Underneath the surface, Zanzibar is a maze of coral rock caves. We stood on the beach near the Fukuchani ruins and felt the hollow ground shake beneath our feet: the waves crashed into subsurface holes in the coral rock. Oh the joy of baby fish, to play hide-and-seek in such a labyrinth!
Further down the road from Kidoti toward Mkwajuni there is a hidden coral rock cave, a short forest hike away. It is just one of the numerous known caves – and it is said to have a passage all the way to the sea. That must be true, as fish were swimming in the dark waters. And the water was crystal clear: everything grayish green on the photo above is underwater.
The cave was nearly impossible to find without the help of a local who knew, a badly placed sign, and some kids by the side of the road. They urged us to leave our expensive rental bikes and hike up. Because this is a locally maintained cave, not one of those famous slave caves that receive busloads of visitors every day. Here you can enjoy the silence and swim a few laps in the freezing cold, clear water without being photographed. Just like other cave explorers before have done, for hundreds of years.
(Zanzibar, Tanzania; August 2017)