Feb-March 2010

Day 1 of Diary

Day 11 - Mbweni Ruins Hotel, Zanzibar

Rooms at Mbweni
Some of the rooms at Mbweni

Zanzibar is so relaxing! Anna and Cesare and Boni, the managers at Mbweni Ruins Hotel, were there to greet me with a glass of fresh mango juice. It was lovely to be back there, with flowering trees all around – the hotel is set in gardens (planted by myself, from 1991 onwards) and many of the trees have labels, especially the palms, which are the largest collection in Tanzania.

Room 14 


I settled into my room – one of just thirteen suites, overlooking the gardens, pool and the beach. I was in room 14, with a balcony right above the beach, and little waves were plashing in to shore as I gazed down. There was a dhow anchored in the little bay, near the jetty which extends out a couple hundred metres. This has proved a magnet for the local kids who love to dive off it.

Tumaini in the main Bar

After I unpacked, I headed for the dining room on a clifftop over the sea – there was many smiling faces to greet me. Many of the staff at Mbweni helped to build the hotel and have stayed on to work in it. Others have arrived later, and all seem to be equally friendly and full of fun.

Mangrove Bar 

Mangrove Bar
The Mangrove Bar, perched above the sea.

As well as the main bar, there is also an attractive Bar on three levels, above the jetty and beach. Its a nice place to relax for afternoon tea, or for a sundowner in the evening.

The Rain Tree Restaurant, overlooking the ocean

I lunched in the restaurant, overlooking the Indian Ocean – lots of salads with fruits and fresh veg were on the menu, and plenty of fresh fish, with chicken and beef for those who don’t love the fruits of the ocean!

Sitting area 

Sitting area
The sitting area in the Restaurant complex

It was pretty warm – over 40 deg C to my reckoning, and we were glad of the fans swishing round over our heads. There are nice relaxing areas between the bar and restaurant, and a cool breeze bleow in from the sea.

There had been a power cut in Zanzibar for the previous 3 months – this was due to problems with the underwater cable between the mainland and the islands. The hotel had been running on generator and we were all very glad when after a few days the power returned and all is back to normal as I write. Even if it breaks again, Mbweni is able to run the generator for around 16 hours of the 24, and as the guests are all out during the mornings and afternoons, the jenny is shut off to allow it to cool down; this generally works very well.

The jetty 

The pool and beach

In the afternoon I went for a cooling swim from the beach, and ended in the pool for a final refreshing dip.

Mbweni Dining 

Seafood dinner

As the sun went down in the west, I enjoyed a sundowner in the Mangrove Bar above the waves, followed by a super seafood dinner. I had put on the air-conditioner in my room when I went for dinner, and was able to turn it off, opening the louvre windows to the balcony, and switching on the ceiling fan. I drifted off to sleep to the sound of bushbabies calling in the tree beside my room, with the waves for background music.

.....forward to Day 12

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