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Zanzibar Tanzania’ The Ultimate Travel Guide- Africa Facts Zone

Story Highlights

  • How to Get to Zanzibar Tanzania' Travel Guide
  • Best Time To Visit Zanzibar Tanzania
  • How to Get to Zanzibar Tanzania' Travel Guide
  • Internet & Network Connection
  • Gettin Around Zanzibar Tanzania
  • Health Precautions for Zanzibar Tanzania
  • Safety Precautions In Zanzibar Tanzania
  • Shopping Around Zanzibar Tanzania
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Africa Facts Zone presents Zanzibar Tanzania; Zanzibar is an archipelago, consisting of a string of islands in the Indian Ocean just over 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. Unguja, commonly called Zanzibar, is the largest island, and it’s where most visitors spend their time. Zanzibar is also known as the Spice Islands, and has been a major source of the world’s supply of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper for centuries.

There is evidence of civilization in Zanzibar dating back 20,000 years. It has seen waves of settlement and colonization from ancient Persian traders to the Portuguese and British. The result is a fascinating modern island with a diverse population and a welcoming spirit towards visitors to their beautiful tropical home.

How to Get to Zanzibar Tanzania’ Travel Guide

Zanzibar Tanzania can be reached by only two ways of transportation – ferry from Dar es Salaam or direct flight to the island. We had the chance to experience both ways. So unless you combine your vacation with an overland safari tour in Tanzania, I strongly recommend you to prefer direct flight.

Getting to Zanzibar Tanzania by Plane

There is a tiny international airport located in Zanzibar, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ). is just over three miles south of Zanzibar City on Unguja Island. After a safari trip, the most preferred flights are from Arusha (Tanzania), Nairobi or Mombasa (Kenya), and Johannesburg (South Africa).

If you’re just planning to find peace on the beaches of Zanzibar Tanzania rather than an adventurous trip, Our travel guide suggest you  find direct flights from your home country.

Getting to Zanzibar by Ferry

There are two companies operating ferry daily from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar Tanzania and vice versa – Azam Marine and Zanzibar Fast Ferries. The cost is $35 for standard and $50 for VIP. Even though tickets are available at ferry terminals, you’d better book online or through a trustful agent in advance.

Ferry nearly takes two hours and can be overcrowded – in other words, if you don’t move rapidly enough, you are not able to find a suitable free seat inside. I hope things have changed, but we spotted people sprawling on the floor during our trip. To avoid this kind of situation, and of course, for more comfortable travel, you can choose the VIP section with AC.

Before booking your ticket, please keep in mind that the ferry is not as safe as the plane because of frequent pickpocketing and lousy reputation of accidents.

  • Take only airport taxis or hotel taxis in case you need it in Dar es Salaam.
  • Around the ferry terminal, do not give anybody your luggage to be borne.
  • Do not carry a lot of cash on you.
  • Do not fall asleep on the ferry.
  • Do not use/show your brand-new smartphone and wallet in public.

How to Obtain a Visa for Zanzibar?

Before head off, our travel guide suggest you find out Tanzania visa requirements according to your passport or nationality.

Many national passports grant visa on arrival, but you’d better check the updated situation. An online e-visa system is also available. Visa fees may vary, but generally, single entry costs $50; multiple entries cost $100.

Arrival by plane: If you plan to obtain a visa on arrival, don’t forget to bring your pen to fill out the application form and be prepared to pay the visa fee by cash or by credit card.

Arrival by Ferry: Getting to Zanzibar by ferry means that you’ve already got Tanzania visa, and you don’t need to obtain for the new one. However, you should go through a passport check upon arrival.

 

Best Time to Visit Zanzibar Tanzania

July-August-September: Despite being wintertime, these months are the high season for Zanzibar due to low rainfall. Especially August is the least wet month.

December-January-February: Another high season. These months are quite hot and relatively dry. The temperature can reach 35 degrees. It is preferred by the tourist seeking warm alternatives during New Year celebrations.

October-November: Scattered rain may commonly occur during these months. The temperature may reach 30 degrees, and humidity is high. You can prefer to plan a trip at this time of the year, but having sunny days depends on luck.

March-April-May-Mid June: Monsoon strikes the island on these months. I advise you not to travel this season unless you are enthusiastic about sticking in a hotel room.

Regardless of the season, there is always the chance of rain in Zanzibar due to the tropical climate.

 

How to Get to Zanzibar Tanzania’ Travel Guide

The primary language in Zanzibar Tanzania is the variety of Swahili, but English is widely spoken. You don’t have any communication problems in tourist areas. Using a couple of Swahili words make Zanzibarians more than happy, too.

Here are some Swahili phrases you might want to use:

Jambo / Salama = Hello!

Karibu = You’re welcome!

Poli poli = Slowly slowly

Ahsante sana = Thank you so much!

Sawa = OK

Hakuna matata! = No worries!

 

Currency

The local currency in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian shilling (TSh or TZS).

1 US dollar is equivalent to about 2316 Tanzanian shilling by the end of June 2020.

Our travel guide approves you use theUS dollar. It is widely accepted on the island except for the gas station and local shops like the pharmacy. All prices for hotels and tours quoted in dollars, though. There are some other places, like restaurants or shops, accepting both shilling and the US dollar, but it’s calculated as 1 dollar is equal to 2000 shilling. So making the payment in shilling is always more profitable.

What is the best currency to take to Zanzibar Tanzania? Although the Euro’s and British pounds can be changed, the best currency to use is the US dollar. Make sure to bring banknotes printed after 2013. Otherwise, they can’t be accepted.

Many exchange bureaus are shut down in Zanzibar by the government so far. So the essential ways to exchange money are to use exchange bureaus located in the airport, ATMs machines, or local banks in Stone Town.

 

Internet & Network Connection

Even though almost whole hotels and restaurants by the beach offer free Wi-Fi in Zanzibar, it doesn’t mean it’s always available 🙂 You shouldn’t trust the free Wi-Fi choice since the signal can be  poor. For this reason, you’d better get a local SIM Card to stay connected.

Zantel is one of the network providers in Tanzania and has the best coverage on the island.

Africa Facts Zone travel guide approves you purchase the SIM Card from local stores in Stone Town rather than from the airport. Plus, please note that as all directions are in Swahili, you’ll need help to activate the SIM Card.

Getting Around Zanzibar Tanzania

Dala Dala

Dala Dala is a kind of minibus from the front view, truck from the back view. It is the only public transportation on the island and undoubtedly the most affordable way to get around – One-way costs between 300-2000 THs ($0.15-$1) depending on the distance. Unless you have big luggage, you pay as the same with locals. Some conductors may request higher prices for the reason of being tourists, though.

The central hub is in Stone Town, but they don’t have a regular schedule- a Dala Dala takes off when it’s full. A journey between main beaches takes around 1.5 hours because it constantly stops on the way.

If you have enough time and plan a budget trip, taking Dala Dala can be an option. Otherwise, it might be torture rather than an adventure.

Taxi – Private Cab

Catching a taxi for the entire holiday is not cost-effective in Zanzibar Tanzania  You find yourself in a situation of bargaining all the time since taximeter is not used. Plus, drivers are not safe all the time.

Instead, you can either arrange a private cab beforehand or negotiate with a trustful driver for your whole trip. This way is more affordable and time effective if you find a cab who can take you around as a guide.

As of 2019, Oyaa.africa is active in Zanzibar Tanzania as a taxi application like Uber. Bearing in mind, it requires a local line, and you may consider taking advantage of this alternative, as well.

Rent a Car or a Scooter

If you want to explore every corner of Zanzibar and move freely, the best way to get around is by renting a scooter or a car.

There were two main reasons behind why we preferred renting a car rather than a scooter- We had too much stuff to carry in the daytime, and daily rental fees for scooters were nearly the same as the car’s.

Tour Operators

Several operators offer daily tours for attraction centers on the island. You can arrange them online in advance or via your hotel after arrival. If you choose the alternatives including transportation, the tour company takes you from where you accommodate and drop you back at the end of the day. It is more costly, but the wise decision for the ones who don’t have enough time to make a plan, and prefer luxury travel.

Shuttle Buses

You can use shuttle buses for going from the airport to central locations or moving between main beaches.

Health Precautions for Zanzibar Tanzania

Yellow fever vaccination is not mandatory for Zanzibar unless you’re coming from an infected country like Kenya or Ethiopia. If you existed one of this countries within one year or you fly from there, you are required to show your yellow fever vaccination certificate upon arrival.

Do I need malaria tablets for Zanzibar?  Zanzibar is not a malaria-free island, but cases are deficient. So, taking anti-malaria tables depends on you. You can use the mosquito repellent containing DEET, also get a mosquito net, and wear long-sleeve clothes after sunset for prevention.

Sunlight is extremely powerful in the white beaches of Zanzibar Tanzania especially during a windy day. Don’t miss to get protected by lotions.

We recommend you to avoid eating street foods if you are sensitive. Try to eat meat and seafood in crowded and more preferred places. Consume only bottled water.

Travel insurance is essential for Zanzibar Tanzania. You shouldn’t miss that.

 

Safety Precautions for Zanzibar

Even though Zanzibar is pretty safe to travel and move around, there are some robbery cases to watch out.

As I mentioned before, do not carry a lot of cash on you. I recommend not looking like a rich. In other words, do not put on pricey accessories or wear fancy shoes.

Try to book a hotel with a locker if possible.  Leave your passport and valuables in the hotel room safely when you go out.

 

All beaches are public in Zanzibar Tanzania. So, everybody can reach and walk around. Do not leave your bag and other valuable stuff unattended on the beach and go swimming.

Extortion is not common, but it sometimes happens between Kendwa and Nungwi, and Paje. Do not carry anything valuable or eye-catching like a camera during your night walk.

There are some guys, known as beach boys, trying to arrange tours or scooters. You cannot imagine how persistent they are! If you ever think of purchasing anything, do not forget to negotiate for the price and never pay before take-off.

 

Shopping in Zanzibar Tanzania

 

Shopping Streets

Stone Town offers you a unique and varied shopping trip. For clothing made by local designers and companies, along with jewelry, spices, and even music by local artists, look into the boutiques along Gizenga Street and Kenyatta Road. For both fine jewelry made of gold and silver, and local artisan work such as beaded pieces, Soko Muhogo Square is an alternative to Gizenga Street.

Groceries and Other

Kwality Supermarket and Migoz Supermarket are both located in Zanzibar City. You can buy produce, basic groceries, and just about anything else at the Darajani Markets, a bazaar located in Stone Town near the Anglican Church. One quart of milk costs about TZS2,835 and a dozen eggs costs about TZS 3,500.

Also Read: Seychelles Islands’ The Ultimate Travel Guide To The Beautiful Tropical Islands

 

Things to Know Before Visiting Zanzibar Tanzania

Local time: GMT +3

Plug Socket: Mostly 3-prong British type, but 2-prong European type can be found. You’d better bring a travel adaptor.

Capital: Stone Town

Country Code: +255

Religion: The majority of the population on the island is Muslim. People do not eat and drink between sunrise and sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. You are expected to be more respectful to the culture at this time, especially in Stone Town. Days of Eid are public holidays; therefore, some places are closed, and it can be hard to arrange a tour, etc. So, you should consider Ramadan, Eid al Fitr, and Eid al Adha while planning a trip.

Dress Code: You can get dress freely on coastal parts, but sunbathing topless for women is not commonly seen. Women should wear modest clothes in local areas not to draw attention. If you don’t want people staring at you, try to cover your upper knees and shoulders while wandering around Stone Town.

 

What to do in Zanzibar Tanzania

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