Michamvi, Zanzibar

Photo: The Rock Zanzibar
Photo: The Rock Zanzibar

You’re on a rock—it can’t even be considered an island—in the middle of the ocean. Small waves break against the coral below you. Except for a little fishing boat, turquoise water is all you can see in the distance. While the combined scent of salty seafood and even saltier air fills the space around you.

The remnants of a lobster—with its colorful gold, blue, and purple shell—are scattered on a plate in front of you. A few sips are all that remain from a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Plus a dessert menu, displayed in a wooden frame, balances on the edge of the table. The meal should be over. You’re definitely stuffed. But you keep glancing back at the description of the coconut tiramisu. You’re not quite ready to leave anyway. How could you be, when your wildest vacation dream just came true.

This perfect dinner spot, simply called the Rock, is in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Michamwi Pingwe Peninsula in Zanzibar. The coral rock used to be a fishermen’s post. In 2010, the whitewashed building became a unique restaurant. During low tide, you can walk across the seaweed-covered sand to reach the Rock’s rickety staircase. As the tide rolls in, their boat starts picking diners up on the shore.

Photo: The Rock Zanzibar
Photo: The Rock Zanzibar

You climbed the staircase earlier to find a handful of skinny trees, a makuti palm roof, and a terrace with a breathtaking panoramic view. Low couches and chairs with brightly patterned cushions were scattered in small groups. But it was difficult, nearly impossible, to sit still. The only thing that calmed you down was a Dawa, a potent cocktail made with Konyagi (a Tanzanian, gin-like alcohol) and honey.

By the time you moved inside for dinner, your excitement had turned into a zen-like calm. You found a cool floor, 12 wooden tables, and canvas chairs, which all seemed to have a perfect view of the water. Woven placements, fan-shaped napkins, and purple flowers decorated the tabletops. South African wines dominated the wine list. While freshly caught seafood filled the menu.

Everything sounded delicious. A crab-claw salad and fish carpaccio with coconut sauce and a squeeze of lime were perfect starters to share. Homemade potato gnocchi arrived with crispy prawns and a touch of Zanzibar vanilla. While there was no hesitation about the lobster. Your hardest decision of the night is now dessert. You really don’t need more food. But you’re not quite ready to leave either. So coconut tiramisu it is. The dream can continue just a little while longer.

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