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Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.
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YV&C News Desk wrote: With an abundance of wildlife, coupled with rugged landscapes ranging from the sprawling Serengeti to lush rainforests and pristine beaches, the region is truly a destination for the ultimate traveler. The sunsets seem richer, the water seems more blue, the smiles of locals more sincere. Photographers often insist that taking pictures in Africa is the easiest assignment there is...since the pictures really take themselves. The descriptions and stories told by others who had seen the continent?s raw beauty and witnessed its visual and soulful magic firsthand, inspired me. So after graduating from college I volunteered and served as a Communications Director at Daystar University in Kenya. It was a position that was indeed challenging, but provided me with the tremendous opportunity of being able to explore wondrous locales that had previously existed only in my imagination.
YV&C News Desk wrote: With an abundance of wildlife, coupled with rugged landscapes ranging from the sprawling Serengeti to lush rainforests and pristine beaches, the region is truly a destination for the ultimate traveler. The sunsets seem richer, the water seems more blue, the smiles of locals more sincere. Photographers often insist that taking pictures in Africa is the easiest assignment there is...since the pictures really take themselves. The descriptions and stories told by others who had seen the continent?s raw beauty and witnessed its visual and soulful magic firsthand, inspired me. So after graduating from college I volunteered and served as a Communications Director at Daystar University in Kenya. It was a position that was indeed challenging, but provided me with the tremendous opportunity of being able to explore wondrous locales that had previously existed only in my imagination.


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A Yacht Charter Vacation Diary: Zanzibar Island
See why East Africa is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places on earth


We had decided to rent mopeds for the day and cruise as much of the island as we could, and since we only had 600 square miles to cover, we figured it to be an attainable goal.  While the dirt roads were treacherously pockmarked with gaping holes left by heavy traffic after steady rains, traversing our way through the villages proved well worth the trouble.  We were greeted with laughter, friendly smiles and playful children, all wanting to interact with new visitors.  We explored Zanzibar’s many beaches and idled at Mangawapani for a swim along the stunning west coast of the island.  The sun was shining but the subtle breezes made the air comfortably warm.  We visited the Marahubi Palace ruins approximately 4 miles up the coast from Stone Town and stared slack-jawed at the palatial site, imagining the self-indulgence and utter decadence Sultan Baraghash partook in on the grounds that housed his wife and 99 concubines.  We observed the mighty supporting columns and many Persian Baths and pieced together what the palace would have looked like presently had a fire not destroyed the property in 1899.  Seeing the palace was certainly a bonus, but really we traveled to Zanzibar to take relaxation to a whole new level, so we headed north on a scouting mission and determine if Nungwi was the best beach to stay at for our next leg of the trip. Sitting under the thatched roof of an open-air restaurant on the water, enjoying some chapattis, lentils and a couple cold Tusker beers, we clinked our glasses to tranquility.

As evening slowly approached, familiar scenes of candlelit kiosks and fresh catches began to repeat themselves and we got the distinct feeling that Zanzibar doesn’t see much change – which nobody seemed to mind.  We treated ourselves to a “fancy” dinner at the upscale Zanzibar Serena (which cost us about $11 USD apiece), then made our way to one of the smaller oceanfront hotels that the locals claimed had the best views in Stone Town – they weren’t lying.  We arrived at the expansive terrace overlooking the water and ordered some drinks, then choose three flavors of tobacco off the hookah menu.  We sat cross-legged on a Persian rug with elaborately-decoracted pillows sipping cocktails and smoking from our  hookah which rested perfectly on a small wooden table situated next to us.  We laughed and drank with locals, met other travelers from all over the world, and basically just enjoyed the stars, the moon and the cool night air. 

For our last day in Stone Town we had arranged to swim with dolphins, so we had to get an early start.  Though I’m not a regular caffeine drinker, I found the thick, rich coffee of East Africa irresistible, and fortunately it’s served in abundance on Zanzibar.  After being outfitted with snorkel gear at a beach along the west coast, we drifted for roughly an hour (which seemed like an eternity due to my handicap of motion sickness), then caught up with a school of dolphins swimming approximately 15 feet from us.  Since they were wild, we never got a chance to come in actual contact with them, but just swimming that close was worth the $7 USD we paid.  We then swam to a large lagoon that housed an abundance of sea life like I had never seen before, including a turtle that our guide claimed was over 100 years old.  The only unfortunate outcome of the day was that we didn’t have enough time to take a tour of the spice plantations, but I guess that just means I’ll have to make a return trip to Zanzibar very soon.

After two days we left Stone Town for Nungwi along the north coast.  This area of the island is known for its seemingly endless stretches of beach, its plentiful game fishing, and cheap guesthouses for young travelers.  We paid $5 USD per night for our beach bungalow and access to showers.  The sand was flour-white and just as fine to the touch, the water, a luminescent turquoise blue.  Friendly beach bars with swinging hammocks and talking parrots enticed thirsty patrons to take a load off and watch the tide move out with a tall glass of rum in hand or a cool bucket of beers.  At night, guests had the option of paying $2 USD for an all-you-can-eat seafood feast on the beach, or walking down the road to one of the village’s oceanfront restaurants.  Acoustic guitars gently strumming classic Swahili music were regular fixtures at late-night bonfires, and moonlit swims in the temperate waters were nothing out of the ordinary.  Travelers from all walks of life came together with locals to share stories and enjoy each other’s company around a crackling fire.  Lying in bed, the gently crashing surf lulled us to sleep each night, only occasionally awakened by the distant thud of a coconut hitting the fine, white sand.

We stayed in Zanzibar for 10 days and returned only when we learned the strike had been resolved.  Our friends all said we looked “different” when we arrived back in Kenya, but it wasn’t our deep olive tans or my now sun-bleached blond hair – they said it was in our faces, particularly our smiles.  Zanzibar Island is one of those truly beautiful places on earth where your entire attitude and frame of mind can be transformed through the simple pleasures of fresh fish, ocean air, and juicy slices of mango.  

About James Foster
After attending the University of San Francisco, James lived in East Africa, then eventually settled in New York to pursue a full-time career. He landed a job with one of the elite luxury personal concierge companies and worked as a Dedicated Account Manager for nine months before leaving to pursue other endeavours. He now devotes most of his time to Africa’s charitable causes as a freelance grant writer. In addition, he plays semi-professional rugby for the New York Athletic Club and remains an avid traveler.

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With an abundance of wildlife, coupled with rugged landscapes ranging from the sprawling Serengeti to lush rainforests and pristine beaches, the region is truly a destination for the ultimate traveler. The sunsets seem richer, the water seems more blue, the smiles of locals more sincere. Photographers often insist that taking pictures in Africa is the easiest assignment there is...since the pictures really take themselves. The descriptions and stories told by others who had seen the continent?s raw beauty and witnessed its visual and soulful magic firsthand, inspired me. So after graduating from college I volunteered and served as a Communications Director at Daystar University in Kenya. It was a position that was indeed challenging, but provided me with the tremendous opportunity of being able to explore wondrous locales that had previously existed only in my imagination.

With an abundance of wildlife, coupled with rugged landscapes ranging from the sprawling Serengeti to lush rainforests and pristine beaches, the region is truly a destination for the ultimate traveler. The sunsets seem richer, the water seems more blue, the smiles of locals more sincere. Photographers often insist that taking pictures in Africa is the easiest assignment there is...since the pictures really take themselves. The descriptions and stories told by others who had seen the continent?s raw beauty and witnessed its visual and soulful magic firsthand, inspired me. So after graduating from college I volunteered and served as a Communications Director at Daystar University in Kenya. It was a position that was indeed challenging, but provided me with the tremendous opportunity of being able to explore wondrous locales that had previously existed only in my imagination.


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