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Paradise found!


OH and I have always believed that there are too many parts of the world we haven’t seen yet, to go back to the same place twice.

But, Pemba Island to the north of Zanzibar, in Tanzania, has just changed all that.

After a horrible journey via Qatar, which was so delayed in Paris that we thought we would miss all our connections, we eventually boarded our little plane in Dar Es Salaam.

And with a sigh of relief, it was…

Check, check, check…contact…and chocs away!

We landed, briefly, in Zanzibar. Who’s in pole position, do you think?

Then it was on to Pemba. As we approached the south coast, it looked as if the island was hovering on the edge of being sucked into a deep hole in the ocean…

But, soon after, the landing strip was in sight…

…and we’d arrived!

We had to take a little road trip next and, on the way, our driver climbed a clove tree to bring us some fresh cloves. Cloves are the island’s main source of income and their exportation is strictly controlled. They are unbelievably pungent when you squeeze them.

After half an hour, or so, we reached the port and were, at last, on the last leg of the journey to our hotel. It’s only accessible by boat.

We headed out past the mangroves…

…and, after about twenty minutes, we caught our first glimpse of our destination…

That’s our suite!

Lizzie was waiting for us on the jetty…

And we were shown to our bungalows…one for sleeping and one for lounging…and our own pool! Bliss!!

So, what should we do now, we thought? We could walk down from the veranda on to the beach…

…or we could go up to the pool, where the views were amazing…

We chose the pool. After all that travelling we needed a late lunch,a couple of fundu coladas and a big snooze.

All needs seen to, we were woken in the late afternoon by lots of vervet monkeys, who’d come to the pool-side to play…

It’s not very clear, but this one’s looking at a little blue bird on the rope…

It was time to go back down to our veranda, then…

…to catch our first sunset…

…and get, quickly, along to the jetty bar to get a sundowner to accompany the view!

Next day, we explored the beach…the tide was low…

I love mangroves…

Then we wandered out on the jetty, passing the beached dhow (which, at the time, we thought wrecked)…

…to do some snorkelling. There was all sorts of sea-life…juvenile barracudas, lion-fish, clown-fish, sea-cucumbers, amazing star-fish, to name just a few…and…
…you know those huge, wavy-lipped clams which trap divers feet in old treasure-hunting films?

They were all there…

…but, all I could get a photo of were the crabs!

Their bodies carve curious, crab-shaped patterns in the piles of the pier…

That evening the (not wrecked) dhow set sail and we all went for a sunset cruise. The helmsman’s name is Simba (Swahili for “lion”)…no prizes for guessing why!

I asked Chichi if the boat was very old. He said, “Yes, Ma…very old…”
I, then, asked him if it was as old as my husband…
…and he said, “Hmm, no, not that old” lol!

There could be no sunset cruise without sundowners, of course…

Or a sunset!

Many times, we were woken at 00.00hrs, Swahili time, (that’s O6.00 to us, or dawn on the equator) by those cheeky monkeys…

…playing on the roof and on the veranda outside the bedroom door…

They’ve even figured out how to unzip the tent doors, so you have to padlock them out at all times…or they trash your room!

Though, the scuffling in the undergrowth was only down to the land crabs…

On one our trips to Misali Island, we were surrounded by dolphins who stayed with the boat…

OH and the guys went there to dive and I was left on the island alone (or so I thought) to snorkel…and explore the bush. And, this is what I found…

…a huge old Baobab tree. On it’s trunk is carved the name of the first ship to visit this island…HMS Kingfisher.

…and another curious monkey!

…then, suddenly and unexpectedly…a strange man jumped out of the undergrowth with an invitation to take tea with him in his house! I was quite taken aback, but, I, politely, declined…after all, I was in a bikini, thinking I was the only person on the island…and, in a Muslim country! Turns out that he was the ranger (it’s a protected area)…

…still, when I told the dive-guys, they said, “What…REALLY??!!”

I can’t help thinking that it was incredulity that, after taking all these gorgeous young things there…he, finally, hit on me…
…well, he was small…and in advancing years…

OH just said that it could ONLY happen to me…lol

Which leads me to realise that you may be wondering why there are no people in any of these photos…

The villagers do come by the beach. The hotel dhow takes them to the port for shopping and they go home, along the beach…

And the buffalo cart delivers vegetables and rice to the hotel…all grown in the village…

…but, apart from that, there really isn’t anyone else…except the lovely staff at the hotel…and a maximum of thirty-six guests…and it was never full during our visit. So, it’s not a good place to go if you don’t get on with your other half…

And, it does rain sometimes. Well, it is a rain-forest…but, it didn’t dampen our spirits…

And, then, far too soon it was time to come home. So here are a few more sunsets…

Oh, my…they’re all squint! Must be down to a surfeit of too much wonderful food, too many lush cocktails (have you ever had an expresso martini?) and not nearly enough sundowners…
…or far, far, far too relaxed arms…

I think they all apply…but, in the meantime, bye-bye Fundu…

And, for the very first time, we know that, by hook or by crook, we’ll be back…

…after we’ve navigated the Road to Zanzibar, on the way home…! :)

More blog posts by karenfrance

Previous post: Flogging a Dead Fish (or The Pond Diary of a Delusional Idiot)

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What a holiday in paradise! It was interesting to see the cloves, and a surprise to see they are red. How did you come to think of going there?

11 Nov, 2013


Wow Karen! What a wonderful place. Paradise indeed!

11 Nov, 2013


Welcome home Karen..what a holiday! I felt as though I was there with you,throughout your lovely photo's and blog..just wonderful,from start to finish.I knew you were ready to chill out,but what a way to do it..I like your style :o)) xx

11 Nov, 2013


Paradise indeed x

12 Nov, 2013


Hallo, everyone! We just got home at the weekend - two days travelling by the daft route we find our water cut off...we forgot to pay the bill!

I was quite surprised to find that the cloves were so colourful too, Stera. I think that they must be pretty old by the time we get them. But, I think that's true of all the spices we get...they all taste better in these countries where they're grown. I wanted to go to Zanzibar, it's always been on my "bucket list"...but, the travel agent suggested a couple of places on Pemba instead, and, boy, we chose right!

Mel and Pam, it's fantastic. From the moment we landed in Tanzania, we were bowled over by how friendly everyone is...and when we got to the! It was worth the long journey to get there. :)x

Haha, Bloomer, you're so right! We accidentally found Paradise! The most taxing thing we had to do all day was decide where to have lunch...dining room or pool...and what to eat...
The personal torture sessions will be hell this!
Just away to catch up on everything...will PM you later :)))

12 Nov, 2013


Interesting blog Karen. Beautiful place and gorgeous photos. The dolphins are lovely.

12 Nov, 2013


Thanks Sg. It is such a beautiful place and hard not to get good photos! There were dozens of dolphins in that school...and, often, you could see them playing in the distance. No sharks, though, maybe that's why :)

12 Nov, 2013


That was a magical place, and the sunsets were very romantic.
I'd love to see the sea life there ... especially a sea cucumber. I remember learning about them in school but never saw one.
And the dolphins .. how wonderful ! :o)

12 Nov, 2013


Oh, Hywel...snorkelling in the Indian Ocean is like taking part in an episode of the "Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau". Do you remember that? :)

These sea-cucumbers were different to any I've ever seen before...they were segmented, like giant worms!!

The clown fish are my favourites, though. They are really small, but so brave, as they defend their urchin against all comers...

And, as for the dolphins...I'm with you there...! :))

12 Nov, 2013


Kaareeen !!!!
I feel as though I have just returned from an amazing trip !
What a wonderful holiday for you both .
I've put it to faves because though I would love it , OH wouldn't , but my sister is always seeking exotica so I'm going to tell her all about it .
A long journey , but well worth it , I would think !
Thank you .

12 Nov, 2013


Oh, Driad... was the ultimate destination, for us (although, we didn't know that, until we got there)...and, honestly, it takes a lot to say that...
...because, there's a great, big world out there...

All I can say is, get your sister to google Fundu Lagoon...leave your OH at home, and go with her!!

12 Nov, 2013


I remember Hans and Lotte Hass, Karen, ... on my grama's tv back in the 50s lol

12 Nov, 2013


Lol, well, I'm just a wee bit too young for that, Hywel :))

But, my OH talks about Lotte and Hans quite a lot...they inspired him to become a four star monitor diver...and serious "bubble-head"...for which I'm very grateful. Not only did he take his passion into a career...he also took me into the depths...

(which was no mean achievement, when it came to getting me down there, lol!)

12 Nov, 2013


Well that's good :o)

12 Nov, 2013


getting me down to twenty metres (in shark-infested waters...well, they all are, if they're warm, lol) was almost a miracle! :)))

12 Nov, 2013


You're very brave to do that !

12 Nov, 2013


I spent my whole time, every time, looking over my shoulder to see if there was anything with big teeth approaching from behind...

I was a nervous wreck..., now, I just snorkel...within easy reach of the beach! :)

13 Nov, 2013


I don't blame you ... lol :D

13 Nov, 2013


ooooooooh Karen how amazing, am green with envy, lucky lady you. What a bit of paradise there and such happy people too. I also didnt know how a 'clove' grew, interesting, I love them with apples etc.

13 Nov, 2013


I'll save my tale about being attacked by a trigger-fish for another time, Hywel...big teeth, but, blunt (ish)! :D

Get your apples over to Pemba, won't be sorry! :)x

13 Nov, 2013


Ah yes - Hans and Lotte, with the wonderful accents! And all in 405 black and white!

13 Nov, 2013


Lol Karen, will have to have a word ! :)) x

13 Nov, 2013


Don't encourage me , Karen .

14 Nov, 2013

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