‘It’s like Zanzibar 40 years ago’ – the empty Indian Ocean island you probably haven’t heard of
On a tufty volcanic island reachable only in low tide, under a little straw roof hidden behind some bushes, I was having a massage. I’d walked across the sand, climbed a rickety ladder onto the island, which measures fewer than 10 metres across, and was now surrendering to complete relaxation. This was aided by the absence of the artificial smells and gonging bells ubiquitous in so many luxury hotel spas; here, just a few metres into the Indian Ocean, the soundtrack was the soft pulse of the tide and the laughter of local children as they spent a break from school combing the sand below for seaweed, a cash crop along the Swahili coast. Their families sell it to the Chinese.