maanantai 23. marraskuuta 2015

Zanzibari art exhibition

Zanzibar is an island of arts, culture and traditions. Sometimes traditions are stronger than the creation of new forms of expression. That's why this art exhibition is spceial - it's all about experimenting new things. It doesn't repeat the styles of the numerous artists on the streets of Stone Town.
October 21st was the opening of the art exhibition by Hamza M. Ausiy, Ndambe and Dullah Wise. The artists took their time to show visitors around and explained their paintings. Several fine arts students from Zanzibar as well as many other guests from around the world joined the opening.

Ausiy (here in front of his painting “The purple view”) was born in Zanzibar and has been a full time artist for about 15 years. He has participated in various art exhibitions in and outside of Zanzibar.

Mohammed Jaffary Abdalla signs his artwork as Ndambe, a name that comes from a Bantu tribe. He likes to use different materials for his paintings to get an unique art style. His painting “Mjane” (see below) is the face of this exhibition.

Abdulla Khamis Omar uses the artist’s name Dullah Wise. He has been drawing ever since he can remember. He says, on day when he was at the beach drawing a Zanzibar dhow, a tourist walked by and convinced him to sell his painting for 30$. That was when he realized he could make a living out of it.

One of his paintings at the exhibition called “Kuvuna Mwani” (see below).

Until December 2015 the artists’ work will be on display open for public at Emerson on Hurumzi hotel.

Co-author and photos: Kristin Brueckner

tiistai 2. kesäkuuta 2015

Travelling with kids in Zanzibar

Africa might not be on the top of the list of travel destinations for many families with children, but that is not very well deserved. Children are usually very well treated in Tanzania, so families can count on getting help and friendly service. I would like to share some thoughts of what to do on a family holiday in Zanzibar.

1. Forodhani Park in Stone Town

This is where I spend lots of time with my son. Many cafes and outdoor kitchens offer great food (just pay attention to where you buy it from)! Great place to stop for a smoothie or an ice cream. There are also occasional concerts.

In the afternoon around 5 pm the Forodhani playground opens. The entrance fee is 1000 Tanzanian shillings per child, which is around 50 euro cents. This is just a usual playground with some slides, trampolin, swings etc. All with an amazing sea view!

2. Kariakoo amusement park

Just a little bit out from Stone Town is the Kariakoo amusement park, which has just opened after renovations and it's run by the Zanzibar fire department, so I would dare to say it's a safe place. They have plenty of rides for different aged kids, from Farrel's wheel and Merry-go-round to more speedy options. I was personally very surprised by the great variety of rides!

There is also a water park inside the amusement park. It was not opened on my last visit but truly looked like a proper water park with big slides and pools.

You can check out this Swahili blog for lots of pictures.

3. Prison Island

It sounds grim, but Prison Island is not what the name makes you think about. I think this is an interesting destination if your children are a bit older. You can see the giant tortoise, walk amongst them and scracth their shields (they seem to enjoy that). Easy to combine with snorkeling in the rather calm and shallow coral reefs aorund, where you will mostly see small fosh and colorful corals.

4. Zanzibar Zoo

I have not persnoally visited this facility, so I cannot say much. It is a small zoo with animals like camels in it, and includes a water park. Popular destination for local families, much like the Kariakoo amusement park. The zoo is located some 15 minutes ride from Stone Town towards east.

5. Jamhuri gardens playground

Another playground in Stone Town, similar to the Forodhani playground. For a small entrance fee your kids can enjoy the well kept playground. Jamhuri gardens are located near to Vuga area and football grounds just outside Stone Town.

There are also plenty of hotels in Zanzibar that cater toys and babysitting services for families, please contact us at info (at) and I would be happy to recommend places to stay based on your family's needs!

Oh, and we can also include a baby/toddler seat on our transfers.

lauantai 7. helmikuuta 2015

Should I swim with dolphins in Zanzibar?

Dolphin tour in Zanzibar is a tricky thing. At its best it can be you swimming with 20 dolphins all alone for an hour. At its worst, it can be you with 15 other boats trying to find dolphins, and once you find them, the dolphins are scared by all the boat motors and swim away, very quickly. And even if they stay it would be too dangerous to jump into the water with all the 15 boats around.

We at Colors of Zanzibar have been trying to figure out how to make this a better experience for our clients as well as the dolphins. I just recently took 2 dolphin tours within 24 hours – one in the afternoon and one early in the morning. The experiences were completely different from each other.

Afternoon dolphin safari begins

On the afternoon tour, or safari could be a better word for it, we didn't find the dolphins. They are much harder to find in the afternoons. But if we would have found them we would have been at the scene all by ourselves, with no other boats in sight. Even without seeing the dolphins the trip was enjoyable – the beautiful coast line and the strong Indian Ocean, all for us only. Afterwards we went snorkeling on the lively Kizimkazi coral reef.

Kids playing at the Kizimkazi beach

The next morning we got up at 5:30 am, and were ready on the shore at 6 am sharp. We took the same route as yesterday, seeing only 2 other boats + lots of fishermen. For an hour the dolphins did not show up – when we finally found them, it was us and 11 other boats. We saw 3 dolphins and 30 tourists, some of them in the water, unknowinlgy risking their lives as the boats were in a small space with not much room to go around the people in the water.

Sunrise at Menai Bay conservation area

Our captain told us not to jump. He was also the only one who followed the official instructions and stopped the engine. We stayed at the scene for approximately 10 minutes, and then asked him to go back to the shore. Dolphins were probably already far far somewhere, awayf rom the 11 motors, and we didn't feel too comfortable trying to find them again.

Other boats arrive

This has led us to 3 conclusions.
  1. Think about what time you want to do the tour. Either extremely early, or later, let's say after 11 o'clock. If you go very early you have the best chance to see the dolphins. But if you don't find them quickly, you will end up sharing the experience with others. How many others is just about luck – some days there might be just few tourists, and sometimes way too many. On the other hand, if you go after the tourist crowds you will end up with a more enjoyable experience, but with much lower chance to see the dolphins. 

  2. Only deal with professional people, not with just anyone who has a boat. All dolphin tour arrangers in Kizimkazi are supposed to have gotten education on how to approach the animals, but it seems to be long forgotten. There are very few who actually care about the environment. Choose them – we definately do. Also, most of the true professionals have much better facilities.

  3. It is very important to get all the information about dolphins beforehand. This way you understand what is good for them and why you need to be respectful. If the dolphins choose not to be around, then it's their decision. You can still enjoy the beautiful fishing village, the turqoise Indian Ocean, snorkeling at the coral reefs and just being in Zanzibar, relaxing.