In Dongwe, on the south-east coast of Zanzibar, the luxurious 5-star Zawadi hotel is built on a coral reef, facing the Indian Ocean. Aesthetics and wonder guaranteed.
Opened in June 2016, the Zawadi, one of the Raguz family's luxury hotels, faces the coral reef in one of the island's most popular locations.
Arriving at the hotel at low tide is enchanting. No less than fifty shades of turquoise dazzle the visitor.
As soon as we step through the front door, a thoughtful waiter has already offered us a fresh coconut juice. We will be spending two nights in this cocoon of well-being that reinvents Swahili style.
Built high up to respect the harmony of the coastline, opposite the coral reef, the hotel offers nine spacious 100 m² private beachfront villas, each with a pool and a large terrace overlooking the ocean.
The infinity pool overlooks a white sandy beach set in a private cove, sometimes completely covered at high tide. A wooden staircase leads up to the pool. Here you can swim in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean almost all year round, snorkel directly from the beach or organise a scuba dive.
We appreciate this interlude away from the hustle and bustle of the world.
The charm of the place works and, faced with the immensity of the ocean, we rediscover the meaning of the words "here and now".
The room is spacious, with a pyramidal roof covered in woven palm fronds and a high ceiling.
Staying in this harmonious setting is undoubtedly a powerful experience, as you breathe in the fragrance of the rosemary blossom and grasses, bathed in the African sunshine.
Devoid of children and their sometimes noisy joy, the hotel is very zen. All guests are 'all inclusive', which means you can forget about money during your stay and make the experience even more immersive. As the saying goes, "if you can't relax at Zawadi, God help you".
In the kitchen, everything is homemade and the chef develops dishes with Zanzibar and international accents, in particular the seafood that the fishermen deliver every day.
An activity not to be missed and accessible to all, a snorkelling trip to the "blue lagoon", near Dongwe, on the Michamvi peninsula. This is a spot of breathtaking coral and marine life, in water that reflects only turquoise blue light. The hotel organises everything. All you have to do is get to the meeting point. You can extend the experience by visiting the 5-star Padi diving centre, Rising Sun Dive, which welcomes beginners and advanced divers alike.
Stone Town: the heart of Zanzibar
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Freddy Mercury's birthplace reflects the Arab, African, Indian, Portuguese and Persian influences that have shaped this stopover on the route to India. Carved wooden doors, verandas and buildings of many different influences reveal the city's mixed heritage. Getting lost in this maze of lively, multicoloured alleyways, linked together like an untied shoelace, is full of surprises: children run past, painters work in their open studios, women dressed in colourful saris stroll by; a bar broadcasts a football match in the street, bringing together nonchalant strollers and informed spectators. At the end of the day, the sound of the muezzin rises from the mosque, drowning out the noise of the scooters and the cries of the market, leaving the historic city to return to itself, calm and peaceful. This is when the details of ordinary life come into focus.
To round off the day, we suggest you take in the eternal spectacle of the sunset at The Africa House, a bar with a terrace facing the west coast of the island. In total bliss.
Text: Capucine Ferry
Photos: Capucine Ferry and Jérémie Josten