It started with being picked up and carried over the threshold into my room at Maru Maru to sitting on a street corner for three hours talking to an ever increasing group of gentlemen about politics, religion, the plight of women in Zanzibar and world affairs.
Everywhere I go in Stone Town I am never alone, unprotected or without entertainment. In fact, I am not only spoiled (an ever increasing trend in my life lately) but I cannot possibly do everything that I am being invited to do. Like a kid in a candy store it is hard to choose from all that is being offered. Never one to simply do the tourist thing, I am being invited to and shown life as the people of Zanzibar know it.
I barely finish one planned activity when I am off to experience something totally different. I know that my hired guide is a little miffed that I am out and about instead of relying on him for tours. But why pay for a guide when I can get chaperoned around by respectful gentlemen that know how to show a girl a really good time. Since Muslim men here are so respectful of women they even explain to me when we are walking at night in crowds that they might need to take my hand so I don’t get lost or separated from them in the crowd.
To be truthful, I have never felt safer anywhere else in the world that I have travelled. A stark contrast to Dar es Salaam where the only time I felt safe was in a vehicle or at my beach resort.
So my advice to any single woman out there who wants to travel somewhere exotic alone and feel safe. Stone Town, Zanzibar is the place for you. The food, culture, history and lushness of scenery make it a must see but it is the men and women who will make you feel incredibly welcome and safe. I am so glad that I chose it as my holiday destination. It truly has been a dream vacation.