Without a guide, you'll never find nutmeg sitting on the forest floor or think to peel the bark off of a cinnamon tree but these are some of the fun things to do on a Spice tour. Almost like a big Easter egg hunt, visitors go from plantation to plantation and from plant to plant trying to find the spice within.
A guide may use a knife to carve off a root or branch or bark and then ask you to smell or taste it to guess what it is. Nutmeg grows on a tree and is sort of the pit of an apple-like looking fruit. The nutmeg trees are huge and the under-forest is dark. Vanilla is a vine that grows on large trees , Cinnamon leaves are good for chewing and pepper is hot, green and fresh-tasting before it is dried and ground to become black pepper.
The guides may offer you a green coconut while you're on the tour and they're very good. Green coconuts don't have sweet milk—it's more like subtly flavoured water—and the meat is delicious. All along the tour there are kiosks where tourists can buy packaged spices including the following: turmeric, tandoori, vanilla beans and extract, masala, hot chillis, black pepper ground or whole, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks or powder, and many others.
The four hour guided tour begins and ends at your hotel. You travel by air conditioned vehicles to Kidichi via Kibweni Palace (Sultan Rest House) to view the Persian Baths built in 1850 by Seyyid Said bin Sultan (first Sultan of Zanzibar) for his wife Princess Shehrzard - granddaughter of Fateh Ali Shah of Persia. The Sultan owned many of the plantations in this area and the baths were constructed so that the royal personages could refresh themselves during visits to the plantations.
The bathing and toilet facilities are still standing, with stucco plasterwork of peacock, clove and lotus flower symbols, typical of the Persian style.
The underground furnace which maintained the supply of hot water can also be seen, but the rest-house that was once also on the site has disappeared altogether. Continuing to Kizimbani you visit the Spice Farms where you also find a variety of tropical fruits (jackfruit, breadfruit, pineapples, bananas, and coconuts) as well as other rare plants such as henna bush, the perfume tree and lipstick tree. Juice and mineral water is provided during the trip which ends up back at your hotel.