Earlier we had changed our schedule in Zanzibar from staying in Stone Town the whole time and maybe visiting some of the other towns to splitting our time on the island between staying in Stone Town, then staying in Nungwi, then to Paje, and finally we will spend a week in Kendwa.
Stone Town: 2 weeks
Nungwi: 1 week
Paje: 2 weeks
Kendwa: 1 week
Stone Town was lovely, a beautiful three-storied house that had plenty of space for us, but there were some barriers (read my other post: Barriers).
Nungwi worked better than Stone Town. It was a lovely house with AC that had a lush, tropical property littered with passion fruit, banana, and papaya plants that we could help ourselves to. We used some fruit from the area and saved money by blending our own smoothies. The only 2 downsides of the place in Nungwi were the ants (read Jasper’s post: Ants!), and the outdoor kitchen. Back in Seattle, we cook over half the food we eat. In Zanzibar, the majority of our dining is done out. We enjoy cooking for ourselves, but the kitchen in Nungwi was very small and its abilities were limited. Ants and a small kitchen were not enough to put a frown on our faces, for Nungwi had many wonderful aspects to it!
Paje was maybe worse than Stone Town. The staff were wonderfully nice and comforting people, but the owner was a jerk. He got very grumpy when we approached him with our concerns. The listings promised a free kitchen to use, but it turned out that the place was also a restaurant, so we were not allowed to use the kitchen, and were forced to eat out every lunch and dinner (they served free breakfast). They also promised wifi, but it was very unreliable, and it cut in and out. Our door lock broke, so we couldn’t lock our door, and they didn’t fix it. When we got there the floor and beds were covered in sand, and someone’s dirty underwear was hung up in the bathroom. We all had to sleep in one room, and our bathroom was small and dirty. Worst of all was the heat. You will not believe how hot it was in Paje. It was probably almost 110°F, night and day, and all the time we were there, we were sandy, sticky, and sweaty. It felt hot to us, who were already used to the temperature. It was hard to sleep without sticking to the sheets because of sweat, and everything is magically covered in sand. When I looked down at my arm, I could see little white flecks of sand in all the little tiny folds of my skin. Despite all the hardships, we got a lot of schoolwork done and made it through the 2 weeks. I would always tell myself that it would be over soon.
Paje probably would have been fine with us, because we can live with all the other difficulties, expect for the fact that the owner was a jerk. We would not recommend that place to other people.
Kendwa is easily 5 times as good as Paje. We took the long taxi drive with our taxi driver, Yahya, who is always there to take us around the island, through the Zanzibari landscape. My jaw dropped to the floor when we arrived. We had a beautiful view of the ocean (and sunsets because the ocean is West) and a house with a big kitchen (with a blender, and a coffee maker, and a toaster, and stove, and tupperwares!). We could cook our own dinner, and relax! There was AC, and a nice breeze flew through the place. There were many open spaces for doing schoolwork and playing the 2 boardgames that we carry with us everywhere. We could make our own smoothies and drink them with the sunset, and cook our own foods. One of my favorite things was that the floor was clean. No sand. I could slide my foot across the floor, and touch it and it would be clean! I am very good at keeping things clean if they start clean, and Paje did not start clean. I jumped up and down with glee just thinking about our next week here.
The only reason we are staying in such a fancy place is because Janet asked politely for a discount, because we are filling in a gap in their schedule and on the condition that we don’t get the upstairs rooms, and they don’t serve us breakfast.
We aren’t fancy people, and we are tough travelers, and are okay with places having problems, but we just feel so lucky and happy when we get a place like this.
Below: Huge Upgrade in Kendwa
Below: House in Paje
Below: House in Nungwi
Below: House in Stone Town
Below: Sunset in Kendwa