Botanist for 2 hours!

Ready to play the plant game?

On the way from Kendwa to Stone Town we decided to stop for a short spice farm tour.
The 1,5 hours walking tour passes through different small plantations, with 20 years-old boys guiding us through the different species with a very good italian. The head of this expedition is “Marcellino pane e vino” as he presents to ourselves. He studied italian and having so many tourists visiting the farm… well made the rest.
Marcellino gave us in-depth information not only about spices, but also organically grown herbs and detailed descriptions about their uses in traditional dishes, as cures for ailments.
His assistants were cutting off various barks, letting us guess, see, feel and taste everything.

I have now become super pro in plant recognition, after all the forests visited in recent years in different parts of the world. I spotted the lemongrass plant at the very first sight!

But it was my first time to see how ananas grow and how much space it takes for this fruit, that explain also its higher cost.
During the tour you will also be decorated with palm-leaf accessories such as rings, bracelets and crowns made out live from the boys.

At the Spice farm we ended the tour with the opportunity to taste some of the exotic fruits of Zanzibar. One of these was the Jackfruit, a newbie for my exotic fruit list!

Until you see it with your own eyes, you do not realize how much time, space and effort it takes to produce products that we take for granted.

If you want to play the plant game do not miss the spice farm!
If you do not have a green thumb or you do not know a lot about flowers you can get a tech help. Like Shazam for music, there are some app dedicated to the recognition of plants and trees.
Give it a try!


A plant identification app

PictureThis is one of the newer plant apps. Just take or submit a photo to instantly and accurately identify thousands of plants, flowers, or trees, and then learn more about them with a detailed description – all in less than a second. (iOS and android)

Vanilla is one of those powerful ingredients we use all the time, but is the second most-expensive spice, after saffron.
Like saffron, vanilla is very labor intensive to produce. In order for vanilla orchids to produce pods (commonly referred to as beans), the plant must be pollinated by spefici species of hummingbirds and the flowers are only open for a short period of time. In order to harvest vanilla commercially, therefore, the plants must be hand-pollinated. Which means pod by pod. Amazing!

The tour of Zanzibar would be incomplete without the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and many other spices.

This spices are essential ingredient in a Zanzibari’s everyday life. So even if looks a bit tacky (as it is) is a good way to help local communities: you will be taken into the internal part of the island, so you’ll get an idea of village/farm life in Zanzibar.

The cost of the tour is around 10-15$ but we negotiated with the taxi driver a total amount of 50$ to have it included on the way from Kendwa to Stone Town (1 hour  tranfer + 1,5 hour tour)

When you are there you will be invited several time to buy local products such as hand made soap and tons of spices bags and to leave small tips to the boys. You cannot avoid to buy small stuff, but in the end it’s fine: natural and organic souvenir for friends and family.


Service Design Manager in a digital consultancy firm, a failed pianist and painter, a cupcakes maker, an Indiana Jones wannabe. Know me a bit more reading the “About” page!

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