Answers to some common questions

Zanzibar FAQs

Zanzibar is an archipelago about 25 miles off Africa's east coast. Aside from its natural beauty, it is well-known for being a former spice trade hub, earning it the moniker "The Spice Islands." Unguja, also known as Zanzibar Island, is the archipelago's main island. Zanzibar City and the international airport, are located here.


Find out everything you need to know before or while planning the Zanzibar holiday of your dreams. Check out our frequently asked questions below.


Wondering how to get around while you're in Zanzibar? Don't worry. We have everything you need to know about getting around here.


Your experience in Zanzibar is our priority. We have all the most common questions about spending time in Zanzibar and what you need to know

Trip Preparation

If you are wondering whether Zanzibar is safe, then rest assured the island is very safe for tourists. Tourism is the primary source of income for Zanzibar, so local authorities take safety seriously. While Zanzibar is safe, it is always important to be cautious when travelling to a foreign country. Furthermore, our local guides are professional and knowledgeable and do their best to ensure the safety of our guests. 

The locals are generally friendly and easygoing. Because of the beautiful beaches, warm weather, and diverse culture, Zanzibar is a well-known tourist destination and as a result, it has all of the necessary tourism infrastructures for a comfortable and safe vacation.

Yes, swimming in Zanzibar is generally safe. The Indian Ocean is warm and has small waves. However, conditions differ from beach to beach and season to season, but there are plenty of Zanzibar beaches that are ideal for swimming.

Citizens from the US, the UK, Europe, Canada, and Australia require tourist visas. Travellers from these countries are advised to obtain visas before travelling. South African citizens do not require a visa to enter the country. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania and as a result, you do not need to obtain separate visas for Tanzania’s mainland and the Zanzibar Islands. When visiting Zanzibar, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your departure date. Visa requirements and costs are subject to change; therefore, for the most up-to-date visa information, please visit the Tanzania Immigration website.

Zanzibar is a great destination all year round. However, the best time to visit Zanzibar is usually during the dry season, which runs from July to September and is extremely popular. Most of the year is pleasant for travel, with temperatures ranging from 28°C to 34°C and plenty of sunshine—perfect for a tropical holiday by the beach. Downpours are followed by blue skies during the short rains in November and December, and only during the peak of the long rains in April and May is it extremely wet.

All visitors arriving in Tanzania or Zanzibar from non-endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) will not be required to show their Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. However, visitors from yellow fever-risk countries must present a yellow fever certificate before entering Tanzania or Zanzibar. Travellers should contact their local GP before departure.

All visitors arriving in Tanzania or Zanzibar from non-endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) will not be required to show their Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. However, visitors from yellow fever-risk countries must present a yellow fever certificate before entering Tanzania or Zanzibar. Travellers should contact their local GP before departure.

Yes and no. It depends on your budget and what you expect on a holiday to Zanzibar. For those looking to stay on a budget, a Zanzibar holiday can cost as little as $45 to $50 USD per day. That figure is based on simple, no-frills hostel accommodation and basic beach huts, as well as meals at local restaurants and food stalls. Tours and activities can cost as little as $20, and depending on where you stay, transport starts from about $10.

Flip-flops or sandals are an excellent choice for wandering around the villages and town, but a durable pair of walking shoes will usually be required for sightseeing or walking through the forest. The tropical sun is very strong in Zanzibar, especially at midday. High-SPF sunscreen and hats are recommended.

A note about photography

You may take photographs in public places, but you must obtain permission before photographing individuals or private residences.


If you’re already in Dar es Salaam, you can take a quick ferry ride to Zanzibar. There are regular boats from Dar es Salaam’s ferry station, and the trip should take around 70 minutes and cost up to USD 50. You can also fly into Abeid Amani Karume International Airport on Unguja Island.


Take a dala-dala for an authentic local experience. These converted pick-ups or minibuses can seat approximately 20 people (although you might find them a little cramped and uncomfortable). They link all major towns on Zanzibar island, and it’s also easy to arrange car or motorcycle rental. In general, prices are reasonable and there are very few issues, although breakdowns are fairly common, as are accidents.


Here, you drive on the left side of the road, and an International Driving Licence is required before renting a car. Most car rental establishments require that these be certified.

What is the Wi-Fi like in Zanzibar?

In general, finding a good Wi-Fi connection in Zanzibar can be difficult, with Stone Town being the exception. Most foreigners prefer not to stay in Stone Town for an extended period of time because it is a busy place. There will be at least one cafe, restaurant, or hotel with good Wi-Fi. Travel experts recommend having a 4G sim card as a backup. Locals recommend Zantel because it has the best coverage in Zanzibar. It is important to note that staying near a signal tower will ensure that you have the best data connection possible.

Your Zanzibar experience

Well, that all depends on what you like. The southern parts can be crowded, but offer excellent cultural and historical immersions. Going north means you’ll find a quieter spot for a relaxing beach holiday. For those looking to be in the centre of everything, the northeastern part of Zanzibar bustles with wide-eyed tourists, full moon parties, and some of the best snorkelling and diving spots around. 

Read our blog post on Where to Go in Zanzibar to find out more.

Tanzanian Shilling (TSh) is the local currency in Zanzibar. Bank notes in US dollars are also widely accepted as payment on the island. Banks, bureau de change, and some hotels accept traveller’s cheques.

Large establishments accept credit cards such as Visa. There are numerous ATM cash machines in Zanzibar Town that accept Visa, Visa Electron, and MasterCard. Acceptance of Mastercard, Access, and Diners Club is limited. Travellers’ cheques can be exchanged at authorized dealers and bureaux de change and are best taken in US dollars or British pounds. Many hotels may require you to pay in foreign currency in cash or by Travelers Cheque.

Electric power is 220-240V at 50Hz. Most plug sockets accept three-pronged British plugs. There are still power outages in Zanzibar, but they are becoming less frequent. Due to power surges, visitors are advised not to leave expensive electrical appliances plugged in when not in use. When charging laptops and smartphones, safe adaptors are the best option.

If you stay longer and need to make several phone calls, you might want to consider a local SIM card. International calls are generally much cheaper with a local SIM. Locals recommend Zantel mobile network. 

The country code for Tanzania (including Zanzibar) is +255.

Zanzibari locals appreciate modest clothing. Bikinis and beach wear are appropriate for the beach, but women should cover their shoulders and wear a skirt or trousers that reach below the knee in villages and towns. Similarly, men should not go shirtless and should dress appropriately. When not swimming, consider wearing beach clothes if you are spending time on a beach in Stone Town or another beach nearby. Women are not permitted to be topless.

GMT +3, which is also used in East Africa in general, is the local time. Eastern Europe shares the same time zone.

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