Is There Any Cultural Etiquette In Zanzibar?

Is There Any Cultural Etiquette In Zanzibar? Are there any customs or traditions unique to Zanzibar that I should know about? Yes, Zanzibar is a strictly Muslim destination. As such, when entering the town or villages, visitors must wear loose-fitting clothing below the knees, cover their shoulders, and, if at all possible, cover their elbows. Men shouldn’t wear shorts in the villages. Zanzibar is a conservative country with a Sunni Muslim society.

The Zanzibar archipelago has amazing flora and animals, fun activities, a unique culture, and stunning scenery. Enjoying the breathtaking scenery and getting to know the friendly locals are two things that visitors can enjoy. The delicious local food allows guests to savour the unique tastes of Zanzibar’s herbs and spices. Travellers visiting Zanzibar should be aware of a few things.

Its history was influenced by the Portuguese, British, Indians, Arabs, Persians, and Africans. Stone Town has narrow streets, tall towers, elaborate wooden doors, terraces on higher ground, and beautiful mosques. Important architectural landmarks include the Guliani Bridge, the Livingstone House, and the House of Wonders. During Barghash bin Said’s rule, immigrants from Shiraz, Iran, built the Persian baths in Kidichi.

Etiquette Tips For Travelers Entering Zanzibar Island Includes:

Dress Code In Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is a very traditional travel safari destination. In public, both sexes should cover their knees and shoulders. Women usually wear skirts, but foreign women are allowed to wear other clothes, such as jeans. Although you might be tempted to wear shorts and swimsuits and take a leisurely stroll around Zanzibar, remember that the majority of people there are Muslims.

On the beach, you can get away with wearing very little clothing, but the moment you step into a village, you have to cover up. A kanga, a vibrantly printed wrap that is worn by the local women as headbands, skirts, and baby carriers, can lure you in. When wearing one, remember to be modest and avoid tying it too tightly around your waist; it looks best when your body’s contours aren’t too obvious.

Respect for the Elderly.
If you are an older visitor, you should anticipate being treated with an incredible amount of respect. The tour guide will be very happy when you stop to show at a seller’s stand, and the vendor might not even raise the price for you. Older people will always be treated with a great deal of respect because wisdom comes with age.

Visiting Villages.

When visiting Tanzanian communities, be prepared for locals to try to sell you jewelry, carvings, and other items because tourists are a major source of income for many. Since foreigners typically receive a higher price from vendors, haggling is acceptable.

Just give me a charming smile and start negotiating. Tanzanians are charm-obsessed and dislike confrontational tourists. Never give candy or small gifts to children you come across; doing so might inspire them to drop out of school and start begging full-time.

Is There Any Cultural Etiquette In Zanzibar?
Zanzibar Villages


Greetings are essential no matter where you go. It is considered impolite to launch into a conversation without first asking about the other person’s day, job, kids, etc. in this culture that values people and connections. Occasionally, someone will shake your hand and then pause to look at you. Don’t panic it’s just a friendly gesture.

The elderly are acknowledged and greeted with respect. Always say “shikamoo,” which means “I hold your feet,” to someone who is older than you. You will always receive the response “Marahaba,” which means “I accept your respect.” In addition to shaking hands, you can express deeper respect for an elderly person by bending slightly and putting your left hand around your right elbow.

Capturing Pictures.

It can be tempting to take a picture of a tribe member dressed in their traditional attire, but it is disrespectful. You should also be aware that Maasai people often ask for a small tip in exchange for pictures.

Additional Cultural Considerations for Visiting the Island of Zanzibar.

Avoid giving the kids candy. It is unhealthy and teaches children bad habits.

It is not acceptable to take pictures of unaware kids without their parents’ permission; you wouldn’t do it at home, so why would you do it here.

Never take a photo of a specific person without that person’s consent.

Similar to numerous other African countries, it is often forbidden to take pictures of people, government buildings, and border guards. You face the risk of getting into trouble and possibly losing your camera if someone witnesses you.

You should also refrain from making public displays of affection, as Zanzibar men and women do not, especially in Stone Town and the surrounding villages. It’s acceptable to just hold hands unless you’re in a very private place. In nightclubs, beach bars, and on the beaches, the vibe is far more relaxed.
Homosexuality is still forbidden in Zanzibar. Even the tiniest open displays of homosexuality, like holding hands or sharing a kiss, are forbidden and can land someone in jail or an arrest, even for visitors from other countries.

You should abstain from eating, smoking, and drinking on the streets during Ramadan. Even though it’s not illegal, it’s really impolite because most people are fasting.

Respect the rules, especially during the spiritual and holy month of Ramadan.

Things Visitors Shouldn’t Do In Zanzibar.
Don anything skimpy or revealing.

When travelling to Zanzibar, never forget that the city has a dress code that is based on the basic value of modesty. Travellers, both sexes, should never be seen in public wearing apparel that exposes their intimate areas. They must always dress modestly and gracefully, covering their knees and shoulders at the very least.

To show off one’s clothes could be interpreted as being disrespectful to the local way of life. When entering mosques, guests are always required to wear appropriate clothing, and women are required to cover their heads with a scarf. Nudity is prohibited on beaches; bathing suits are the only clothing allowed. Both the tourists and their tour guides run the risk of fines if they do that.

Zanzibar is a paradise on earth because of its incredible natural surroundings, diverse flora, and abundant wildlife. The rich vegetation in the area should never be disturbed or the ecosystem damaged. Visitors to Zanzibar must be careful not to destroy the area’s natural beauty as the surroundings need to be protected. Beaches and forests shouldn’t be contaminated by them. It is forbidden to buy any natural resources, including seashells. The current generation and those to come are going to benefit from the preservation of the environment.

Zanzibar is a strange and interesting place to visit. It is best for visitors to do a thorough exploration of the area rather than just a short trip. When visiting the island, visitors shouldn’t be scared to venture outside of their comfort zone. They should visit locations like the Rock, Pemba Island, Prison Island, Stone Town, and Nungwi Beach; sample regional cuisine like Nyama Choma, Mshikaki, Urojo, Pilao, Mandazi, and Biryani; and converse with people from all over the world. To guarantee that their trip to Zanzibar is thrilling and enriching, tourists should seize every chance and make the most of it.

Respect for the local population is an essential component of any safari, regardless of location. It is forbidden for tourists to degrade local customs or practices, humiliate anyone, or take photos of locals without their permission. The locals are very friendly and helpful, so visitors should treat them with respect. Respect for regional customs and culture is also requested of visitors.