Every trip out of Lagos begins with an infuriating experience at Murtala Mohammed airport. From having to duck from punches being thrown at airport officials by visa rejects to these same airport officials rummaging through ones underwear/bikini bag, it’s simply not fun. After both ordeals, still, I was optimistic. After all, my sister and I were headed to what The Telegraph had described as the ‘The Island of Magic’ for 4 days. However, this trip is a sturdy reminder that nothing good comes easy friends.
The first flight from Lagos was delayed by almost 2 hours, the queues were too long and the aircraft ventilation was poor to say the least. We got to Nairobi after a stressful 4 hour flight and waited nearly 6 hours for a 25 minute connecting flight. 12 hours later, at about 1am local time, we made it to Zanzibar and it was worth it.
We decided to stay at the Melia resort throughout the duration of the booking and do all the tourist activities after we had checked out on the last day so that we didn’t miss a second of all that Melia had to offer. The resort was the next best thing to paradise; serene, beautiful and fun!
We intended to fully utilise the ‘all inclusive’ aspect of the stay and I have to say, we took the piss. Within 3 days, we managed to consume over 60 alcoholic beverages between the both of us. Call it alcoholism, I call it being prudent. We also had about five delicious 3-course meals each day because why not.
Immediately we arrived, we made our way to the famous Melia huts built at the end of a long wooden bridge, took some pictures and then proceeded to enjoy our first of many cocktails. We pranced around with pool for a bit, had a meal, some more cocktails and then back to our room to get changed for dinner. Dinner was a buffet setting which also consisted of bottomless wine and for this reason we found ourselves spending an average of 3 hours at the restaurant every evening because my mother once told me to always maximise the full potential of any opportunity I’m presented with.
Day 2 way spent at the stunningly blue Gabi beach lounging on bright orange beach beds and beautifully knitted hammocks, drinking, eating and enjoying the sun. We did this for 9 hours straight and we were asked to leave at about 7pm but never mind that. We had another excessive dinner and got changed to appropriate party outfits. The hotel manager had offered to take us ‘clubbing’ earlier in the day which I initially though was just part of the great service offered at Melia but I found out later on that it wasn’t. We drank, danced, queued for the toilet, danced and drank some more. My sister is a lightweight, so that was also fun to watch.
On our last day at the resort, I decided to set ourselves a task of walking to Gabi beach which was about 2 miles away. About 2 minutes into the trek, a hotel shuttle rescued us from what was about to be a stupid mistake. Turns out a guard had seen us and called reception to let them know about 2 stupid girls who were about to walk 2 miles on a sandy beach in slippers. Once we got to Gabi, we repeated the cycle from the previous day and once again were asked to leave. We hadn’t had enough so we made our way to the gym’s infinity pool where we did everything else but swim… of course a photo shoot ensued.
We also enjoyed the gyms sauna where we nearly suffocated because of a 10 minute laughing fit brought on by a drunken attempt at singing cannonball by Damien Rice. (Something my sister and I do often) This was my favourite part of the trip.
We changed into our cute dresses for more wine and a spectacular seafood dinner; lobster, octopus, life-size shrimp and calamari were just a few organisms on the menu… delicious!
On the last day, after our humongous send off break fast, (The Nigerian in me asked for a takeaway bowl and I’m not ashamed) we sailed away on an old but beautiful wooden boat to Safari Blue (hung over might I add) where we swam (drowned) in the deep blue sea with exotic colourful fish and our ridiculously annoying tour guide. It would’ve been a better experience if they provided us with better snorkelling equipment but this was not the case so I discovered what it feels like to breathe in salt water and it’s not a great sensation. We went for a swim in the ‘Natural swimming pool… probably the most normal experience we had. Afterwards, we had another huge seafood lunch followed by a painfully slow sail back to the shore. I went shopping for souvenirs in the market square while my sister relaxed and drank some more at some hotel bar. I got all my friends and family their gifts and it was time to head to the airport.
The trip back was interesting. It started with a heated verbal battle after Kenyan Airways tried to sneakily move us to their next flight out which was 7 hours away. I don’t yell in public places or cause scenes, but the thought of being stuck in an airport with no walls or doors brought out my inner beast. After repeatedly shouting “That flight will not leave if I’m not on it” 2 flight engineers had to disembark so that we could get to Nairobi in time to catch our connecting flight to Lagos. (I probably wouldn’t have done anything if we got stuck.)
Nairobi to Lagos was a dream… as a frequent (economy) flier, I’ve made a habit of creating my own comfort on long flights. I found 2 empty rows for my sister and I, we laid across the seats for a short nap and woke up in Lagos.
Tanzania is a beautiful country and has the kindest inhabitants. Other than the hassle required to get there, the trip was damn near perfect. The only document required before departure is a yellow fever card and it’s pretty easy to come by. (They won’t let you on the flight without it!). And you can get your visa on arrival for $50 but make sure you have a funded credit or debit card as you can’t pay cash. The service at the Melia was great, the food was awesome, the cocktails were strong and it is a stunningly picturesque resort; totally instagram worthy!