After spending time in Stone Town and the nearby village of Nungwi, we decided to visit the eastern side of the island. We picked the village of Paje and it was no surprise that it consisted of more beautiful beaches laden with silky white sand and turquoise water.
There are several countries in Africa where the same advice applies; if there is political unrest it’s best to avoid traveling just prior to, during or just after an election. We thought we had done our due diligence in our research to avoid any elections. We did not realize Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania and therefore has its own government and election, which had just taken place.
Zanzibar has a history of violence and even deaths occurring during past elections. The voting had already taken place, but people were starting to gather in protest against the results. We were told it would be best to stay on the east side of the island until things settled down. The activity in question was happening in the capital of Stone Town where we needed to leave from.
We were advised that because we were tourists that we could become a prime target for an attack. This would cause international media coverage and attention to the election, which is exactly what the protesters want.
We will never know if this could have been a ploy to keep us in the area longer to spend money, but either way we were not going to worry about hanging around for a while longer. We had no set schedule and it was a peaceful and beautiful area. I think we could be stuck in worse places. By this time we had been on the island for ten days, we had we will refer to as “beach brain.” We had little ability to think properly and it was too damn hot to care, so more time in Paje it was.
Don’t Assume Your Accommodation Has Around The Clock Electricity Or Hot Water
Our first accommodation had intermittent hot water and no electricity at night. This is something we don’t have an issue with, but we found their nightly rate too high in spite of this. We wandered further down the beach and came across Kitete Beach Bungalows. It was clean, had internet access and a restaurant, which was all we could ask for. The service was rather lackluster, but what’s the rush, we’re on island time!
If you’re looking for some nightlife, Paje By Night is located just behind Kitete. It’s has a lively bar and serves up some tasty food options.