Lionel Shriver enjoys the private seclusion of the luxury tourism industry by taking “three different planes, two charmless layovers, no AC, a minivan and then a speedboat” to paradise bursting “with gargantuan papaya, jackfruit and mango trees, like the set of Jurassic Park.”
Shriver explains that he was first drawn to Pemba, a small island northeast of Zanzibar because of Pemba’s famous cash crop: cloves and it was not long before he spotted them “swathes of cloves were spread to dry not only down the road’s meridian, but out on the tarmac, where cars and cycles crunched across the crop.”
First stop in Pemba was the Fundu Lagoon where “thatched in coconut palm, tasteful tented accommodations lined a beach of the kind of fine, white sand used in hotel ashtrays, before a sea of such a surreal aqua that it looked photo-shopped.” Shriver enjoyed the sense that he had the Indian Ocean to himself but enjoyed the “barbecues on the beach (with a whole red snapper the size of a small whale) and Swahili dinners on the jetty (chopped cassava leaves, seafood in coconut milk)” that helped to keep the programme moving.
Fundu Lagoon also offers snorkelling although Shriver finds that “the best entertainment at Fundu is a good book and “the lounge tent under a ceiling fan is the ideal escape from the brutal afternoon sun…” allows him to finish an 832 page novel. The Fundu spa provide massages with the use of “tumeric, yogurt, mango and brown sugar, coffee and Dead Sea salt.” With a “full-time local staff of 140” Fundu caters to your every whim while the resort supports a local school and is “planning to build a clinic as well.”
Back on the mainland, Shriver takes a spice tour and visits the Chake Chake market where the “ culinarily inclined should be sure to stock up on cardamom, cloves and black peppercorns for back home, all with five times the potency of their desiccated counterparts at your local supermarket.”
Shriver enjoyed the friendly feel of Pemba where instead of folks saying hello “because they want your watch…folks actually say hello to be friendly and a few locals know enough English to converse.”
Rainbow Tours (020 7226 1004, www.rainbowtours.co.uk ) has a six-night stay at Fundu Lagoon (plus a night at the Zanzibar Palace) from £1,897pp, including flights from Heathrow to Zanzibar, with Kenya Airways via Nairobi, all meals, drinks and activities at Fundu, flight to Pemba and transfers.
Alex and Will loved “Kenya’s stunning landscapes, wildlife and luxurious lodges, combined with Zanzibar’s beaches.” They flew to Nairobi and after a short stop over flew to Joy’s Camp in northern Kenya “with its luxurious tents, pool and outdoor restaurant.” From there they stayed at Elephant Watch in Samburu and enjoyed the “indoor/outdoor feel with open-air tents, outdoor bathrooms and huge terraces… The food was amazing and the vibe was totally chilled out.” From there they toom a “short flight to the Masai Mara – the largest reserve in Kenya” here they spent “an hour watching a cheetah and her cubs playing and fighting.
In Zanzibar they spent two days at “the lovely Zanzibar Palace Hotel in Stone Town before moving on to Matemwe, a little lodge with thatched bungalows on the beach.”
Take us there
Rainbow Tours (020 7226 1004; rainbowtours.co.uk) offers a 12-day honeymoon to Kenya and Zanzibar from £3,170 per person. This includes flights, taxes, transfers and inclusive accommodation: two nights each at Joy’s Camp, Elephant Watch and Saruni, one night at Zanzibar Palace in Stone Town and three nights at Matemwe Bungalows, with meals and guided walks.