The thought of Zanzibar evokes pristine expansive beaches, crystal clear azure waters and the promise of total relaxation. Trish Dhanak, decided to make this paradise her permanent residence after living in both London and New York. In 2010, she opened Upendo Zanzibar, a luxury villa located on Michamvi Beach. As a transplant resident, Trish offers the best of the beaches, sunset views and local seafood haunts with her Insider's Guide to Zanzibar.
PLACES TO GO:
Jozani Forest: It is amazing to walk through this incredible forest. Plus the local guides are very knowledgeable.
Mnemba Island Reef: For the snorkelers/divers out there?you?ve never seen water like this.
Chwaka Bay: The Michamvi peninsula is one of the most untouched and beautiful points on the island. The beaches are pure paradise.
Kizimkazi: A pristine little fishing village known for dolphin safaris. I personally like it for the quiet old village vibe which makes for a serene spot to just sit and soak it all in.
Zanzibari Spice Tour: The Island is known for its wide array of spices.
WHERE TO SHOP:
Doreen Mashika: This is a must visit in Stone Town. Born and raised in Tanzania, Doreen studied in Switzerland and returned to Zanzibar to open her flagship store and studio. Inspired by the rich cultural heritage, Doreen meshes locally produced kitenge cloth and leathers into her clothing and handbags. The results are unique and memorable pieces that highlight their African origins.
Frasiafrica & Schwari Boutique in Stone Town: The designers, Francesca Scalfari & Beate Allard, Italian and Tanzanian, respectively, showed last year at both Zanzibar and London Fashion week. Their specialty is T-shirts, beautifully embroidered suede clothes and accessories. The new collection is all made in Africa and 100% cotton.
Mago East Africa: A boutique that has been open for a while and sells some great African designers that utilize kanga and wax techniques on a variety of fabrics.
Kizemga Street: Check out all the small boutiques to find the coolest souvenirs made from recycled materials like cement bags and bottle tops and transformed into stylish Zanzibar street style items!
WHERE TO EAT:
House of Spices: An old, beautifully decorated converted traders house. The restaurant serves fresh seafood and Italian dishes.
Taperia: Located above the main post office in the city centre, the upstairs has been converted into a great area for restaurants and caf?s!
Talaria: Wine bar with wide selection and wonderful Spanish influenced tapas.
Lemongrass: A new Thai restaurant with excellent food.
Miwa: A lovely caf? that is great for lunch, serving wonderful selection of wraps and snacks.
Le Taverna: A fabulous Italian restaurant with amazing pizzas, great service and ambiance.
Archipelago: A wonderful place for fresh seafood and coffees with consistently good service.
Kinazi Upepo: A resident secret. The best sushi prepared by an incredible Thai chef. Located right on the beach, I recommend a lunchtime visit to enjoy the view.
The Rock Restaurant: The world famous restaurant is best for 4pm drinks on the front terrace as the location is second to none! Book early if it is busy season.
Upendo Villas: Offering a wide array of international options, we are best known for our fun Sunday brunch, with DJs playing while guests enjoy freshly prepared food and drinks and relax by the pool.
WHERE TO STAY:
Emerson Spice or Emerson on Hurumzi - Converted from traders houses, both of these gorgeous boutique hotels have individual rooms packed with incredible antiques. Both also house stunning rooftop restaurants that feature a wonderful blend of Zanzibari and modern cuisine.
Upendo Villas: A small boutique property with a large luxury villa, which features three rooms that can be taken individually or exclusively with the entire villa. Contemporary decor and style is fused with local elements. Each room is unique with luxe bathrooms. There is also a huge outside deck with a private plunge pool and oversized lounge beds for totally relaxing! Upendo defines authentic style, relaxation and quality. Another room on the property is called Makuti. A self-contained beach side room, similar to the hotel jewels in Thailand and Asia, with a few added refinements.
Kae funk: A funky resort with one of the coolest bars on the island! Boasting amazing beach views and sunsets from your window in Michamvi kae. Think backpacker?s dream, but with a luxury flair, it is an authentic Zanzibar experience!