What you need to know:
- The mushrooming bars in Dar es Salaam and other cities are evident to whom the liquor targets---the young people who have no other outlet for their depression but the bottle
By Anganile Mwakyanjala
To Tanzanians, The Royal Tour was more than a tourism documentary. It was to many a breath of fresh air for getting a memorable opportunity to show the rest of the world what a beautiful country God bestowed upon us.
A delegation went to the United States and launched the documentary there but eventually, we would see the documentary celebrated and launched here in Tanzania.
It was clear that tourist attraction is not only for foreigners but for Tanzanians too, and they were urged to explore their motherland. Tanzanians are in awe and proud of the natural beauty the country has and can even name a few of the attractions we have.
However, visiting these national parks and other tourism destinations has been a privilege some people wouldn’t partake in, maybe it’s like living next to Eiffel tower, while visitors would crowd to take a picture next to it, the locals would just walk by.
But with the help of social media, the Royal Tour momentum has not been lost, and now with an improved economy, young Tanzanians are venturing out of their usual hangout spots around Dar es Salaam’s busy night scenes and choosing a quieter place to unwind.
Vicky Albert is a young Tanzanian in her late 20s. She booked a two nights stay at one of the most luxurious hotels in Zanzibar with her three friends.
“Tourism is for everybody, it’s not only for white people or foreigners,” she insists. Vicky needed a break from the hectic life of owning a business, she needed a different experience from Dar es Salam. “It’s just about planning how you will enjoy your time” Vicky says. Vicky went to Hotel RIU Jambo located by the beach in Nungwi Zanzibar, she found comfort with the fact that it’s a one-time payment that covers everything, from meals to drinks and she found that very convenient.
In the hotels nevertheless, most guests were white and Vicky knows that it will take a while for young Tanzanians to travel and to appreciate the beauty that our country has.
The mentality among young Tanzanians is that you have to break a bank to afford a vacation. That is not true. Hopefully, soon young Tanzanians will not be afraid to visit such places.
Vicky says she didn’t really care about the race of other guests, she was there to have fun and that is what she was going to do. “The two nights we spent there were costly I admit but we planned our savings well and when we had enough money we knew this experience is once in a lifetime and we took it.”
Vicky insists: “It was worth it, trust me it was worth every penny,” she affirmed.
Vicky got a master’s degree in business administration in 2017. She would later get employed, but the office environment was draining, the work environment was very stressful in her former job, she would spend eight hours every day for every workday of the week, meeting workmates who also have their stress and with navigating through all that was very draining for her so she resigned.
During her university days, she would oftentimes daydream of getting her degree and a good-paying job and enjoying her life but the reality was different.
The mushrooming bars in Dar es Salaam and other cities around Tanzania are evident to whom the liquor targets, the young people who have no other outlet for their depression but the bottle, and these days it’s more than the bottle as cheap liquor comes in a different package. A lot of young people are using liquor as their antidepressant. Vicky decided to go on a vacation with her three friends and leave the busy Dar es Salaam for a while. She had to quit her job when it took a toll on her mental health. “I had to realise that my mental health was more important than that job,” she said.
She left Dar es Salaam midday and after a ferry trip of what was close to two hours she was at Zanzibar’s port, she was chauffeured to the hotel and they were amazed to find the hotel has five swimming pools, without unpacking they toured around the hotel and see all the beauty they had been advertised if it lived up to their expectation, of which it did.
As the sun was setting they had to get ready for their first dinner, not sure what to expect. After a few minutes, the dinner table was ready a mixture of all cuisine from across the world, a buffet of limitless choices.
“I love eating. So, maybe that was the best part of this trip, I was in awe of the food, there was even live cooking, they literally were cooking right there as we were eating,” Vicky said in amazement.
The dinner table was filled to the brim, with ice cream, meat, and drinks, and unlike other hotels, they were allowed to eat as much as they wanted and they were spoilt for choices.
After the meal it was time to unwind with a glass in hand,.The hotel had a spot called “Bongo Flava” a special dance floor where guests would dance to all genres of music. Vicky’s mind was for the moment refreshed and washed off the noisy Dar commotion as she danced the night away, that was the first day in Zanzibar.
The next morning started late and when she woke up the breakfast was equally stocked with a variety of foods to choose from. At the breakfast lounge she would meet other Africans from South Africa and Nigeria along with other nationalities, and the food attested to the inclusivity of different cuisine from other parts of the world.
What followed was finally diving into the five swimming pools they had seen coming into the hotel. The hotel is by the beach and for the first time she went snorkeling, an experience she says she will never forget.
She would also try her hand at jet skiing. “It was my first time jetskiing, it was very scary but that is the thing I was looking forward to in Zanzibar, ‘’ she remembers. “If there was an option to stay in Zanzibar I would have stayed, ‘’ Vicky laughs.
She feels there is so much more she has not seen and would plan to go back. Zanzibar trip wouldn’t be complete without henna drawing that is synonymous with Zanzibar’s culture and Vicky went and had her hand decorated as well.
Zanzibar has a range of hotels, it has a range of prices and it doesn’t have to be an expensive hotel, you can have a fulfilling experience without hurting your pockets. “At some point I also thought I was spending too much but when I got there, it was worth the experience. You can always travel on your budget,” Vicky said.
This won’t be the last vacation for Vicky. She still plans to go to national parks soon,.
Tanzania is bestowed with so much beauty. It would be a shame to not see it. “We only live once and tourism should be part and parcel of your life, if you get a chance to travel please do,” said Vicky. Vicky also meditates and prays as a way to manage her stress and now she travels to replenish her energy and face the new day.
Vicky would later start up her own event planning business. “It’s something I loved doing but did not think it would be a business, I would help friends planning their wedding,” she said. A friend would later urge her to make it official and she has never looked back.