The wellness phenomenon is sweeping Zanzibar.
Visitors see their holidays as a chance to unwind from the
stresses of every day life, relax and pamper themselves. Spas
are popping up across the island, becoming a standard addition
to hotels and resorts in a response to tourist demand. Ease out
the knots with a massage, as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean
or recover from your flight with a refreshing facial or
Thai and Balinese therapists run luxury spas, equipped with
plunge pools, saunas and steam rooms, offering extensive
treatment menus. Most spas in Zanzibar blend European and Asian
influences with a uniquely Swahili element, offering treatments
drawing on Tanzanian natural ingredients. Seaweed, tropical
fruit and Pemban honey are used in facials to rehydrate and
rejuvenate skin. Aloe vera grown across the country and salt
water is used to sooth sunburnt skin. Essential oils hail from
the island’s spice farms, soaps are made from cloves, lemon
grass and cinnamon.
Zanzibar’s swahili beauty rituals are celebrated with spas
offering singo, an exfoliating spice scrub, traditionally for
brides. A paste is prepared using jasmine, ylang ylang, rose
petals, sandalwood and rose water and applied to the body,
leaving skin smooth, fragrant and as soft as silk. Hamman baths
hail back to Zanzibar’s Arab heritage. Coconut oil and clove oil
are used in massages, hair is twisted into braids and hands and
feet are adorned with henna.
Swahili men are also treated to revitalising and cleansing
rituals. When cloves are distilled making clove oil, their left
over stems and twigs are pressed into a little ball together
with rosewater. This ball dries hard and when used gets softened
with a bit of water so as to create the invigorating clove
scrub. On Pemba this remedy is used exclusively for men so as to
boost their energy and to experience a unique heat sensation.