Recently I got a chance to travel to Zanzibar on a 4-day business Trip.
Zanzibar is a part of Tanzania in East Africa. It is an archipelago in an Indian ocean, 25-50 Km off the coast of mainland. One can reach this island from Dar-e-Salam via ferry or through an air flight. My mode of travel was by air. My itinerary was hectic as I have transit at Mumbai, Ethiopia and Nairobi before I landed in Zanzibar. I heard that it was an exotic location and a popular tourist destination. When I landed in Zanzibar all excitement vanished as my luggage didn’t arrived at Zanzibar. Since I was on a business trip all my clothing and other necessary items were in the checked-in bag. I didn’t know what to do. Then I approached the local airport authorities and filed a Property Irregularity Report describing the details of the baggage and its content.
After that I came to resort and rested. I called the airport authorities to know the status of the baggage but did not receive any positive reply from them. Then I had no other option but to go to market and buy some clothes for the next day meeting. I bought trousers and shoes and by the time I came back it was dark. Then I met my other colleague who arrived from a different flight and explained the situation to him. I borrowed a shirt and tie from him for next day meeting
The next whole day went into meeting. But all this while I was praying that luggage should arrive safely. When I reached hotel in the evening I asked hotel staff to call the airport authorities again. The airport officials said that they have received the luggage and will deliver it after 6:00 PM. I was relieved and went to room. The luggage was delivered at around 7:00 PM with no contents missing. I was happy and that night I had a nice sleep. Next day also went into meeting.
Being a vegetarian it is always a problem for me on these business trips finding an Indian food. I was fortunate that other colleague of mine knew an Indian restaurant. The restaurant name was ‘Silk Route’ and was located in stone town. This restaurant was purely an Indian restaurant and was run by what seems to be Parsi or Sindhi couple with guy from Kerala as the manager. The food and service was good.
All my colleagues left the same day from Zanzibar. My flight was next day after 3:00 PM local time. So I had half day to roam around in Zanzibar. The first place I wanted to explore was Stone Town. Stone town was next to harbor. The sea water was clean and one can see blue water everywhere. I explored the lanes of stone town for souvenirs. I bought couple of them for myself as well for gifts. The town was clean and people were very friendly. Unlike other African countries which are unsafe, Zanzibar is peaceful. One can roam around alone without any fear.
Near stone town there is a fort and Palace Museum. I went to these places and clicked few pictures there. There were some other places worth visiting but due to time constraint I could not do so. After that I went to hotel and got ready to leave to airport.
I also do coin collection, so I requested the hotel front office staff for local coins for my collection. They helped me with that too.
The staff was very helpful (Thanks David and Stephen !).
This was indeed a memorable trip in terms of the experience I had there. Few learning from the trip which could be helpful to others is:
- Always carry a pair of clothes in the cabin baggage; business suit if you are travelling on a business trip so that in case of baggage delay you can manage for day or two.
- If you have travel insurance always retain the bill of purchases as the insurance company asks for the same for claim processing which I did not do and I lost some good amount of money
- Retain the photocopy of PIR(Property Irregularity Report) and original boarding passes, baggage tags for the entire trip till the trip is completed which are required if there are such issues.