The Gentlemen's Expedition - Chilling in Zanzibar
Mikael Strandberg’s A Gentlemen’s Expedition Through East Africa shares his return to Kenya and Tanzania with Kensington Founder Jeff Willner in a soulful 5 part series. His insights on the rhythm, people and life in East Africa invite readers to go far beyond the surface of this popular safari destination. Strandberg is the creator of the internationally renowned documentary The Masai People – 1,000 Kilometers By Foot (2002), in which he spent 8 months living and traveling with the tribes of the Masai Mara.
A professional explorer, filmmaker for the past quarter century, Strandberg is considered one of the 50 most important explorers in the world by the Royal Geographic Society and the Explorers Club has called him “the best contemporary explorer in the world.”
PART IV – Chilling in Zanzibar
by Mikael Strandberg
“This is cocoa!” our guide said, smiled and showed us a fruit that looked anything but what he said, and then added; “The gem of the spice tour of Zanzibar!”
Even though it was my second Zanzibar spice tour, I really enjoyed it. It is a fascinating tour into the world of spices and it gives a wide perspective on what they can be used for, like for example medical purposes. Jeff had picked up a cold and immediately stuck a couple of red chilies up his nose, which did wonders.
It was great being back on Zanzibar, not only because it is such a laid back paradise of sandy beaches and nice people, but also because I heard some Arabic spoken again and having been in Yemen for a while, and Oman, I saw the influences all the way down here still today. Not only the doors in Stone Town but the less nice legacy as well - the slave trade. And, if one can call this enjoyment, I saw the less developed part of Africa. Kenya had just shoot of and built up a middle class, but this important development aspect seems very far off in Zanzibar. For me, it was the Africa I remember from back in the year of 2000. Good memories most of them. Africa is such a diverse and lively place and going from one end of this long island to the other, well, most of it was still a crappy potholed tar road, but full of interesting villages and the closer we got to the most populous part; the more of life were on offer.
We had a nice stroll in Stone Town. Few people know that Zanzibar was kind of the place were all early Africa explorers collected their equipment, planned their routes into the interior and Sir David Livingstone´s house from this time, and is still on view on Stone Town. Although I think the liveliest place are still the markets!
We stayed at Palm´s in Zanzibar. Same place which also had hosted Rwanda´s president Paul Kagame and one of the richest human beings on earth, Bill Gates and his wife. All of them had the pleasure to enjoy the owner´s company, Ante Raguz, who is half Swedish. This made me very proud and happy. The Palms is really a paradise in every way. The food, especially the selection of sea food, is superb, as is the service and closeness to the Pacific. It was really a great place to finish off ten marvelous days in the company of the Giraffe, the Common Goat, the Impala, the Eland and the Hippo. Yes, I was the Wart Hog!
And believe me, after 10 days of partying I felt like one at the end!
Mikael Strandberg has travelled to 117 countries and has slept more than 2500 nights in his tent. The Explorers Club in London considers Mikael "the best contemporary explorer in the world" at present. He is currently working as an explorer, a lecturer and a writer and has produced three internationally renowned documentaries for television: PATAGONIA – 3,000 kilometers by horse and THE MASAAI PEOPLE – 1,000 kilometers by foot and his much awarded, -58 degrees – exploring Siberia on skiis. Considered one of the world’s 50 most important and famous explorers, Kensington Tours is proud to have Mikael as one of our Explorers-In-Residence.