Lance Richardson travelled to Zanzibar with Bench Africa to experience the "Colourful, chaotic and more than a little crazy, Zanzibar".
Here is his story...
An irresistible mélange of cultures and influences.
Perhaps nothing captures the strange magic of Zanzibar so well as its full-moon parties. Imagine walking down to a beach and climbing aboard a dhow (sailboat). Almost immediately, the dhow hits a sandbar exposed by low tide. You can see everything in the moonlight: figures building a bonfire; somebody arranging a stereo. Meanwhile, more dhows are arriving. Suddenly, the sandbar is thronging with bodies. People start to dance and they continue for hours, until the tide turns and the water begins to rise again. They dance ankle-deep in water until the sandbar disappears and they seem to be dancing in the middle of the ocean.
Zanzibar is like that: beautiful, beguiling, a little deranged. “For a person who’s creative, it’s a great place to get inspiration,” says Doreen Mashika, a local fashion designer who can be spotted walking around Zanzibar in a Panama hat and blue zebra-print outfit (which she calls her “Serengeti jumpsuit”). “Sometimes I get a little too inspired and have to tell myself, ‘Stop! That’s enough.’ ”
Located just off the coast of Africa’s Tanzania, Zanzibar is an archipelago; its two largest islands are Pemba and Unguja. Pemba is known for its diving and untrammelled beaches, though most visitors go to Unguja, which is often simply called Zanzibar and sometimes the Spice Island.
Lance Richardson is a writer, journalist and editor born and raised in Sydney, Australia and currently living in New York.