Everything to know before visiting and travelling to Zanzibar

Everything to know before visiting and traveling to Zanzibar: It would be a good idea to start getting ready for your planned trip to Tanzania’s Zanzibar Island now that Easter and the summer holidays are approaching. But to do that you need to know some of the crucial information to make your safari tour there unforgettable.  We’ve included some crucial information that will help you prepare before you travel to this stunning nation. Here are things to be aware of before traveling to Tanzania’s Zanzibar Island:

 Do I need a visa?

Yes. You can apply for a single-entry, three-month tourist visa at Tanzanian embassies and high commissions for your vacation to Zanzibar. Although travelers won’t require a separate visa to enter Zanzibar because it is a semi-autonomous state within Tanzania, you will still need to provide your passport upon arrival. A visa can be acquired at the airport for USD 50 for travelers arriving by direct flight to Zanzibar. If you’re thinking about visiting Kenya, you’ll also need a visa, which will set you back an additional USD $50. At least six months must pass after your visit before your passport expires. A municipal fee of USD 1 per person, each night (including children), is normally paid in cash to the hotel or resort upon departure.

What is the local language?

Swahili is the primary language spoken there. Italian, French, Arabic, and English are all widely spoken in the tourist regions. People from Zanzibar are a diverse group with origins in Africa, Persia, Oman, and Asia. These backgrounds and religions have all been incorporated into one cosmopolitan culture. There are almost a million people living there.

How do I pay in Zanzibar?

Tanzanian Shilling is used as local currency in Zanzibar. On the entire island, US dollar bills are also regularly accepted as payment. Although the exchange rates are bad and using cash is preferred, traveler’s checks can be exchanged at banks, bureaus of change, and some hotels. In larger places, credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are accepted. In Zanzibar Town and at the airport, there are ATMs.

Do the internet and mobile phones work in Zanzibar?

The post office in Zanzibar Town, larger hotels, and the various international communications centers, which range from internet cafés to stores with phones, can all be used to make international phone calls. Although occasionally slow, internet cafés have popped up all across Zanzibar Town and offer a convenient and affordable means of communication. Both Zanzibar and Pemba have decent mobile network coverage, and GSM mobile phones with roaming can typically pick up reception everywhere but the most remote locations, Everything to know before visiting and travelling to Zanzibar

What is the electricity like?

The voltage is 230 volts. Typically, English-style plugs are used; nevertheless, it may be best to bring your own. Convertors can be borrowed at hotel receptions.

What is the local time?

Local time is GMT + 3 during the winter season and GMT + 2 during the summer season.

What should I know about medical services and vaccinations?

Typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, meningitis, and hepatitis A vaccinations are typically advised, but you should consult a doctor at home before your Zanzibar vacation. If you are coming from a country where there is a risk of yellow fever (which does not include the US), the Tanzanian government needs confirmation of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival. Zanzibar does not frequently experience malaria, yet it is conceivable. It is therefore preferable to cover up after dusk and apply insect repellent to all exposed skin. Water for drinking should be purified and boiled, or purchased in sealed bottles. Please be aware that Zanzibar has few medical facilities.

What should I pack for Zanzibar?

It is advised to wear light, loose clothing, preferably made of natural materials. The best footwear is flip-flops or sandals, although for journeys into the forest, a sturdy pair of walking shoes is advised. Sunscreen and a hat are crucial for sun protection in tropical climates. Although most hotels and resorts offer mosquito nets, it may be advisable to bring your own if you choose a more affordable lodging option.

Everything to know before visiting and travelling to Zanzibar
Everything to know before visiting and travelling to Zanzibar

Note: anyone traveling to Tanzania is prohibited from carrying any plastic carrier bags with them on the flight or in their luggage. Plastic packaging for medical services, industrial goods, building materials, food, sanitary products, and ziploc bags used exclusively for storing toiletries are not, however, forbidden. Please remember this regulation and pack appropriately to avoid fines at check-in, Everything to know before visiting and travelling to Zanzibar

When is Ramadan?

The lunar Islamic calendar governs Ramadan. This indicates that a new date is used each year. It typically starts after the astronomical new moon and ends on the holiday of Eid al-Fitr.  If you plan to visit Zanzibar during the Ramadan festival, there are a few things you shouldn’t do. During Ramadan, avoid eating, drinking, and smoking in public. Although it is not illegal, eating in public is frowned upon when there are so many people fasting. Throughout Ramadan, some restaurants run by Muslims are closed, while others are only open during the day.

How to dress in Zanzibar

Please remember that Zanzibar is a strongly religious nation with over 95% Muslims as its population. In particular, women should dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees. Bikinis and miniskirts are acceptable on the grounds of hotels and resorts, but Zanzibaris value modest attire in the villages and cities. Men should also follow the same fashion guidelines and refrain from going shirtless. On the beach, nudity is not permitted.

How do I travel to Zanzibar?

Emirates (Fly Dubai), Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Oman Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenyan Airways, Alitalia, South African Airways, and Mango Air are a few of the airlines that offer flights to Zanzibar.

 There aren’t any direct flights operating at the moment between London and Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar. International carriers provide connections through Nairobi, Dubai, Doha, or Istanbul. The Dar es Salaam route requires an additional local flight of 20 minutes. Kenya Airways flies via Nairobi, whereas Qatar Airways flies to Kilimanjaro or Dar es Salaam. Other Tanzanian cities, including Arusha, Ruaha, Selous, Manyara, Pemba, or Serengeti, may also have flights available.

Zanzibari transportation

Zanzibar has a relatively good network of roads. The safest way to travel is to arrange a transfer via your hotel or tour operator. Local taxis are available upon landing at the airport.

Car rentals cost about USD 50 per day, which is not that much. Drivers must possess an international driver’s license and pay USD 3 for a daily police permit. It is left to drive. There are several police checkpoints, although most of them are merely formalities; they could, however, want to see your license, Everything to know before visiting and travelling to Zanzibar

The Daladala truck is the least expensive mode of local transportation. The cost of the trip is quite low (a few hundred shillings), but it is also quite uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.

  • Nungwi Daladala, No. 116, is the main route from Stone Town to Nungwi.
  • The Pongwe No. 209 does not operate daily; therefore, it is easier to take a taxi.
  • The Matemwe Daladala is No. 118, but please be aware that this is a very uncomfortable road.
  • The Kiwengwa is frequently served by the No. 117.
  • The Jambiani area is reachable by the No. 309.
  • The Kizimkazi journey is operated by the No. 326.

It is also feasible to rent a bike when visiting Zanzibar, but keep in mind that the roads are not always very safe.

Is it legal to snap pictures in Zanzibar?

You are more than welcome to snap pictures of the stunning Zanzibar Islands; however, it is considered rude to take pictures of locals and their kids without their consent. The same holds true for holy places, religious sites, or unique occasions. Please remember that photographs are not permitted in military and security-sensitive areas, Everything to know before visiting and travelling to Zanzibar

 What are the main rules for behavior in public?

Due to the faith, there are some guidelines that visitors should go by while there in order to respect the customs of the community. Alcohol consumption is not advised in public places. Zanzibar also doesn’t practice kissing or public displays of affection. If there is a chance to take part in a religious or cultural ceremony, visitors should request the necessary authorization to be allowed to do so and exhibit the needed respect.

How can I support the locals?

Many of the local villages have very modest living circumstances and are not particularly rich. Low income levels and a lack of several basic necessities plague many households. Visitors are urged to bring particular in-kind offerings to support the community in a constructive way, rather than providing money to individuals or food and sweets to youngsters, in order to avoid encouraging begging or missing school in order to receive gifts from tourists. Visitors should use limited resources wisely, including water, electricity, and fuel.