All posts in Africa

Zanzibar South, Tanzania

It was a hot pedal out of Jambiani with Eddie through Paije. We started out on soft sand, then pavement for a hard 10-mile stretch underneath the sun before rolling on the red clay off-road tracks of southern Zanzibar. Eddie was a skilled rider and rolled in fast. The trail was packed in hard, tech, punchy but also short and sweet, connecting farms and small villages in between.

We meandered our way into Mangoni, a small village where we met Eddie’s friend Ramodan for lunch. We set our bikes aside and walked around to get a closer look at things. We talked everyday life here and I shared mine in contrast. We looked the same in color but from different sides of the shore, with different perspectives but we were all in this together. Women in the villages were breadwinners. They participated in farming, the building of materials, domestic needs, everything.

We hiked to the local mangrove forest that shelters the coastlines and supplies the villages with the foundation for housing and trade. This was important and what Romodan coined a prized resource.

After our short visit to the local mangroves, Ramodan invited me inside his home for lunch. There he introduced me to his wife and we sat on the floor in preparation for his traditional home-cooked meal. Rice with sardines and mashed green peas. It was delicious and one of the most nutrient dense meals I’ve had during this trip. 2 servings, laughs and good times. I instantly felt like family.

We were closing in on the evening with a good 30 mile ride back to Jombiani. We passed through different villages and trails which brought new discoveries. While on the last stretch of tarmac all of the day’s experiences began to unfold. One of the things that pleasure me the most is that they haven’t forgotten the old ways. They feel the passes in the wind and the fibers between their fingers when tying rope. There is no absolute way of doing things, but more of the model of their reality and way of life. These were humbling memories never to be forgotten but passed on.

Zanzibar North, Tanzania

Nestled in the Indian Ocean east of Tanzania is Zanzibar. A 60-mile island north to south with beaches that stretch to infinity until you find the next sand bar.

But before the ocean lays the road. A mix of paved tarmac and rocky chopped up streets that lead into the villages. Homes and storefronts made from stone and others mangrove trees with red clay packed in concrete. This is a different world. An undeveloped world and economically on opposite sides of the spectrum. A world where the discovery of resources for many are just beginning. People were in poverty and easily seen everywhere. While it may be the everyday anxiety the people I’ve met while riding were rich with laughter and happiness.

We started in the North end of the island of Zanzibar. We stayed on a strip of beachfront resorts and local restaurants near Kendwa beach which is known to be one of the best beaches in the world.

Kendwa Beach Zanzibar
Locals watching a soccer game at the fish market in town

The next day we met up with our tour guide Congo who rode Diane and me through the local village of Nugwi which is right on the top of the island. Congo is an entrepreneur at it’s finest. He operates his own bike touring company called Kili Adventures and sets up multiple tours on the north island. After getting our bikes ready we rode out of the small village and onto the tarmac that led us to the banana tree jungles further north. There was never-ending beauty here.

Congo on bike
Nungwi Village
Workers in Nungwi
Banana Tree Jungle, North Zanzibar

In the Jungle we explored the Portuguese ruins that dated back to the 16th century. Afterward a fresh fruit lunch and a ride through the villages to the local blacksmith where we were shown the materials and tools that were used for building. Everything was made by hand and shipped locally to vendors and other trade prospects. 

Local children
Children on bicycle
Local children at play
Diane riding through main Nungwi street

After a long day of riding the sun began to fall and we headed back into town. This was an adventure to be remembered.  

Sunset in Nungwi

  • If you enjoyed this post share it with your community!
  • Stay tuned for part to cycling Southern Zanziba
  • Resources for Bicycle Tour: Zanzibar Cycling Tours