A spicy island

Posted by Rich Talcott
on Thursday, November 14, 2013

After leaving the Masai Mara on November 6, our MWT Associates, Inc. group split into two. Eight people decided to extend their game viewing with a trip to Tanzania to see Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti; the rest of us opted for rest and relaxation on Zanzibar, an island in the Indian Ocean not far off the African mainland.

Pods of vanilla beans hang from a vine at a spice plantation on Zanzibar. // photo by Evelyn Talcott
Friday, November 7, promised to be our first day of rest and relaxation on the whole trip. Unfortunately, the skies opened up in the early afternoon, putting a damper on our hopes of enjoying the endless sandy beaches.

Saturday proved a better day. We spent the day touring the island, starting with a two-hour visit to a spice plantation. We saw how the workers cultivate allspice, black peppercorns, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and more. The plantation also grows coconuts, grapefruits, and oranges. We got to sample all of the products. Although another downpour interrupted our visit, it proved more of a nuisance than a calamity.

Senior Editor Rich Talcott stands in front of Freddie Mercury’s boyhood home. // photo by Evelyn Talcott
After the spice tour, we traveled to Stone Town, the island’s largest city. Our tour included a visit to old slavery sites, the city market, and a walk through the town’s narrow and borderline claustrophobic streets and alleys. But the highlight for me came at the end of the walking tour when we saw the house where Freddie Mercury grew up. The late Mercury, lead singer for my favorite rock group, Queen, is arguably Zanzibar’s most famous native son. It was a great way to wrap up an unforgettable 10 days in Africa.

Related blogs:

Animals for as far as the eye can see

Sand, Sun, and storms — but no totality

Into Africa

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