An estate agent who ditched Britain’s Covid lockdowns has created a property empire in Zanzibar – saying he lived ‘mask-free and danced the night away’ while the UK tackled coronavirus.
Richard Ashby, 41, was earning £200,000 a year selling exclusive apartments in Westminster and Mayfair to rich investors when the pandemic hit.
He hated being isolated in his riverside flat in Chelsea, so searched the globe for an escape where he could build up a new business and live without Covid rules – eventually settling on Zanzibar.
The Zanzibar archipelago is a jewel in the Indian Ocean, just 60 miles off Africa’s east coast and part of Tanzania.
With average daytime temperatures of 28C, Zanzibar largely avoided the lockdowns and mask-wearing which Mr Ashby was determined to avoid.
Richard Ashby, 41, ditched Britain’s Covid lockdowns and set up a property empire in Zanzibar which his company claims will be worth £24million
With average daytime temperatures of 28C, Zanzibar largely avoided the lockdowns and mask-wearing
The Zanzibar archipelago is a jewel in the Indian Ocean, just 60 miles off Africa’s east coast and part of Tanzania. Mr Ashby has built villas close to the island’s white sandy beaches
Mr Ashby’s company Byshovi.com has now claimed that his property empire will be worth £24million.
Zanibar was one of the first places in the world to open its borders to tourists in June 2020.
‘Zanzibar offered almost complete freedom – no one was wearing masks and we all carried on dancing the night away in bars and nightclubs,’ said Mr Ashby.
‘I could not live under lockdown for even a week and knew I had to get out of London where the property market lost its mind for six months while everyone adjusted to Covid.
‘I first went to the South of France and then when the restrictions there also became unbearable I discovered Zanzibar.
‘Covid was never really an issue and I could live the life of total freedom that I had always craved.’
He added: ‘I knew with the gorgeous turquoise waters, virtually no crime and a government determined to help developers create new luxury holiday homes that I found my little slice of paradise and I started a property company so I would never have to go back to London.’
Mr Ashby teamed up with local developer Floton Africa and – together with Ashby’s company Byshivo.com – they are working on three tropical village villa holiday complexes on the island.
They include 20 units of two and three-bedroom chalets, plus bigger villas – each with their own private pool – in a tropical village close to Paje on the south-east cost.
There are further units on a beach-side plot on the north of the island at Nungwi with similar two and three-bed chalets, plus separate ocean view apartments in Paje.
Prices off-plan for a holiday apartment start at £48,000, rising to £130,000 for the two-bedroom chalets and £140,000 for three beds.
Mr Ashby teamed up with local developer Floton Africa to work on three tropical village villa holiday complexes on the island
Mr Ashby, an estate agent who worked in London, hated being isolated in his riverside flat in Chelsea
‘Zanzibar offered almost complete freedom – no one was wearing masks and we all carried on dancing the night away in bars and nightclubs,’ Mr Ashby said
Mr Ashby said: ‘It is a complete accident that I ended up here. If it was not for Covid I would still be stuck in London selling flats.
‘Zanzibar really is paradise with none of the problems you associate with other winter sun destinations – over-development in Dubai and crime in some parts of the Caribbean.
‘It is almost completely under-developed and there are miles and miles of beachside plots with white sand like dust and the most gorgeous, warm turquoise seas which are crystal clear and are being opened up for development.
‘It is like discovering St Tropez as a quaint fishing village in the 1940s before the whole world arrived or Marbella in the 1950s when the Costa del Sol was just a few beach huts outside the main towns.
The villas include 20 units of two bedroom and three bedroom chalets, plus bigger villas – each with their own private pool
Prices off-plan for a holiday apartment start at £48,000, rising to £130,000 for the two bedroom chalets and £140,000 for the three beds
‘We have a blank page here and an enlightened government which is determined to encourage investment and create the next winter sun paradise.’
Mr Ashby has no plans to ever return to the UK and views his homeland with rising interest rates, a cost of living crisis and a Covid debt that is crippling the economy with horror.
He said: ‘Virtually the whole world went mad during Covid with some notable exceptions such as Sweden and also Zanzibar which is semi-autonomous from Tanzania and largely just carried on as normal.
‘It offered me a haven to escape the madness and allowed me to build an incredible life and a fantastic business with the most wonderful people.
‘It is only three hours ahead of the UK time-wise and there are daily flights from Europe, Africa and the Middle East destinations such as Dubai.
‘In a few years everyone will be coming to Zanzibar and I feel very lucky that I got here just before that huge explosion of growth.’
Source: Daily Mail