DINNER FOR ONE

A new hospitality school in Zanzibar trains local youth for jobs in the tourist industry. We tested it. 

Does the glass stand to the right of the plate, or the left? Can VIPs register in their room instead of at the reception? What is cereal? Tumaini Kiwenge is one of five teachers at a new vocational training, the ‘Zenj Centre of excellence for tourism’ (ZCET), located within the property of a hotel. She talks about “the sequence of service” as if it’s a ballet choreography: light as a feather and yet mastered only by persistent training. In front of her: a class of a dozen students, the majority girls, listening eagerly. 

This year, 115 students have joined the boarding school, which opened in Zanzibar two years ago. It stands out for two aspects: courses of nine months consist of one third theory and two thirds practical training. Through a government-initiated program, the education is aimed especially at girls. Front office and housekeeping, cooking and serving – all these skills are tested in real time at the 4-star Sansi Kae Beach resort in Michamvi. One of the school founders, Talal Atturkhan from Mauritius says: “75 percent of our students are female; attitudes towards girls’ education are positively changing.” 

With more than 30 percent youth unemployment according to official labour statistics, the booming tourism industry in Zanzibar seems indeed not a bad place to make a living. But that’s not where students’ ambitions end: “Certainly something bigger than reception”, says student Shine, 20, when asked about her future plans. As we put her fellow student Rabea to the test with a dinner for one, all goes smoothly, from presenting the menu to taking orders. The fork is placed on the correct side, too. But then comes the dessert and Rabea stumbles. As she introduces a “smooth mango”, I inquire: “A mango smoothie as dessert?” It turns out it’s a mango mousse. Does it matter? Hardly. But the context is interesting: “80 percent of the food here I have never heard of before”, the apprentice admits. And how does that feel? “It’s okay”, another student says, “it’s just like learning a new language.” 

(AT) Information: zcet.org

SMART ARCHITECTURE WINS

Zanzibar is famous for historic Stone Town. But now the island’s modern architecture starts gaining international recognition, too. 

The white modern living style of Fumba Town based on green principles has won a prestigious award in Dubai recently. CPS Africa, who started the unique island development in 2015, received the ‘Residential Development 20+’ award by the African section of ‘International Property Awards’. The London-based organisation works with a jury of 90 international architects und industry experts. 

The awards celebrate outstanding achievements in various categories, including architecture, interior design and property development. The program is open to professionals worldwide. Fumba Town showcases half a dozen of different houses and apartment types for all budgets, including high-tech timber buildings. The growing sea-side suburb is embedded in permaculture, has Adobe playgrounds for kids and open-air organic restaurants. 

Sebastian Dietzold, CEO of CPS Africa, expressed his joy, stating, “Winning the African Property Award is not only a recognition for Fumba Town but the whole of Zanzibar and Tanzania. Our ambition is to shape spaces that redefine how communities live and thrive.” The company has offices in Zanzibar, Dar es Salaa and Nairobi.

Better Safe Than Sorry: How to insure your property

Your home is more than just a structure; it’s a sanctuary, a place where memories are made and cherished. 

Two lady expert brokers explain options to protect your property. Accidents and disasters can strike when you least expect them – in holiday homes and residencies. From fires to burglaries, the unexpected can leave you reeling. “That’s where comprehensive house insurance steps in, providing the financial safety net you need to recover from such unforeseen events”, say Nilufar Manalla and Irene Nnko, two young expert insurance brokers from Dar Es Salaam. With their company Cizass they assist in finding the right insurance and are at a client’s side in the case of a claim. 

For THE FUMBA TIMES they outline how to get vital protection, and how much it costs. In Fumba Town property insurance is obligatory. 

Don’t gamble with your home No one plans for a disaster, but having house insurance means you’re prepared. Whether it’s a burst pipe or a fierce storm, the cost of repairs can be daunting. With a proper insurance, you’ll have the funds to fix or replace damaged property, from the walls to your beloved vintage record collection. 

House insurance isn’t just about the physical structure—it also covers your furniture, appliances, electronics, and personal belongings. So, in the unfortunate event of a break-in, theft or vandalism, you won’t be left empty-handed. As a rule, to insure structure is less expensive than content. 

Liability counts! 

Always check if liability coverage is included in your house insurance. Accidents can happen even within the safety of your home. If a visitor is injured on your property due to negligence or unsafe conditions, you could be held legally responsible. But its not just about visitors— your neighbours are covered too. If a tree on your property decides to do a somersault and damages their house, liability coverage can come to your rescue. ”It creates harmony among neighbours”, says Manalla. 

It all sounds comforting, but there are also possible “traps” to watch out for. How fast will the insurance pay out in case of a damage or loss? “Tanzania has improved in that matter”, the brokers know from experience. “Within one to three weeks in most cases one gets at least an acknowledgment by the insurance of a first settlement.” If clients want to fix a damage such as a broken window by themselves, “they get reimbursed”, the broker says. 

The most uncomfortable “trap”, however, is the so-called deductible, the amount an insured person has to pay himself or herself in case of damage “It is often 5,000 dollars or ten per cent of a claim”, the brokers point out. Their advice: one should look at these clauses at the beginning and choose an insurance accordingly. There are 27 registered insurances in Tanzania, among them Sanlam, Alliance and Jubilee. By law, all insurances need to be re-insured; there is also a public ombudsman in case of a disagreement.

Life Style News: Which School For My Kid?

Finding the ideal school for children can feel like an overwhelming challenge for parents. Now that its time to enrol (or change schools) here a pick of five good ones. 

Zan Coastal Academy: Situated just 500 metres from Fumba Town, Zan Coastal Academy is a properly authorised Cambridge international school teaching both Tanzanian (NECTA) and international curricula from primary to A level, so students have the choice. Founding principal Harith Omar Ally describes Cambridge education as a “clear and flexible learning pathway”. Outdoor learning is part of it. Several Fumba Town kids have won accolades at the neighbourhood school. zaca.ac.tz 

International School of Zanzibar (ISZ): The undisputed champion of schools in Zanzibar has a solid 30-year experience offering world-class education, set in a beautiful compound with a school pool in Mbweni. With a claim of warming-up kids towards a “global perspective” from pre-Kindergarten through 13 school years, ISZ delivers comprehensive education and networks for a life-time. isz.co.tz 

FEZA School: Conveniently located just eight kilometres from Fumba Town, the school is attended by local and international kids stirring them to “creative thinking and moral responsibility”. It accepts students at the beginning of the academic year and throughout the year, based on space availability. “Well-mannered kids make a positive difference in the world”, is one of the credos. fezaschools.org 

Leera Schools: Located in Mbweni, 14.5 kilometres from Fumba Town, Leera School was founded by three Zanzibari women from diverse backgrounds describing it as a “safe, productive, and engaging space” where learners are encouraged to reach their full potential up to O level. Using “contemporary teaching methodology” is a welcome innovative approach for Zanzibar. leeraschool.ac.tz 

South East Coast International School: Joyful learning is the key to the warm-hearted coastal school which has been and still is growing with its pupils on the east coast in Jambiani. Being welcoming and diverse, kids get a well-rounded education here from nursery to lower secondary. Empathy and critical thinking are encouraged, the guidelines say. The school uses the British national curriculum. seczanzibar.com

Vintage Setting, Modern Care

Aga Khan hospitals enjoy a top reputation in East Africa. Now Zanzibar can count itself lucky to have the first state-of-the art polyclinic run by the community – moreover in one of the landmark historic buildings which is finally being put to good use again.

In a last-minute attempt, only days before the opening, the antique floor had to be redone and polished: “We need an absolutely even and clean surface where the tiniest drop of blood is visible”, explained Dr. Judith Mwijage when taking THE FUMBA TIMES on an exclusive tour of the recently opened Aga Khan Polyclinic, the newest healthcare facility in Zanzibar.

On three immaculate floors, with art on the walls, a new glass elevator and neat waiting areas, a dozen or so specialised micro-clinics from emergency care, to eye care to physiotherapy are located in beautifully restored wood-panelled rooms and sections. Equipped with cutting-edge technology such as a CT scanner and dialysis machines, the new outpatient clinic behind 130-year-old walls is an enrichment for Zanzibar in medical terms. But also in conservation terms: Remaining a listed protected monument, the Old Dispensary has finally been put to good use again.

On a third try, so to speak, the Aga Khan Network, one of the largest private development networks in the world, rebranded and re-possessed the elaborate historical building. Since the collapse of Zanzibar’s foremost monument, the House of Wonders, the eye-catching structure with its blue double-decker balconies opposite the Malindi port has become the most photographed attraction on the seafront. Tourists may now combine sightseeing and medical advice, Minister of Tourism, Mohamed Simai, stressed during the opening earlier this year. It was a historical moment for a historical building.

Symbol of a twisted history

The Old Dispensary’s rebirth is a longwinded story, typical of Zanzibar’s twisted history. The foundation stone was laid in 1887 by Tharia Topan, a rich Ismaili merchant of Indian origins, to mark Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee in far-away Britain. But Topan died before its completion, the dispensary was acquired by other merchants and indeed used as a charitable pharmacy of sorts until it fell into complete disarray after the 1964 revolution, when Zanzibar was merged with Tanganyika to become Tanzania. During our visit we enjoyed the breeze on the newly restored balconies which have partly become waiting rooms. It has taken the Aga Khan and its many trusts and services, who also restored the Forodhani seafront area, a lot of patience, funds and painstaking rounds of repairs to bring it back to life.

Although loving attention was given to many details from brass sign boards to a stuffed owl in the eye clinic, the recent make-over cost “only” $800,000 including new medical equipment, it was disclosed, The engagement comes with symbolism: Zanzibar is “almost holy ground” for the Aga Khan, as once noted by the late historian Erich Meffert. It was here that the Ismaili with 20 million followers first set foot on African soil – in the entourage of Sultan Said’s African conquests. The Aga Khan Health Services operate 14 hospitals and 400 health centres from Pakistan to Uganda. In Zanzibar they have now aptly demonstrated that one can revive a heritage site with a contemporary function not by ruining but carefully preserving it. One would wish that principle to be applied more often in Stone Town.

A. Tapp

Work & Play By The Sea

200 new holiday apartments for sale on the west coast.

By Andrea Tapper

Known as The Soul, Zanzibar’s first residential resort continues its unique success story. After selling out in Paje on the east coast, the holiday apartments go west. In Fumba Town buyers can even opt for a new move-in-pay-later scheme.

It’s one of the rare rainy days in paradise. Raining cats and dogs actually, when Milan Heilmann takes me around The Soul in Paje. Since 2019, the project manager of developer CPS has been supervising the construction of Zanzibar’s first residential resort, only 300 metres walking distance from the famous kite surfing beach. Now it’s almost complete. 

On sunny days the scene here looks like this: young couples return from the beach, store their SUPs and surfboards before entering their lofty apartments through a garden door. Palm trees create a soft shade while a beautiful woman in her forties relaxes on her penthouse terrace, her husband mixing some drinks inside. And thanks to the monsoon rains, a lush tropical garden is already embracing the eleven apartment blocks in Paje’s hinterland, most of them fully finished and rentable (see box), some under finalisation. Pointing at palm trees, colourful bougeanivilla, banana trees and a gangling bamboo forest, project manager Heilmann, 32, summarises the resort’s philosophy: “Modern living in tropical surroundings.” The breaking news is, that after the completion of the east coast Soul, the residential resort will get a twin sister on the west coast in the urban setting of eco city Fumba Town. 200 holiday apartments – about the same amount as in Paje – with one to three bedrooms are planned. 

The Soul is an entirely new player within the tourism landscape for several reasons. It’s the first large scale holiday apartment complex in Zanzibar. Foreigners are entitled to buy here. In Fumba Town, near the capital, buyers even get additional benefits: a residency permit and a five year payment plan, starting at around 1,200 dollars per month. ”You will be able to move into and enjoy your apartment even before finishing payments”, explains Tobias Dietzold, one of the directors of developer CPS. Prices for 1-3 bedroom apartments and penthouses range from 67,900 dollars to 250,900 dollars. And there’s another plus to the soulfoul holiday residences: designed by Spanish architect Lucas Oyteza, they implement a hybrid, sustainable wood construction technology, a big plus for climate conscious travellers. 

Best holidays near Stone Town Sold-out in record time in Paje, “we want to give holidaymakers of all ages now the chance to purchase a Soul apartment in Fumba”, CPS directors Sebastian and Tobias Dietzold said when launching the look-alikes. Soul Fumba is close to the airport and Stone Town, embedded in urban infrastructure and has glorious west coast sunsets. CPS is a local company with German background and has sold more houses and apartments in Zanzibar than any other company. Both Soul projects nestle around a large lagoon, the ultimate relax area exclusively for residents. The sale of has just commenced, with first buyers coming actually from Paje – apparently convinced not only of the twin project’s charm but similarities. 

When launching the new touristic hot spot, Tobias Dietzold elaborated: “Fumba Town is a mixed-used urban centre and will now be complemented with the beautiful holiday apartments of The Soul which will add even more variety to the green urban community.” Eventually 20,000 people will live in the growing suburb along 1,5 kilometres seafront. Other than the north and east coast beaches, Fumba is only a 20-minute drive away from the airport and Stone Town. A sports centre is also planned on the sunset coast, where more and more developments are taking place. Go west! Booming tourism in Zanzibar, it seems, has found a new darling location.

CPS and African School of Economics Join Forces to Establish University and Research Labs in Fumba Town

[Fumba Town, 04.06. 2023] – CPS is delighted to announce its partnership with the African School of Economics (ASE), spearheaded by Prof Leonard Wantchekon, the esteemed President and Founder. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in the development of Fumba Town as plans are underway to establish a university and research labs within the vibrant community. The esteemed Prof Wantchekon visited Fumba Town today, where both parties agreed to work towards opening the university and welcoming the first batch of 1,000 students in September 2024.

The partnership between CPS and ASE represents a shared vision to create a world-class educational institution in Fumba Town. The university will offer a comprehensive range of programs across various disciplines, providing students with quality education that combines theoretical knowledge with practical skills. Additionally, the research labs will foster a culture of innovation and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in key areas of interest.

Sebastian Dietzold, CEO of CPS, expressed his excitement about the collaboration, stating, “It is a tremendous honor to host Prof Leonard Wantchekon and work together towards establishing a university in Fumba Town. This initiative will not only enhance the educational landscape of the region but also provide a platform for aspiring students to acquire a transformative learning experience. We are dedicated to supporting the development of Fumba Town as an intellectual hub and fostering academic excellence.”

Prof Leonard Wantchekon shared his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “I am delighted to collaborate with CPS in bringing the African School of Economics to Fumba Town. Our shared vision of providing quality education and promoting research aligns perfectly with the objectives of this collaboration. We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of students and contributing to the intellectual and economic growth of the region.”

The establishment of the university and research labs in Fumba Town signifies a significant step towards realizing the potential of the region as an educational and research hub. CPS and ASE are committed to creating an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity, innovation, and academic excellence, attracting students from across the African continent and beyond.

CPS Celebrates Successful Cooperation Agreement Signing in Oman

[Oman, 30.05.2023] – CPS, in collaboration with Fumba Town Development, is thrilled to announce the recent signing of a cooperation agreement with MSKN Company, paving the way for the marketing of CPS properties in the Sultanate of Oman and the Middle East. The significant milestone was marked by an esteemed event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Oman, in the presence of distinguished guests, including the Zanzibar Chamber of Commerce, HE Ambassador Kilima, and esteemed investors from Oman.

The signing ceremony, which took place on [Date], underscored the growing interest and investment opportunities in Zanzibar. CPS and Fumba Town Development, with their extensive expertise and commitment, are dedicated to facilitating a secure, safe, and successful investment environment for prospective clients. With a proven track record of serving more than 1,000 clients from over 50 countries, CPS aims to provide a reliable platform for individuals and businesses seeking to invest in Zanzibar.

“We are truly honored to have been hosted by the prestigious Chamber of Commerce & Industry Oman, witnessing the signing of the cooperation agreement,” said Sebastian Dietzold, CEO of CPS. “This agreement not only strengthens our presence in the Middle East but also signifies the immense potential Zanzibar holds for investors. Our team at CPS is working tirelessly on the ground to ensure a seamless and rewarding investment experience, just as we have done for our diverse clientele worldwide.”

Zanzibar, with its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and thriving business landscape, presents a prime opportunity for investment. CPS, together with Fumba Town Development, invites individuals and businesses from the Middle East and beyond to explore the exciting prospects that Zanzibar offers. With a deep understanding of the local market and a commitment to excellence, CPS is poised to deliver exceptional real estate opportunities and contribute to the growth and development of the region.

GLOBAL SUCCESS WITH WOOD 

Austrian company revolutionises construction in Zanzibar

It started out as a humble family sawmill and became one of the world’s biggest and ambitious timber manufacturers – now active in Zanzibar. 

The Binderholz company, founded in the idyllic green hills of Austria, has become one of the partnering firms in Fumba Town, constructing timber houses exclusively with local Zanzibari and Tanzanian workers. “It was amazing to see how quickly the team on the Fumba construction side adapted to use our timber products”, remarked Binderholz engineer Wolfgang Hebenstreit when he recently came here to supervise the first assembly of a new timber house 

6300 employees worldwide 

The company is considered ‘the Mercedes of wood producers’ worldwide, its history is unique. It was 70 years ago, when Franz Binder senior turned his passion for wood into a profession, opening a tiny sawmill business in the mountains of Austria. Today, in the third generation, his company has become the leading European wood company, with its headquarters still in the town of Fuegen in Austria but with 60 other production sites and 6,300 employees in Europe and the US, all sharing the founder’s passion for wood. It has taken over firms in Finland, Florida, Britain and Latvia and built hundreds of residential, public and commercial buildings all over the world from Singapore to Cuba, among them amazing structures like a water park the size of 63 football fields in Germany. How could a family-owned company grow so vastly? For one, wood has a renaissance. With growing environmental awareness all over the world, the oldest building material in the world has turned into the construction material of the future. “And we stand for a sustainable, intelligent use of the raw material wood and act according to the zero waste principle”, engineer Hebenstreit explained. 

60 million people in Dar?

This includes the entire value chain from the cultivation of seedlings and forest management to timber harvesting and processing in the sawmills, from simple shelves and planks for the do-it-yourself sector to affordable housing. Contrary to what one may think, although the wood industry is immensely growing, forests are not diminishing. Austria has more forest than 30 years ago, and wood reserves grow by four million cubic metres every year, statistics say. Waste wood at Binderholz is processed into densified biofuels, green electricity and pressboard pallets. “We re-utilise 100 percent of the renewable raw material wood”, Hebenstreit explained. “It is all about responsibility for mother earth”, Fumba Town developer Sebastian Dietzold said. “With huge urbanisation in Africa, and Dar es Salaam expected to have an incredible 60 million inhabitants by 2100, we cannot continue to build only with concrete”, he added. Today in Africa 56 million homes are lacking. Building with timber may jump-start a forest industry in Tanzania, it is hoped. There is already an agroforestry area twice the size of New York near Iringa.

LAMU: ZANZIBAR’S SMALL, CHIC SISTER

SMALL, CHIC SISTER Where the rich and beautiful holiday

No mass tourism, no cars – that’s the most visible difference between Zanzibar and Lamu, both ancient Swahili settlements along the East African coast. We Texplored what the hidden beauty offers today.

light effects. A group of jolly visitors is boarding a dhow taxi to commute from Shela, the village of western palatial residences, to the island’s main settlement Lamu Town – a UNESCO heritage site, as Stone Town in Zanzibar. For many regulars it’s Lamu revisit- ed. The archipelago off the Kenyan coast, about 180km north of Mombasa, has been on the travel trail much longer than Zanzibar. “By the late 60s and early 70s Lamu became famous for its reputation as an exotic, remote and self-contained society. It became Kenya’s Kathmandu”, says Carol Korschen, owner of the legendary Peponi Hotel in Shela, “it was the end of the African Hippie trail and a stop-over on the way to India”. We are sitting on her iconic hotel’s terrace, situated at the beginning of 12 kilometres of sand dunes and beach. The beach area used to be totally uninhabited; nowadays more and more buildings in dune pockets are endangering the water supply of the island’s fragile eco-system.

Classy and casual

Opened in 1967 by the Korschen family from Denmark, Peponi is an institution. With 28 rooms and a top restaurant if offers a mature mix of classy and casual only to be found in safari-savvy Kenya. Guests and village inhabitants, foreign and local, mingle on the terrace. Whether you’d need a room, a guide or a party invitation, you’ll find it here. Lamu has the bohemian vibe of Spanish island Ibiza in its early, quieter days; it’s a close-knit society of cosmopolitan locals and visitors dealing with each other on eye level. When one of the two Korschen daughters married just before Corona hit, a “Mama Mia”- like Swahili wedding for 1800 guests was celebrated under the stars.

There’s lot’s to do and see in Lamu although the island is less than 13 by six kilometres large. The Omani-built Lamu Fort and a beautiful museum exhibit modern and traditional artefacts. Abdullahi Sultan guides us on a tour through the alleyways of Lamu Town, inhabited by about 20,000 people, and explains that the labyrinthine streets are built upward along a slope, letting the rains wash the city clean.

As if remotely controlled, around 3000 Donkeys haul tomatoes, coconuts and baskets of building materials from the port to town. We doze off in the shade of Makuti thatched roof terraces of proud city palaces. The grand mansions made of coral stone allow the wind to circulate pleasantly, testifying to high architectural art. Lamu flourished under 200 years of Omani rule until the end of the 19th century, just like Zanzibar. Typical vidaka lime stone carvings and neeru walls are trademarks of richly decorated palaces. The sheer beauty has attracted foreign investors and celebrities among them the Peugeot family, London photo agent Katy Barker and German Prince Ernst August of Hanover. The holiday spot, close to Somalia, has never developed mass tourism – it’s just too hard to get there. From a small airport located on neighbouring Manda island, one of 65 islets forming the archipelago, new arrivals are brought over by boat.

Resilient diversity

Residents and regular visitors say, they feel safe on Lamu despite earlier local Islamist insurgencies in the area. Herbert Menzel, a relative newcomer and well-known German entrepreneur from Hamburg, has built and restored four houses in Lamu since 2006. „I simply fell in love with the atmosphere and the aesthetics of Swahili design“, says the art expert who has enriched Lamu with a bi-annual „Hat Festival“ and a hand-illustrated map of Shela and its 90, mostly western holiday homes and boutiques – a help- ful orientation for a small, but rapidly growing cosmos.