A Guide to Taking a Ferry to Zanzibar

Taking a ferry to Zanzibar is one of the best ways to start your holiday. The journey from Dar es Salaam offers incredible views of the Indian Ocean, especially during the dry season when it’s not so windy. The ferry to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam takes about an hour and 45 minutes. The ferry service runs several times per day. However, weekend and holiday travel times may be longer. We’ve got a quick guide to taking the ferry to Zanzibar below. 

ferry to zanzibar
Ferry waiting in Stone Town

Booking the Ferry to Zanzibar

Choose a reputable ferry operator for your ferry travels from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar. Azam Marine is one of the more dependable companies. The Zanzibar ferry is extremely popular, especially between June and October when the island’s weather is at its best, so it is important to book and purchase each ticket a day or two ahead of time. This can be done online, directly with the operator, or at the Dar es Salaam ferry terminal. You can also request assistance from your hotel. 

Something to note: do not buy ferry tickets from people on the street who claim to be representatives or agents for ferry companies. 

*A valid passport is required to book and secure a ferry reservation.

Departure Times

There are four departure times leaving at:

  • 07.00 am
  • 09.30 am
  • 12.00 pm
  • 16.00 pm

The journey takes approximately two hours and afternoon tides tend to be choppy. We prefer the early morning ferry rides — a calm and serene experience to note.

Azam Marine Ferry
Azam Marine

Pricing & Ticket Classes for the Ferry to Zanzibar

Ticket prices for adults range between R 550 – R 1 400, depending on the ticket class. Tourists travelling with Azam Marine can choose between Economy, Business, VIP, and Royal Class.

Something to note when choosing Azam Marine:

  • The maximum amount of luggage allowed per person is 25 kg. 
  • Alcoholic beverage consumption and carriage are strictly prohibited.
  • There are no refunds for missed travel dates or times.
  • Cancellations must be made at least two hours before departure.
  • Online reservations are not considered confirmed until payment is received.

What to Expect

When the weather is nice on the ferry to Zanzibar, there are plenty of opportunities to see the local marine life, especially when sitting out on the deck. Dolphins are known to follow these ferries, so you could get really lucky. For those who get motion sickness, it is a good idea to bring along motion sickness tablets — these are easy to get over the counter at a pharmacy and you can take them about 10 minutes before your departure. 

Snacks and drinks are served in Business Class and above, while refreshments are available at kiosks for Economy Class.

Things To Note

  • Your passport and Yellow Fever Certificate are mandatory when travelling to Zanzibar as they have separate immigration
  • Snacks and drinks are sold on board. However, there are stalls at the ferry waiting area, which can be cheaper, so you can purchase beforehand and take them with you.
  • If you’d like to purchase snacks and drinks on board, make sure you have cash.
  • Foreign passengers are required to pay for their tickets in USD. Azam Marine do also accept payments in UK Pound Sterling and Euro.

Arriving in Zanzibar

Before disembarking, you must complete a boarding card, which must be presented to immigration officials along with your passport. You may also be asked to show a Yellow Fever Certificate, especially if you’ve recently travelled through a high-risk country such as Kenya or Ethiopia. The cages containing your belongings will be brought onto the dock or ferry terminal where you can retrieve them.

After taking the ferry to Zanzibar, and assuming there isn’t too much luggage, you can walk to most hotels in Stone Town, which is not far from the ferry terminal in Zanzibar.

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