Ruven Afanador

Where did we go?

Zanzibar, a group of islands that sits about 20 miles off the coast of mainland Tanzania in the Indian Ocean.

Why did we go?

To explore an exotic island and get a look at the area's Swahili culture, which has roots in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. (Swahili means coast in Arabic.) Zanzibar has a rustic, adventurous vibe, and its pristine beaches gave us the splendid backdrop we were looking for.

Where did we stay?

The Kichanga Lodge, which sits on the crest of a hill overlooking a private beach in a cove protected by coral headlands. All 23 bungalows and villas are covered with Makuti thatched roofs, and most have a view of the water. 

What did we do?

When we weren't shooting with pythons, we were soaking in the natural beauty of the island. In doing so we got to know several Maasai, a semi-nomadic people who strive to protect that area's traditional customs. 

What did we eat?

The lodge features an open-air restaurant offering views of the beach in every direction--the perfect venue to enjoy freshly prepared seafood and curry dishes.

What did we bring home?

Bracelets beaded by our Maasai friends. And we also loaded up on the fragrant spices that are found on the island, such as nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon.