bright coral pigment… perfect for lips!

tour guide showing us the ginger root

Picture of ginger bush

Beautiful Zanzibar spice plant

Plant that produces bright colour pigment used in makeup

Sign showing ginger spice location

And of course we found the source of some of our favorites too… ginger, chilli’s, tumeric, black pepper, coffee beans, cocoa beans!! It was fascinating to see all these well known spices, that we usually find in powder form on our kitchen shelves, in their original, beautiful state.

A chilli spice bush

Black pepper seeds on pepper tree

Tour guide showing us black pepper seeds

White pepper seeds

Cocoa beans in cocoa seed

Tour guide holding cocoa seed

Turmeric flower

A piece of turmeric root in my hand

Local spice farm worker transporting turmeric roots

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Along the route we also encountered some local businessmen selling their wares in the spice plantation… handmade spiced soaps, fragrances and an assortment of spices all neatly packaged to take home for some Zanzibar inspired meals! This is probably the best opportunity to buy Zanzibar spices, just make sure you negotiate on the price.

I walked away with a pile of pretty soaps (which we are still using) and an assortment of Zanzibar spices for ourselves and a friend who makes amazing curries (and invites us!)

Locals selling soaps and fragrances made from spices

locals selling spices on Zanzibar spice tour

After 4 hours of splattering the backs of my legs (and dress) with mud, it was time for a rinse and one of the young boys helping our tour guide was all too eager to help me wash my feet…. The gesture was appreciated but kinda awkward!!

local transport on spice plantation

And then it was time to head back to the airport – the perfect place to spend the last few hours of our trip…. well only if you like people watching! Before we blinked it was back to Dar and then another FastJet flight to Joburg. This one was at a more reasonable hour but still landed after all the flights to Cape Town which meant one more night away from home and a fairly early start the next day to head home, back to our real life!

 

Book a Spice Tour in Zanzibar via Get Your Guide here:

3 Hour Spice Tour

Spice Tour plus Cooking Class

 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more about my African Adventures exploring Zanzibar click one of the links below:

Traveling to Zanzibar
A walking tour of Stone Town
Exploring the Markets of Stone Town
Secrets of Stone Town
Our stay at Melia Hotel Zanzibar
Zanzibar Beach Bliss
Scuba Diving in Zanzibar

So that’s it… My African Adventure: Zanzibar series is over. Sob!

I hope you enjoyed “traveling” along with me and that you feel inspired to add this exotic destination to your travel bucket list! There really are so many things to do in Zanzibar and the Spice Island and it is well worth a visit (or two) I hope to return again soon!!

We didn’t take our kids with us on this trip to Zanzibar but it’s certainly a place I’d love to bring them back to. Be sure to read this post if you’re planning a trip to Tanzania with kids?

 

If you’d told me at the start of last year that I would have traveled to The Kruger, The Karoo AND Zanzibar all through my blog before the year was out I would not have believed you for one second. I mean HOW?? But amazingly all that happened in 2014 and all thanks to this little blog!

It was a pretty awesome year in terms of travel. I won’t lie! We were spoilt with all the awesome experiences we got to enjoy as a family and as a married couple and I am so grateful. The only problem is now that my expectations are a bit high for 2015 and at this stage I’m looking at a rather blank calendar. Here’s hoping a few more amazing travel opportunities come my way as I’d love to grow Becoming you into the No 1 destination for family travel reviews in South Africa. I’m excited and expectant!

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Disclosure: 8; 1 for FastJet (tickets) & Melia Hotel/ Discover Zanzibar (accommodation); 1 for hotel transfers with Fishermans Tours & Transfers; 0 for everything else

Images: Kathryn Rossiter

 

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for almost 7 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

2 Comments
  1. I am a foodie by nature and to know that there is an adventure waiting for me where i can explore a country and learn about the spices of that country is one that leaves me with the need to ignite my wanderlust. Thank you for this and the fantastic photos, who knew spices looked that good 🙂

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