All the roads lead to Kizimkzai, one may say. Well, not all really. In fact it’s around 80 minutes drive on the busy road that connects Stone Town with the south situated city in Zanzibar.
Private taxis will bring you here for 30 USD. Kizimkazi is small fishing village, famous with fishing games and dolphin watching tours. Most of the fish supply for Stone town is caught here in the rich waters, beyond the reef.
The number of the tourists choosing to spend the holiday here has been slowly increasing in the last few years, but the place still keeps the traditional fishing village look and the local life runs at its own pace. The mornings are getting lively with groups of people, coming on daily tours from Stone Town to seek for the dolphins and, after crossing the sea in zig zag patterns in small boats, they are heading back.
Minutes after they’re gone, the silence and the peace are embracing the bay again.
There are two bays that accommodate the tourists: the small one, close to Kizimkazi Dimbani and the main one, Kizimkazi Mtendeni, where most of the fisherman boats are anchored. Here is also the main departure point for fishing and dolphin tours.
I stayed at Bella Vista Resort on the small bay. The resort is run by foreigners and locals and has the mixture of western influence with African style. It has a wonderful view over the bay, its own restaurant and an inviting pool.
The Daily Life in Kizimkzai, Zanzibar
The morning brings freshness and a good breakfast with a view just like from a post card. The children are already at the beach, playing and collecting the sea bounties. The men, with eyes pined at the horizon are waiting for the boats with the daily catch, whilst having noisy chats. You can see women with bags, collecting sea weed, and boatmen negotiating with a couple of tourists. All the social life happens on the beach and it’s strongly connected with the ocean. The ocean here is rich. The ocean here gives life to almost everyone.
The breakfast is eaten, shower taken and I am ready to explore the area. I always prefer moving on my own feet, mixing with the stream of locals, following their rhythm.
The life goes pole – pole, or slowly – slowly. The map says 32 minutes, 2.6 km walking distance to the other bay. I’ll beat the heat and go right away. There is always more to see walking than sitting in the car. The car windows always have borders.
The road is smooth with green sides. Few bikers, few trucks loaded with fish are running mostly in the opposite direction. The walk is pleasant.
Reaching the first houses of the village I hear the voices of the children: “Jambo”, “Jambo”, or Hello. “Jambo” I say back and smiles are blossoming on their faces.
The hoses are simple, the roads between them muddy and the people happy. Greetings are flying and the road goes fast.
Arriving at the bay, the water is still, with a heavy and cloudy sky above. The Kizimkazi beach is empty. It’s all for me. Lots of boats are hanging in the water. You can feel the smell of fish that has been here just moments ago. There are still few pieces lying on palm leafs, waiting for a good deal. I spot marlin and tuna fish. They are pretty, fresh. Few locals are pinned around them, bargaining and resizing the price according their budgets.
The beach is white sanded and broad. Few kids are running around, breaking the quietness. It’s time to enjoy the scenery, sitting in the shade, drinking fresh coconut water.
A guy is coming slowly from the ocean with his catch. “Jambo”, I greet, ” Jambo” comes back to me. The fish are good sized and it’s about time for lunch. “Hakuna matata” – no worries, we agreed, I can have one grilled for 25.000 shillings, or about 11 US dollars, right here at his restaurant in Kizimkazi. The restaurant is a shack, a bit unstable, with a top floor offering a wonderful view, just 20 meters from the bay. The floor creeks under your feet while you are walking. Five guys collected money and built it together, and now they run it on shifts. My host is a smiling a talkative 25-years-old named Saif.
Sitting upstairs is a great thing. I have the view of millions. The life runs down and I am watching it from my hidden corner, up above all and everything. Feels like I am in a cinema, in the front row seat.
In a while comes the fish, it looks tempting and the smell is divine. It is served with rice and Swahili stew. The lunch is real feast.. My host comes often to ask if everything is fine and if I need something more. Nothing could be better at the moment. The place, the food, the time… one more dream came true!
The water is gone. Low tide. Now the beach is enormous. The kids and families are around collecting what the water left behind in the rock pools. New beaches are now accessible, the landscape is different. I am taking the road back jumping around the stones, seeking for an easy path on the beach along the rocks.
The nature here is stunning: sharp rocks with green tops, untouched white sand and silence. Crabs are running in different directions, group of small fish are swirling in the pools as I pass by. Kizimkazi is heaven on earth.
Back at the small bay. The ocean bottom is dry. The water splashes somewhere far to the horizon. The boats are stuck, lifeless on the bottom, with stretched arms and fingers dipped in the sand, just like preparing to fight. To fight not to be dragged away from the shore, behind the reef, away from their captains.
The beach at this hour is getting busy. The sun goes down and the temperatures are lowering. The sand is becoming a stage for performances. Groups of young lads are demonstrating their acrobatic skills, jumping and doing somersault at the upper corner of the Kizimkazi beach. Small kids are rolling parallel with them, imitating the movement and all the noise makes the place come alive.
Now I can spot small pyramids of stones here and there in the bay. They are also part of the women’s business here in Kizimkazi. Under the stones the women keep coconut shells for few months, so the water makes them soft. After the certain period they are collected and stored at the beach house, where they hit them with sticks to separate the “hair”. After, the strings will be used to be knit in strong rope. It is the only occupation of the local women.
The sun is behind the evening clouds, rolling down to give its light to other parts of the world. The pace of life is slowing down. The day was long and filled with new things. It’s dinner time: fresh yellowfin tuna, vegetables, rice and a cold beer. Just hanging around the pool, sharing the today’s impressions with other travelers. What more do you need? That’s the perfect end of the day!
’’Usiku mwema, Kizimkazi!’’ or Good night!
Deyan is an enthusiast for exploring the world and investing the free time in traveling to learn and expand himsef. Dreaming to leave his foot prints in each country from this wonderful world. Loves memorizing every moment and corner with photos. You can find him on Facebook and on Instagram.
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