The last trip for 2016 took me to Tanzania, more specifically the islands of Zanzibar. This beautiful archipelago just off the east cost of Africa offers a unique mix of Swahili roots, island lifestyle, arabic influences and a rich, albeit troubled history.
The Red Colobus
This species of red colobus monkey is endemic to Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago.
While large for European standards, these ants don't bite.
Mangroves are an important part of Zanzibar's ecosystem, protecting the island from erosion. This is south of the Jozani national park - while a few km from the sea, the water reaches during high tide.
Cows in Germany, Camels in the UAE, Monkeys in Zanzibar.
Deep in the Forests
Walking into the Jozani forest with our guide, with its truly impressive trees. This is the only National Park in Zanzibar.
Looking up into the trees at Jozani forest.
A local taking home his lunch on the south-west coast of Zanzibar.
Our place of residence near the village of Kizimkazi in the south-west of the island.
A different kind of room.
Two local women walking on the shore near Kizimkazi.
Local fishing boats on the shores, with a traditional dhow on the left side.
Fishermen's boats on the shores of Kizimkazi.
This beach is crowded in the mornings when the local go out for fishing.
The locals enjoying the sunset at the main square of Kizimkazi.
Probably Zanzibar's most famous restaurant.
At high tide you can only reach the restaurant by boat, at low tide you can just walk over.
While very expensive for Zanzibari standards, the location is indeed special and the experience and food was excellent.
Seen from The Rock island. Unfortunately the Winter isn't the right time for the Milky Way.
Darkness and clear skies make for amazing views into the universe.
Stars over the Sea
The bright area on the horizon is Dar Es Salaam on the Tanzanian coast.
On the Lookout
A local looking for fish just off the coast of the south eastern side of the island.
One of the two species of dolphins you can find in Zanzibar.
A traditional dhow sailing on the coast of Unguja island.
The waters of Zanzibar do feel have a special colour to them.
Our guide during a visit to Uzi Island explains us the location of the various features. Iss was very proud of the conservation and community efforts on his island and pleased to hear we were from Germany - it seems many of his initiatives are supported by German organizations.
He often has visitors staying on the island for volunteer work and ensures they all leave a legacy in some shape or form.
While closed during our visit, Uzi island is also home to a Turtle recovery centre for the various species of turtles in Zanzibar.
A chicken family on Uzi island.
A Baobab tree if I'm not mistaken. Legend has it these trees had some kind of devilish powers and hence were cut down - in Uzi this perception was reversed by using them as carriers for bee nests to produce honey.
Inside the Baobab
You can walk inside this tree - bushbabies often use it to find a hole to sleep in.
Hanging with the Gang
He was particularly entertained by the name of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Minister for Foreign Affairs. They knew more about German politics than me.
Up the Trees
A local girl climbing up a palm tree on Uzi island.
Road to the mainland
Which turns into a river later on during high tide.
Mangroves on Uzi lsland
The plastic bottles mark the location of seaweed patches being grown by the locals of the island.
Some local kids picked this up and showed it to us during lunch in our guide's house.
Zanzibar's south-east coast is a great spot for dolphins. Unfortunately this also resulted in many questionable tours where the animals are surrounded to allow tourists to swim with them. This wasn't the case here luckily, so pick the right tour guide.
Promised Land Bar
The bar in our Lodge, not a bad place to hang, regardless of your drink preference.
While evenings don't get particularly chilly, the nightly fire was very pleasant.
All good as long as there's a mosquito net.
Talk about feeling exposed.
What does one have to do to get a drink around here?
Low tide makes for this view towards the sea.
The outside view of the aforementioned lodge rooms.
The Old Dispensary
One of the nicer buildings in Stonetown.
This strange room in the Dispensary was dipped in green light with tinted window glass.
Stone Town Restaurant
One of the many small restaurants in Stone Town.
Most parts of Stone Town aren't particularly beautiful.
Beit el Sahel
Others have a certain charm though.
Local kids looking out the sea from the Stone Town waterfront.
Views from the Old Fort with Baital Ajaib in the background.
Stone Town is the birth place of Freddy Mercury - or Farrokh Bulsara as his original name was - and this is said to be the house where he was born.
St Joseph's Cathedral
The Roman Catholic church built in the late 1800s.
A dip of color
Stone Town is quite colorful, owing to the reddish tone of the coral stones large parts of the city are built of.
... because this doesn't really work and is a trick to make the tourists climb up the tree.
With spikes - said to be added to fend of elephants knocking their heads against the door.
With the verse from the Quran and without the round arc at the top.
We spent an hour with him walking through Stone Town. As with many Zanzibari's, he spoke pretty fluent German.
House of Wonders Clock Tower
A view of the clock tower of the House of Wonders, built in the late 1800s as a palace for the second Sultan of Zanzibar.
Love this board game.
View over Stone Town
Taken from the amazing Swahili House roof top restaurant.
While largely muslim, there are several churches and cathedrals in Stone Town, living peacefully side by side.
Zanzibar was one of the capitals of East African slave trade until the early 1900s.
One of the two restored slave chambers at the old market in the city, where these poor souls were put into until it was time for the sale.
Look At Me
The population of Zanzibar seemed relatively young. The life expectancy sits around 60 years.
Many parts of the city looked like they could do with this kind of support structure.
In the Sunshine
Two locals taking a rest on one of the side streets in Stone Town.
Time for a Swim
The south western corner of the Stone Town was filled with locals enjoying the beach on this Friday afternoon.
Power and water supply are still a major issue for the island. Many buildings get running water with flexible pipes like these running alongside buildings.
No album without a cat.
Stone Town is famous for its decorative doors.
At the Emerson at Hurumzi with its amazing tea house roof top restaurant.
From the Emerson at Hurumzi.
Looking over the city towards the old Dhow harbour.
Probably one of the coolest locations for a restaurant - the rooftop of the Emerson, one of the highest buildings in Stone Town.
Probably the most any of us know in Swahili.
Seemed to be a big part of the culture. This was at a weekly market on Friday evening at the Forodhani Gardens.