If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that I decided to live outside of my comfort zone this holiday and travel without doing much planning.
Our only requirements when we booked was that our hotel be on the beach and relatively quiet. We wanted a space away from the tourist hustle and bustle, a space that was tranquil, healing and comfortable. A space that we would enjoy spending most of our holiday at.
While Nungwi in the north has the best beaches, we opted for the Sea Cliff Resort and Spa in Kama on the west coast of Zanzibar because it is not so busy.
We were pleasantly surprised at being upgraded to a sea-facing room when we arrived. Taking in the sea from our balcony was incredible. Being an east coast woman myself, it was something special to watch a sunset over the sea.
Resort living for short periods is fantastic – everything is close by and convenient.
Sea Cliff Resort and Spa is the only resort on the island to have a golf course. I had no intention of trying out the course but we did visit the clubhouse located on a tranquil beach and took a golf cart around the course. Breathtaking views out to sea would certainly making for a great golfing experience.
However, people at the resort, who did actually play a round of golf, said the golf course itself was not up to standard and needed a lot of work.
Our resort also had a spa facility, which we visited twice. Nothing says indulgence and relaxation better than a good full body, hot stone massage. Set in a tranquil area of the property and exuding warmth, our experience was simply out of this world.
Between swimming in a chlorinated pool or a salty sea, strolling on the beach or in the gardens and enjoying a heavenly massage, we got everything we wanted from a relaxing holiday.
I’ve never given too much thought to meals and drinks when I was on holiday. The idea has always been to spend the least amount of time at the hotel so we can get in as much sightseeing as possible. Most often meals were eaten on the go and not in the hotel.
This time, our needs had changed and we planned on spending a fair amount of time at the hotel itself.
Fortunately, as we steam rolled our way through booking this trip, we opted for an “all inclusive” package. Essentially this means our hotel booking included accommodation, all meals, as well as some drinks (bottled water, soft drinks, juices as well as local alcohol, beer and cocktails).
Three words … best move ever. As we sat poolside sipping on our second cocktail before lunch, we realised the value of being able to order any drink at any time without having to convert from dollars before ordering. And when we got peckish there was always a meal or snack being announced as if on cue.
Whether you are lunching at the clubhouse, drinking sundowners on the jetty or snacking at the pool, all food and beverages, unless stipulated, are included in the package.
We weren’t forced to have all our meals and drinks at the resort, in fact we chose not to. But the convenience, coupled with the knowledge that we didn’t have to factor in food and drinks costs into our budget, was a bonus. It gave us a great deal more room to indulge in that extra spa treatment or that tanzanite ring I’d been covetting.
Value for money
Travel abroad for the average South African is a costly affair – especially since everything is quoted in dollars. Even in Zanzibar, where the Tanzanian Shilling is the official currency, the dollar is king.
But holidaying in Zanzibar is less of a wallet-pounding experience than, say Mauritius or the Seychelles. And you get a lot more value for your rand – a soft drink costs about R14 (US$1).
However, resort living also means less choice and forking out more for unexpected essentials. Our electric toothbrush was on the fritz and replacement toothbrushes cost us a whopping R168 ($12).
Resort living certainly isn’t the only option in Zanzibar. But if you aren’t planning on leaving your hotel much and you’re looking for relaxation and comfort, then it’s the logical choice. Just ensure it’s “all inclusive”.
This trip was about more than just going on holiday for me. It was about healing after a bruising tail end to 2016. It was about finding new meaning and learning to live outside of my comfort zone.
As I reflect on the people I met, the food I ate, the things I learnt and the experiences had, I can only be grateful that I did.
Zanzibar on a whim and fancy was the ideal way to start 2017.