Please also look at paintings for an impression of this place.

When I was a kid I remember the film Road to Zanzibar. Always thought it was an exotic sounding place and it lived up to its reputation – Zanzibar island is terrific.

It is an artist’s paradise – buildings, sea shore, people, colour, spices, markets, history etc.

The big attraction for me was Stone Town, first settled by Portuguese in 1560 but mostly built in from mid 19th century and visited by such people as Livingstone, Stanley, etc., whose traces remain.

There is much to see – old fort, palaces, churches, seashore activity. As an artist, one of the most fascinating things was the buildings and the narrow streets between. Many of the buildings were built with a rag coral and, hence, are fairly fragile. This makes for very interesting wall patterns-great to paint. There are many great doors -originally meant to reflect the owner’s status. Many of these streets were heaving with activity and, of course, many retail opportunities for the local craft.

These were great painting locations – if very hot and humid. (SEE PAINTINGS) It also gave great opportunity to interact with locals-particularly the kids who were so fascinated but friendly-many hours of interaction took place. There was also a lot of contact with local artists who have a particular style called Tingatinga, which is very colourful.

The beach and port were the start off location for everything from fishing trawlers, freighters to smaller boats. Particularly interesting were the local Dhows. This was a single sail, large, robust wooden vessel. It was multi-purpose from carrying tourists to goods and livestock to nearby ports and islands. With the wind behind it could reach substantial speed.