Big Night Out at Vuvuzelas in Paje, Zanzibar

“I got a feeling, that tonight’s gonna be a good night.”

The opening beats of this song usually make me want to gauge my ear drums out, but they’d never sounded better than at Vuvuzelas in Paje, Zanzibar. My new friend Ramson – the barman from Crazy Mzungo’s Flashpackers – was spinning me around and I was belting out the words. I’d like to say I was dancing, but it was more of an avoiding-tripping-on-the-uneven-dancefloor kind of hop.

I hadn’t been that confident when I first arrived at the club an hour before though. We’d had a few cocktails and shots at Crazy Mzungo’s and the hostel owners Michelle and Matthew decided it was time to show me how they partied in Paje. Vuvuzelas was only a ten-minute walk away up the beach, although we got a lift which took two.

“Everyone stay together, and don’t leave Vicky’s side.”

Going out in Paje

Obviously didn't take my camera, so here's the beach you have to walk up...

Obviously this order from Michelle terrified me before we’d even got in. I was already scared about being in Zanzibar by myself thanks to a few tip offs from friends who’d been before and witnessed robbings and hold ups. We got to the entrance of Vuvuzelas – just a large beach hut with open sides open – and as soon as I clapped eyes on the bar, which had metal bars running down for high security, my heart started racing.

Fast forward one hour later and me and Ransom were dancing the night away in the Vuvuzelas pit surrounded by about 60 others. I was one of only a handful of girls and the only white person in there. I’ve never been in that situation before, but it was great. I was in a real locals bar, not just a bar tourists like to think is local.

I’d chatted to Ramson’s policeman friend outside, been introduced to the wonder of Konyagi, and been high-fived as I’d walked around the club. The toilet was ankle deep in piss – a bit grim when you’re wearing flip flops – but I employed the squat-and-fingertip-grip-the-door maneuver as there was no lock, no seat, and nothing to get a good grip onto. Everyone else seemed to prefer the bush, but at this early stage in my holiday from Zanzibar to Nairobi I just wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

Konyagi is a powerful mix. Locals buy it by the bottle – 10,000Tzsh (£4) at Vuvuzelas – and then drink it with soda. With a 40% strength it gets you absolutely hammered. Because I was cautiously staying 75% sober I could see the Konyagi victims stumbling around the club and struggling to get their words out.

The highlight of the night was definitely dancing to Waka Waka with everyone around me going nuts.

We were among the last to leave at around 1am, which Ramson said was an early night for Vuvuzelas. On the way out there was a BBQ with free meat to enjoy. I joyfully grabbed a meaty kebab stick to scoff on the way home, but heaved as my teeth chomped down on a big lump of gristle and fat. Bleugh. I felt bad, but I chucked it on the floor when Ramson wasn’t looking.

The next day I found out that most bars like that in Zanzibar would have the bars on the bar, but apparently it’s just as a precautionary measure…

Enjoying a Game of Fish Chase in Nungwi, Zanzibar
Crazy Mzungo's Flashpackers, Zanzibar


  1. by Lottie on October 24, 2012  6:35 am Reply

    I went to chill in Paje last year after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. It was such a chilled place but the parties were a bit wild! I especially remember one at Teddy's Place and another at Lucy's.

    I highly recommend Konyagi with Mango Juice, I think it has to be one of my favourite drinks.

    • by Vicky on October 29, 2012  12:11 am Reply

      Yeah, I really liked Konyagi. Such good value too! I never tried it with mango juice – next time :)

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