Zanzibar Travel Tips: How to Make the Most of Your Trip

Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, is a destination that beckons many of our Flight Centre customers with its beautiful beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture.

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Published 2 June 2024


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Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, is a destination that beckons many of our Flight Centre customers with its beautiful beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture.


Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, is a destination that beckons many of our Flight Centre customers with its beautiful beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture. From the fascinating streets of Stone Town to the welcoming warm azure waters of the Indian Ocean, a visit to Zanzibar offers a diverse array of experiences for every type of traveller.


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Whether you are seeking relaxation on the beach, adventure in nature, or immersion in local culture, here are some travel tips to ensure your journey to and within Zanzibar is the most memorable yet.

Let's dive into some essential questions about travelling to Zanzibar

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zanzibar
zanzibar

Can I wear shorts in Zanzibar?

Yes, you can wear shorts in Zanzibar, especially in beach areas and tourist resorts where casual wear is common. However, when visiting local villages or more conservative areas, it's respectful to dress modestly out of cultural sensitivity. This may include wearing longer skirts or pants and covering your shoulders.

How many days in Zanzibar is enough?

The ideal number of days to spend in Zanzibar depends on your interests and travel itinerary. Here are some suggestions:

Beach Relaxation: If you're primarily interested in enjoying the beaches, coral reefs, and water activities, a minimum of 3-4 days is recommended.

Historical and Cultural Exploration: For exploring Stone Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), visiting spice plantations, and experiencing local culture, add another 2-3 days to your itinerary.

Combining with Tanzania Safaris: Many travellers combine a visit to Zanzibar with a safari in mainland Tanzania. In this case, plan for at least a week to enjoy both experiences comfortably. Regardless of the occasion, 7 days is more than enough to experience all the popular experiences and highlights of Zanzibar.

What are Zanzibar Travel Tips?

Pack Light: Casual and lightweight clothing, sunscreen, a hat, swimwear, and insect repellent are essential.

Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate can be hot and humid, so carry a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.

Explore Local Cuisine: Don't miss trying Zanzibari dishes like seafood curries, pilau rice, and chapati from local restaurants and street vendors.

Safety Precautions: While Zanzibar is generally safe for tourists, be cautious of pickpockets in crowded areas and avoid walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas.

Engage with Locals: Embrace the warm hospitality of Zanzibar by interacting with locals, learning a few Swahili phrases, and participating in cultural experiences like spice tours and traditional music performances.

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zanzibar
zanzibar

How to Make the Most of Your Trip

Embarking on a journey to Zanzibar promises a variety of experiences, from sun-kissed beaches to cultural encounters. To ensure you make the most of your trip and create lasting memories, it's important to heed some valuable travel tips.

From packing essentials to embracing local cuisine and navigating cultural nuances, our Zanzibar Travel Tips guide you towards a seamless and enriching adventure.

Let's delve into expert advice that enhances your Zanzibar journey, making every moment count.

1. Before you go

It's important to know:

Passport requirements: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay and check the visa requirements for your nationality.

Visa Requirements: Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter Tanzania, which includes Zanzibar. Check with the Tanzanian embassy or consulate in your country for the most up-to-date visa information. South African travellers do NOT need a visa to travel to Zanzibar.

Health Precautions: It is not necessary but you should consider getting vaccinated for diseases like yellow fever and taking malaria prophylaxis since malaria is prevalent in some areas of Zanzibar especially if you are visiting from a country that is listed as a high-risk destination.

Cultural Sensitivities: Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim, so it's essential to respect local customs and dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.

Currency and Language: The currency used is Tanzanian shilling (TZS), but US dollars are widely accepted. Credit card acceptance may be limited outside of major hotels and establishments. Swahili and English are the primary languages spoken.

Travel Insurance: Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and theft. Medical facilities in Zanzibar are, in a word, limited, and evacuation to a neighbouring country with better medical facilities may be necessary in case of serious illness or injury. You can get your TIC policy here.

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zanzibar
zanzibar

2. Getting There

Flights

Most international visitors arrive at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport on Zanzibar's main island, Unguja. Direct flights are available from Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport. Alternatively, you can fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam for a quick stop over and take a short connecting flight or ferry to Zanzibar.

Ferries

Several ferry companies operate between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, with the journey taking approximately 2-3 hours. It's advisable to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure your preferred departure time.

3. While in Zanzibar

​​​​​​Explore Stone Town

Wander through the narrow alleys of Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its blend of Swahili, Arab, Persian, Indian, and European influences. Visit historical landmarks such as the Sultan's Palace, Old Fort, and Forodhani Gardens, and don't miss the bustling markets selling spices, textiles, and local handicrafts.

Beach Time

Zanzibar boasts some of the world's most stunning beaches, with powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. Popular beach destinations include Nungwi, Kendwa, and Paje, where you can swim, snorkel, dive, or simply relax under the swaying palms.

Safari Blue Excursion

Embark on a Safari Blue excursion, a full-day boat trip that takes you to secluded sandbanks, mangrove forests, and pristine coral reefs. Enjoy snorkelling in the turquoise waters, feast on a seafood barbecue lunch, and spot dolphins frolicking in the ocean.

Spice Tour

Delve into Zanzibar's rich agricultural heritage with a spice tour, where you'll visit spice plantations and learn about the cultivation of cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and other exotic spices. Engage your senses as you smell, taste, and touch the various aromatic plants.

Cultural Immersion

Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending a traditional Swahili cooking class, where you will learn to prepare authentic dishes using fresh seafood and aromatic spices. You can also visit a local village to interact with residents, observe traditional dance performances, and gain insight into daily life on the island.

Sunset Dhow Cruise

Conclude your day with a romantic sunset dhow cruise along the coast of Zanzibar. Sail aboard a traditional wooden dhow as the sun dips below the horizon, casting hues of pink and orange across the sky. Savour refreshing drinks and tasty snacks as you bask in the tranquillity of the Indian Ocean.

Water Safety

While Zanzibar's beaches are breathtaking, exercise caution when swimming, as strong currents and undertows can be hazardous, especially during high tide. Always swim in designated areas and heed any warning signs posted by lifeguards.

Respect Local Customs

Zanzibar is a conservative Muslim society, so it's important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or interacting with locals. Women should cover their shoulders and knees, and both men and women should refrain from public displays of affection.

Bargaining

Bargaining is common in Zanzibar's markets and shops, so don't hesitate to negotiate prices when shopping for souvenirs or handicrafts. However, remember to do so respectfully and with a smile, as haggling is considered a friendly exchange rather than a confrontational negotiation.



Zanzibar is a destination that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression on all who visit the country. By following these travel tips and embracing the island's natural beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality, you're sure to create cherished memories that will linger long after your departure.

Has your appetite been whetted for a trip to this stunning destination? Well then one of our knowledgeable and professional travel experts are phone call away and together we will arrange your dream holiday to Zanzibar for you.

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