Zanzibar is known as the Spice Island due to its long reigning history with the spice trade. On this dazzling island paradise, drifting in the Indian Ocean, the air is permeated with the sweet scents of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves that grow from nearby plantations.
No trip to Zanzibar would be complete without undertaking the fascinating Spice Tour. After you have spent your days soaking up the sun on the pristine white sands, exploring the labyrinth streets of Stone Town and sipping coffee on the verandah of your hotel, organize taking the Spice Tour to better develop your understanding of the beautiful island of Zanzibar.
The tour will take you on a walk through the rich green plantations, where you can spot vanilla pods hanging heavy on the vine, green peppers like decorations, bulbous cloves and festival red nutmeg. Not only are the plantations a wondrous sight as the sunlight glazes the thick green stalks, but taking the Spice Tour is a fantastic way of seeing the island countryside without the mayhem of the city serving as a distraction.
The Spice Tour can be highly interactive as you trample through mud and pass through tiny villages, wave at the workers who are busy in the fields, climb up trees, tear open pods, taste exotic fruits and ignite all your senses at once with the heady aroma, tastes and textures of a world of spice.
The tour usually starts with a trip to the Kidichi Village. This village was once famed for its opulent Persian baths, laid out in a maze like structure with underground aqueducts providing the steaming waters for the rich merchants who liked to bathe there. The baths have long been closed but still provide an excellent platform for viewing the cultural heritage of Zanzibar.
Next the tour will take you through Kizimbani Village. This is the place to immerse yourself in the perfumed scent and sticky sweet taste of jeweled fruits and soft spices. You can taste cardamom, fresh black pepper, fragrant coriander and earthy cinnamon. You can witness the fields of lemongrass, the cloying vanilla sticks and the best cloves to ever exist on the modern market. You can purchase the rich array of spices you see on offer as the perfect souvenir to bring back memories of Zanzibar from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Yet the tour doesn’t stop with spice, you also have the opportunity of tasting prickly pineapples, ripe yellow bananas, bulging mangoes and exotic jackfruit. Vines and creepers, emerald green leaves and the stunning countryside make the Spice Tour a rich and exotic experience not to be missed.
You can also learn about the healing properties of local spices as many of these fresh flavors are used by local witchdoctors to aid good health.
After the tour there is also the chance to eat a fabulous, traditional Swahili lunch adorned and cooked with the spices you have seen on the tour. As you lift the spoon to your mouth your taste buds will flame with a new found appreciation for the delicate joy of spices.
Most visitors choose to book their Spice Tour through their local operators or hotel. The length of the tour is usually three hours. The price usually includes all transportation costs, a specialist guide, entrance fees and lunch. Guests are encouraged to dress accordingly as there is a fair bit of walking involved. Long trousers, comfortable shoes and sunblock will help make your tour an enjoyable experience.