Balance September 2017 - 64

T R AV E L

informally known as Zanzibar, has experienced
a boom in health and wellness travel. Until 2007,
you'd be hard-pressed to find a Western style spa
on the island. It's not that beauty and wellbeing
haven't featured here. Quite the opposite:
indigenous flowers and spices have been used
here for health purposes for centuries. Head
to the Hamamni Persian baths, built by Sultan
Barghash in the late 19th century, and you can
easily imagine how wealthy Zanzibaris spent
their time in bygone days.
Reports by luxury holiday company Kuoni
claim that Sub-Saharan Africa has the fastest
growing spa and wellness tourism in the world.
And Zanzibar is one of the main contenders.

Zanzibar on
Africa's east
coast boasts
white sands and
turquoise seas.
Below top: Fresh
peas on a market
stall. Bottom:
Sultan's Bath,
Frangipani Spa

FRAGRANT FIND
Stefanie Schötz founded Mrembo,
RO CK BIRT H
one of the first modern-day
Freddie Mercury,
spas, here in 2007. And dozens
lead singer of the
rock band Queen,
of others followed. The island
was born in
offers much for yoga enthusiasts,
Zanzibar in 1946
too, with various rooftop sessions
as Farouk
available in Stone Town and at
Bulsara.
retreats (check out yogazanzibar.
com) popping up all over the coast.
One of the reasons Zanzibar has lured me
here is its mystical character. Once a key
trading port in East Africa, 'the Spice Isle' was
where ships of spices were imported by the
Portuguese from South America and the Far
East. The island was sought after by Indian,
Persian and Arab sailors and the Omani Arabs
claimed the territory from the late 17th century,
establishing plantations across the island.
As a result, the Zanzibar you see today is an
intriguing mix of ethnic cultures and Stone
Town - a World UNESCO Heritage Site - is an
enigmatic time capsule of crumbling merchant
houses, incredibly elaborate Indian and Arab
doors and narrow winding streets you will
undoubtedly get lost in. The use of herbs and
spices prevails. Zanzibari women adorn their
bodies with henna, made with the mhina plant.
Markets overflow with hawkers selling an
array of spices used for cooking - cinnamon,

Stefanie Schötz,
founder of the
Mrembo Spa in Stone
Town, shares the
Swahili traditions you
can take home.

64

HENNA is used by
Zanzibari women
who apply it to the
skin in Arabic, Indian
and African designs.
It's made using the
leaves of the mhina
plant, citrus juice
and, sometimes,
black tea, and is said
to have an antiinflammatory effect.

UDI o r OUD
is the Omani
incense many
Zanzibari women
use as perfume.
It is made from
sugar, rosewater
and musk. Many
premium brands,
including Jo
Malone, have
Oud fragrances.

...AND RELAX
After exploring the mesmerising streets of
Stone Town, I head to Zawadi, a stunning
retreat on Mswakini Beach on the island's
south-east coast. This collection of dreamy
villas has been open little over 12 months and
is an example of where the 'new Zanzibar' is
heading. Think spacious villas with traditional
Swahili-style thatched roofs, with stylish
all-white interiors where the scent of jasmine
pervades. I visit the nearby Frangipani Spa,
with its brass lanterns, dark woods and Arabicstyle arches creating the sense of a Sultan's
palace. And I book in for a massage where my
muscles are pulled, pressed and pummelled.
Like many travellers in Zanzibar, I'm here
to escape the rat race, get some breathing (and
thinking) space and build myself up again
before I return to the grind of London life.
And, here, there are all sorts of sophisticated
wellbeing retreats that will help you do that. B

TH E SINGO
SC RUB is made
by mixing ylang
ylang, jasmine, rose
petals, sandalwood,
geranium and sweet
basil with rosewater
in a traditional kinu
blender. It's often
used by Swahili
brides in the lead up
to their wedding.

BA LA N CE September 2017

TH E VIDONGE
C LOVE SC RUB
is a unique
blend of clove
stems and buds
with rosewater,
traditionally
used by men on
Zanzibar's Pemba
island. It's said to
increase a man's
libido and stamina.

A KUKAN DWA
MASSAGE is
the application of
soaked castor seeds
or leaves to the
body and is used to
relieve fatigue and
muscle aches
after childbirth. It's
another treatment
used in the islands
for centuries.

PHOTOGRAPHY: STOCKSY, BREEZES, BARAZA, ZAWADI IMAGERY THE ZANZIBAR COLLECTION, LUCY McGUIRE

ANCIENT
BEAUTY &
WELLBEING

ginger, turmeric, garlic, nutmeg and vanilla
among many others. And chai tea, made from
cardamom, ginger and clove, is poured from
ornate pots in an almost ceremonial fashion.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance September 2017

Balance September 2017 - 1
Balance September 2017 - 2
Balance September 2017 - 3
Balance September 2017 - 4
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