The perfect trip to The Kipepeo Lodge
Kipepeo location and “Intended Audience”
The resort is located about one hour by car from Stone Town, on the South-East coast of the island. Behind Kipepeo Lodge is a typical African village, Jambiani. Nearby other small structures arise, but in general the area is very different from crowded spots of the traditional resorts. The ideal visitor who chooses Kipepeo Lodge is often a do-it-yourself traveler, who does not like the standard organized packages and who prefers the originality. If this is the case, the traveler will still find at The Kipepeo Lodge a series of personalized services (transportation to and from the airport, up to the catering at the villa), that represent a high value for money (see the page on our services for the description of the offer).
In practice, Kipepeo is suitable for you if:
- you love travelling with your family and/or with other friends’ families;
- you don’t appreciate vacation/holiday packages;
- you are a traveler and not a tourist;
- you need a perfect escape, for staying alone with your endless love, having dinner under the moon;
- your party is made by people of all ages, willing to have fun, to relax, to enjoy easy life, to celebrate, to be happy for a lifetime;
- you are a sportsman or a sportswoman, since this is definitely the place for kite-surfers, joggers, bikers, sailors, fishermen, divers;
- you want a fantastic wedding on the beach, or simply renewing your vows in front of the ocean, while an incredible multicolored sunset fills your horizon;
- you are an artist, since this is definitely the place for writing books, painting, creating music;
- you are an idealist;
- you love to love;
- you think that tomorrow will be better than today;
- you feel that travelling is the best way to spend your money.
Some additional information: the Ten Commandments of a perfect trip to The Kipepeo Lodge
- visa on arrival at the airport : get off the plane and line up to get the visa. Cost $ 50 (in this case better to pay in dollars even if you come from UE, because otherwise, officials make the equivalence $ 1 = € 1).
- baggage claim and exit from the airport : it is the “critical” part of the arrival. The airport is badly organized and unloading of luggage is made by hand, using trucks that carry the luggages to the space below the one for the visas queue. The luggages are then taken in hand by some people and deposited in some desks. This often creates confusion, especially when there are more planes coming in at the same time. Charge yourselves with “holy patience” and DON’T feel that the luggage is being lost: most of the flights are direct and there are not risks. You can try to describe your luggage to any of the employees, but then they will probably ask you a small tip. Speaking of tips, (finally) it is forbidden to employees of the airport to ask tips to travelers, but this habit, however, has not disappeared, it has only become less visible. Once retrieved the bag from the benches, it could be that someone asks for tips to avoid checking the luggage. The tip should always be avoided in the airport, with firm kindness. If you are resolute and determined there will be no problem, because the insiders recognize the most experienced travelers and of course tend to turn to those less prepared. If, however, some engaged in “customs” wants to open the bag before you go out physically from the arrivals hall, let them do it well on the benches near the gate, dedicated to that task. The issue is a pure pro-forma and is resolved very quickly.
- just outside the airport : Our staff is outside with a sign / paper bearing your names. They will lead you to a mini-van that will transport you to Kipepeo. If any employee can help you with transporting bags to the van, you can leave them a few bucks as a tip (bring with yourselves some dollar bills. See following, regarding the issue money and foreign exchange currency, for more information on the subject).
- Transport to The Kipepeo Lodge : the journey takes about 1 hour. It crosses the island from west to east. The first stretch of road is leading to out of town, passing some “souk” where you will notice the swarm of the daily business . Continuing out of town you will proceed on a “provincial” road, which crosses the island’s less populated areas (fields and forest). You’ll meet with some frequent “checkpoints” of the police of Zanzibar (white or cream uniforms), carrying out checks on the transport of tourists and goods in general. The controls are actually dedicated to the verification of drivers’ licenses for transport, for which the traveler is not bound to any verification and will not interact with the police. You can then relax quietly for the entire trip.
- arrival at Kipepeo Lodge : on arrival there will be a welcome drink, breakfast or whatever, depending on the hour and there your relax will begin. It will be useful to acclimate to this place of great peace.
- extra meals: every day you can choose where, when and what to eat. The options are varied. You can eat at Kipepeo. The reference is always our assistant manager (who is also managing an excellent chef). For lunch, you should notify the manager with a little in advance: If you want to eat something, she should be notified a couple of hours before the desired eating time. You’ll get used to the time of Zanzibar. It’s very relaxed and the concept of “fast” or “stress” does not exist. There is a phrase in Swahili (the native language) playing “pole pole” which means “slowly”: you will often hear it. In any case, the manager will offer various solutions of food (from “tease” or more elaborate). For evening, the choice is whether to dine on the veranda of Kipepeo, facing the ocean or go via the beach to some small restaurants nearby, in a mood full of romance and scents of the island. The advice is to alternate the two solutions. Kipepeo also has a kitchen equipped with everything you need. Among more modern tools, the “stove” is the traditional way of cooking, or from wood-burning braziers (which work very well, sometimes we had wonderful baked spaghetti, for someone who just could not help but …). The cost of meals will be cheap with our manager. As an example, in a week, it is difficult to exceed the equivalent of € 60-70 per person. Among the trips advised at a later point you will find one at the beach of Michanwi, where the Rocky restaurant stands, an amazing place on an outcrop of coral reef in the sea, where you can eat excellent lobster for a price of around 16,000-20,000 shillings (see later for the equivalence of currencies). There are no specific recommendations about food: it is very safe and healthy (fish, vegetables, rice, fruits …). Red meat is absent (we are in a Muslim country, anyway). But you can eat chicken. For breakfast there is always the famous spicy tea.
- main activities in Kipepeo : you can spend the whole day in the garden for sunbathing, relaxing to no end. The sea is literally a step away, but you have to calculate the times of the tide. It is one of the most outstanding features of the island: the water in times of low tide, around noon, tends to retreat for about 200 meters up to the reef, exposing the sea floor, in a dazzling sparkle of colors . Alternatively, the excursions to be done are many and varied. Our manager can provide you with a certified guide that can lead you almost everywhere. For each of these trips, the cost is calculated according to distance. Always agree with the manager in advance in every aspect. The main views from which to choose (if the stay is a few days) are:
- spice tour,
- dolphin tour,
- a ride on the characteristic local boat (dhow) sailing,
- trip to the nearby beaches (one of the most important is Paje, judged the fourth best in the world … and to Michanwi, which we have mentioned).
- trip to Ras Nungwi (the northern tip of the island and then to Sazani Beach, where we usually go and where there is a breathtaking view of …, an enchanted place, unreal, a must). This trip is challenging because the journey one way is more than two hours. Recommend in the days after your arrival, when you are relaxed. The tour allows you to see much of the island, because it crosses it, in its entirety,
- trip to Stone Town to characteristic places of the British colonial era. The staff also knows where to lead you to eat,
- trip to Jozani Forest (where the red colobus, the typical monkey that lives only in Zanzibar, stay all day long). There is a ticket to visit the forest. It’s more “touristy”, but pretty,
- Other activities are well organized at the villa (some of them are really rare and memorable: try for example the visit to the Pungume Atoll. We have been among the very first on the island to discover this incredible gem). We already agreed to organizing safaris in Tanzania and visits to the island of Pemba. We are also able to organize the ascent to Kilimanjaro.
- “Tips for shopping” : the local handicraft is very characteristic, ranging from fabrics to painted woodwork, silver worked up. The manager and the staff (eg., our driver Hassan) know several stores and shops in Stone Town, where, at various levels, you can make convenient purchases. Few of these places accept credit cards (they are not very popular in the island in general, so make the payment in dollars or shillings). You can always negotiate the price.
- currencies to be used : the local currency is the Tanzanian shilling. The value is approximately as follows: 1,500 shillings = $ 1. For a change accurate and updated, please refer to the website: http://www.xe.com/ucc/full.shtml. The euro is now circulating on the island. Enough to make it convenient not to change everything in U.S. dollars from Europe. The staff knows many money changers in Stone Town where you can make the changes in shillings, at rates that are cheaper than the ones given by the major banks.
- interaction with the local population : the inhabitants of Zanzibar are known for their kindness and courtesy. They also have dealt with the Western attitude through the island’s history. It is very pleasant to spend some time with them, especially at Kipepeo, as it stands in front of Jambiani village. Most of them speak English well, some try, but all of them do understand. Ultimately, the language problem does not exist. In any case, you will understand them perfectly.
For a very broad and comprehensive guide to travel to Zanzibar, we recommend you to visit:
Finally, what we hope is that this trip and these places will remain in your heart, as it has happened to others and to ourselves. We do not pretend to think that this experience will change your lives … but we believe it will imprinted in your memory. You will confirm it to us.
The Kipepeo Lodge – www.kipepeo.it