This golden-hued sky is the perfect curtain for the sun tonight, which finally plunges into the calm waters of the Indian Ocean, putting an end to this day as well.
It is truly a magnificent show that manages to repay me every day for all the efforts made.
With a look at the most beautiful beach restaurant in the world, I prepare the boat for one last trip to The Rock restaurant to bring the best that my nets have been able to capture. Today’s catch is really good, Shariff will be happy.
I have just finished loading the load when a couple of young Italians come forward; by now I have learned to recognize their English. They have booked a romantic dinner right at The Rock , but the ferry is not there at the moment and the high tide prevents them from walking up to the small rock.
So, exceptionally, I have two guests on board tonight. No doubt about it, they chose the right evening.
Short journey into the history of The Rock Restaurant
The Rock restaurant in Zanzibar is now a symbol of the entire region: one of the beach restaurants , if it can be defined as such, best known for its unique location.
The name “The Rock” comes from the rock on which the club was built. A real restaurant on the ocean, the Indian one. It was originally a fishermen’s house who used it as a support.
It was later converted into a small restaurant by the same inhabitants of the nearby coastal village of Minchawni Pingwe . To tell the truth, none of us expected such success, but the panorama certainly contributed a lot to increasing the fame of our small project.
I’m from there too, so I feel like this place is a bit of my doing too. Minchawni Pingwe is a fishing village and I often take care of bringing fresh fish to The Rock , which I am at home for now.
My guests, meanwhile, are no longer in the skin and are pointing to the small structure immersed in the orange sky on one side and the deep blue of the ocean. I envy them a little: I wish I could look at this place with the same wonder they feel when seeing it for the first time.
The room overlooking the ocean of The Rock restaurant in Zanzibar
The journey is not exactly long: it is about 50 meters from the shore to the entrance of the club. There is a small wooden staircase built on stilts to welcome guests. Right there stands the writing ” The Rock ” on a small sign, also in carved wood.
In this small restaurant there is all the tradition of our people, so much so that from the outside it is not very different from a traditional local house: the thatched roof hides a small hut surrounded by trees that naturally grow on the rock.
Inside there are various tables, about 20, but great importance has been given to the landscape so there are many windows. Wherever you sit you can enjoy a great view of the ocean.
While my passengers, grateful for my courtesy, take their seats greeted by the kind waitresses, I head straight to the kitchen. I have to deliver my cargo to the chef who is waiting for me on the doorstep, smiling as always.
Shariff Mussa is a friend. I greet him, as always, with a big hug and he helps me to bring in the catch. «Once again you did a great job, my friend! »He says cheerfully.
He is very good at cooking and presenting the typical dishes of our tradition to guests from all over the world, but I can say that I have some credit too. What would he do without me!
Once I remember that he explained to me the secret of his cooking: simplicity . For him, the dish doesn’t have to be too complex to work – quite the opposite. The goal is to make the fish talk.
Just marinate it in the right sauce and cook it properly, letting the original flavor of the fish shine through as much as possible. The Rock Special is a perfect example of this philosophy. It is a platter of local delicacies including lobster, king prawns, octopus and squid simply grilled and served with a side of potatoes, salad and slices of juicy local lemons.
[foto del The Rock Special da articolo Vice]
Much more than a beach restaurant
While the couple is enjoying the breeze on the panoramic side of The Rock , used as a relaxation area for a drink on the ocean, I walk towards the beach, greeting my friend Shariff and all the staff. They will have a lot to do tonight, given the boat full of tourists arriving.
The entire Minchawni peninsula, in fact, has now become the spearhead of all Zanzibar in terms of tourism and not just for our extravagant beach restaurant . Just a stone’s throw from The Rock restaurant are two truly beautiful resorts, the Dongwe Ocean View Hotel and the Kichanga Lodge . Both offer all kinds of activities and luxury, completely immersed in the unspoiled nature of these beautiful beaches.
And then they offer a safe job to us villagers, keeping the natural beauty of the area protected. In addition, on the east side of the peninsula, opposite to ours, there are some of the best diving schools in the world. There are also many surfers who take advantage of the waves and the incredible landscape to ride on the ocean.
Between us and the east beach there is also the Oba-Oba lake , full of life with its corals and tropical fish. It is considered an excellent starting point for those wishing to start snorkelling , as it is shallow but memorable for its marine flora and fauna.
Villages, beaches and the future
As I finally moor my boat and retire, I think about all the possibilities that are offered to us and I feel lucky. We managed not to sell off our culture, but rather to make it a source of pride that still today thousands come to know and admire from all over the world.
My favorite attraction, however, remains the small but brave beach restaurant that we have created and brought to success. What we gave to The Rock restaurant , he gives back to us with the help of the Kichanga Foundation .
The foundation is, in fact, also supported by The Rock , and helps us to give an education to the little ones and job opportunities to the older ones like me, keeping our traditions intact.
So yes, it is possible to live in a paradise like this without having to leave your culture behind. These are the thoughts that help me sleep peacefully tonight, waiting for a new day with another beautiful sunset, here in Zanzibar.
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INFORMATION ABOUT THE STRUCTURE
Services offered : Table service and alcohol service
Other services: Organization of weddings and special occasions; Business meetings; Wedding Cakes