Passport & Visa requirements

Guests visiting Zanzibar must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel and has at least 2 blank pages. Visas are compulsory for all visitors, and cost from US$50. Visas are obtainable at the airport upon arrival.  Rather obtain a visa before you land. Visas are obtainable from a Tanzanian Embassy.

Health and Safety

Preventative measures should be taken against malaria. It is advised that you consult your physician regarding malaria prophylactics. There are no compulsory inoculations. However, please note that a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for all travelers entering Tanzania.

We recommend you drink only bottled mineral water during your stay on the island. Remember to carry plenty of water with you if joining any tours and excursions to avoid dehydration.  Many trips are on dry, dusty roads and water is not always available in the remote areas.

Avoid uncooked foods that may have been washed in untreated water. Sunstroke and heat exhaustion are common, so drink enough water and wear protective clothing and high factor sunscreen.

Zanzibar is a safe country, and most locals are friendly and honest. But avoid flaunting wealth by wearing expensive jewelry or waving camera equipment around. Don’t walk with all your valuables on you in Stone Town and avoid walking alone on beaches, especially at night.

Money

Zanzibar’s currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS). Currently from (April 2017) US$1 = Tsh2200.  Most lodges on Zanzibar charge in US$ and Euro and most accept credit cards (they may charge an additional 5% fee to do so), Money changers/ ATMs are available in Stone Town only.  Shop around as rates can vary.

Language

Zanzibar’s local people are an incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds, indicative of her colorful history. Zanzibaris speak Kiswahili (and English is also widely spoken), a language which is spoken extensively in East Africa. Many believe that the purest form is spoken in Zanzibar, as it is the birthplace of the language.

Climate

Zanzibar is a few degrees south of the Equator and enjoys a tropical climate that is largely dominated by the Indian Ocean monsoon, The coolest months are June through October, when the temperature averages 26 Celsius. This can rise to well over 30 degrees in the hot season from December to March. During November (the ‘short rains’) and between April and May (the ‘long rains’).

 

Photography

Please be considerate and sensitive when photographing people. Tanzanians are renowned for being friendly, however it is courteous to ask permission before snapping away. Some Government areas and sites (Police Stations and Post Offices, Army sites and State Houses) may not be photographed. We advise you to ask your guide before taking any picture when you pass through these sites.

Important Cultural Considerations:

Zanzibaris have a long history of religious tolerance and, although the islands are 95% Muslim, alcohol and tobacco are freely available. Visitors are, however, requested to show consideration for the culture of Zanzibar by dressing modestly and refraining from public displays of affection. When walking in towns and villages, women should wear clothes that cover their shoulders and knees. Men should not walk bare-chested or wearing swimming trunks.

Many visitors refuse to cover up and this causes offense and often outrage amongst the local population, even though these feelings may not be directly expressed. As one sign says: “Short skirts are like nude”. On the beaches, swimwear is acceptable, but topless sunbathing is not.

During the fast of Ramadan, it is considered the height of bad manners to eat and drink in public places or while walking down the street. (Ramadhan changes every year, for more info about it please let us know).

Non-Muslims should not enter mosques unless specifically invited to do so. Only take pictures of people if you have their permission, and don’t peer too obviously through the doorways of private houses in Stone Town.