On the west coast of the island, about 21km south of Nungwi, Mkokotoni is a lively fishing village. Although there's no accommodation here that we could find, it's worth a short detour to soak up some rural atmosphere and vibrant village life. The bustling market, where Tumbatuans and local Zanzibaris buy and sell all manner of fresh seafood, is crowded, noisy and full of energy. Around this an abundance of tumbledown stalls display piles of coconuts, fruits, vegetables and spices whilst in the harbour behind, age-old techniques are used to repair and build the next generation of dhows.
In 1984, a major hoard of Chinese coins was discovered on the beach north of the village, indicating that this was once a prosperous trading port between the East, Arabia and Zanzibar, long before the arrival of the Europeans. Colonial rule brought the few grand administration buildings glimpsed along the central avenue of sweet almond trees, but today village life is still centred on simple trade with neighbours.
Getting there and away
Few tourists visit Mkokotoni (mkok0t 5º52.517's; 39º15.308'e), and those who do are usually part of a tour en-route to Tumbatu Island. If you plan to drive here yourself or come by taxi, be aware that the road heading south of the village to Mahonda (Mahond 5º59.388's; 39º15.106'e) was in a diabolical state of disrepair in late 2005. Access is far easier from the junction at Kivunge (Kivung 5º52.895's; 39º16.973'e), marked by a police post, on the island's main north–south artery.