Do you feel like relaxing and just laying down on some of the best beaches in the world? Then start by watching the video at the top of this page! Then you will get into the mood… We have our best travel guide for Zanzibar in Tanzania made to make sure you don't miss a thing and enjoy your trip to the fullest. In this guide, you'll find the best places to go, some great places to eat, and answers frequently asked questions. You will see some truly amazing places on this beautiful island that will make you never want to leave. Zanzibar is a wonderful and fantastic destination for travellers, also as a stopover during your trip world trip!
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Zanzibar | The most frequently asked questions
Tip: In addition to this Zanzibar travel guide, we previously wrote an article about the history of Zanzibar which is also well worth a read. Check it out!
When is the best time to travel to Zanzibar?
The perfect time to visit the best beaches in Zanzibar, Tanzania is during the months of June to October, the cool dry months. Another period when people visit Zanzibar is when it is hot and dry from December to February. The good thing about Zanzibar's beaches is that even if you go out of season, chances are you can still enjoy them.
Is it safe in Zanzibar?
The short answer is yes. And while most visits to Tanzania go smoothly, violent and armed crime is slowly increasing. Be especially careful in places frequented by tourists and expats. In Dar es Salaam, tourists and residents have been targeted in the city center, Ubungo bus station, the Masaki/Oysterbay Peninsula, particularly Coco Beach and along Toure Drive. In Zanzibar, incidents have taken place in Stone Town and at hotels and on popular tourist beaches.
How much does Zanzibar cost? Is it expensive?
This Zanzibar travel guide is based on one trip made in 2019 so your own travel costs may vary slightly – but Zanzibar is not a cheap destination. Although in many good hotels you can have a very pleasant experience for 60 euros per day including all expenses. Zanzibar is fine for someone who pays close attention to expenses with an average budget between 50 and 75 euros per day.
Can you drink the water in Zanzibar?
No. You should always try not to drink tap water or eat fruits or vegetables that have been washed with local water. You should always drink purified water or buy a water filter bottle so that you can drink safely without getting sick from contaminated water.
Where is Zanzibar?
Where is Zanzibar? This little island is not easy to find on the map at first. Zanzibar is one of the islands in the Indian Ocean. It is located on the Swahili Coast, bordering Tanzania, the country.
Do you need a visa for Zanzibar?
You can get a visa on arrival in Tanzania, this means that you do not have to apply for the visa in advance, but we do recommend that you arrange this in advance. If you prefer to do it on site, as soon as you arrive at the airport, simply go to the immigration office with 50 euros and 2 ID photos.
What language do they speak in Zanzibar?
The official language in Zanzibar is Swahili, but English is their second language, so most people (especially tour guides and travel guides in Zanzibar) can speak English well.
What is the currency of Zanzibar?
The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling. There is only an ATM in Stone Town, so we recommend that you withdraw enough money for your entire stay on the island of Zanzibar. Check in advance with your accommodation whether you can also pay with a credit card.
Is there Malaria in Zanzibar?
Yes, there is malaria in Zanzibar. And there are some other diseases that you should check with the GGD in advance. As far as vaccinations are concerned, you must have the yellow fever vaccine in order to enter the country. You must be able to prove this with the help of a vaccination booklet that you should have with you. Make an appointment with Vaccinations while Traveling or the GGD for the most recent advice.
Quick Tips | Zanzibar travel guide
- Take the time to discover the food and culture of Stone Town.
- Pack a snorkel + mask. You'll want to use it almost everywhere!
- Do not touch coral or fish while snorkeling.
- Spices and coffee are important here. Book a tour or tour!
- Zanzibar is a Muslim island, so dress appropriately.
- Beware of guided tours scams and only go to well-reviewed places.
- The island of Zanzibar is generally safe, but with extra precaution and common sense it will be much safer.
- Traveling around the island by taxi is the easiest, but also the most expensive. Don't be afraid to negotiate the prices hard.
- Never leave your belongings unattended when you are at the beach.
- Take a tour with a 'dhow', a great experience.
How much does it cost to travel to Zanzibar?
Over a period of 2 weeks we spent an average of 60 euros per person per day on our trip through Zanzibar, all inclusive. Keep in mind that it's not exactly cheap to get from one point to another by taxi. It also depends on your pinging skills. But anyway, it won't be as cheap as a bus in, say, Asia. Some places don't have budget-friendly options either, and when they do, they might feel a little dodgy. Do some homework for the adventure to any place, search on google and ask other travelers what they pay for a ride.
We managed to achieve the total of 60 euros per day in Zanzibar by staying in mainly budget hotels and a few hostels. We usually got around with taxis. Food wise: Normally we went for local food which is very good. Be careful and make sure everything is cooked and eat as little raw vegetables as possible unless you are sure it has been washed with purified water. Finally, we also booked some tours, such as safaris or dolphin watching. All those costs are included in this travel guide for Zanzibar, the total daily budget came down to 60 euros per person per day.
Things to Do in Zanzibar
Get lost in Stone Town
If just visiting Zanzibar's best beaches isn't enough, Stone Town has plenty to offer. Stow your map and go on an adventure on a hike. Stone Town is full of little fascinating details that give you an idea of what has happened in recent years. Walk through the small alleys and immerse yourself in the scent of herbs. Talk to the locals and let them tell you some secrets about the places that only the locals know.
See the most fascinating historical sites in Stone Town and Prison Island. Take a traditional Dhow boat named “Mr. Bean” (our guide), or any other funny name to visit Prison Island. There your guide will introduce you to the giant Agabra tortoises. Interesting fact: the oldest turtle is 192 years old! After visiting the prison, you will have some time to cool off by snorkeling. If you want to avoid the crowds, book your tour early in the morning as it is a popular visit from Stone Town.
Visit Jozani Forest
Venture into the Jozani Forest on a 3-hour expedition that will take you straight to the heart of nature. Follow your guide to hear about the ecosystem, see the animals, learn about the medicinal properties of the plants, and see the breathtaking scenery.
Swimming with dolphins
It is a great experience to snorkel and swim with dolphins in the wild. We must add that it felt more like a dolphin hunt. We went from hot to here to find the dolphins. Two groups of dolphins took off, they clearly didn't feel like it! The third group of dolphins was very playful and stayed close to the boat. After coming to a slow stop, we entered the water for a magical experience to remember.
During this tour we visited two islands. The first was particularly stunning, with crystal clear waters, but it was very busy. There was also some time to snorkel in the turquoise waters in search of colorful marine life. We think this is a good way to see some of the best beaches in Zanzibar. Overall we had a good time there, very friendly crew and the lunch was tasty, the only drawback was the large number of people concentrated on a small island. Ask at your hotel for more info and prices.
Nungwi and Kendwa beach
These are hands down the best places for lazy days. Nungwi is less crowded and more authentic in our opinion, although Kendwa's beaches are like the paradise you've always dreamed of! For us these were the best beaches in Zanzibar we saw.
Also read: Top 10 most beautiful places in Tanzania
Kendwa Scuba Diving
Discover Scuba Diving at Mnemba: This program is not intended for a scuba diving license, but it introduces you to the exhilarating experience of breathing underwater and gives you the chance to explore the amazing underwater world.
Good food in Zanzibar
A travel guide to Zanzibar is not complete without tips for good food. The cuisine in Zanzibar is diverse with many influences from surrounding countries. Prepare for a lot of fragrance, color and spice. Taste and experience Zanzibar!
Where to eat in Stonetown
Forodhani Food Market – just go there for a variety of local food in stone town. It's where most people go to eat and a real first taste of traditional local food. Fresh fish, seafood, chicken and meat, all grilled right now, chapatis, vegetables, samosas… paradise for hungry bellies.
The Silk Road – With really good traditional Indian food, this restaurant also offers a beautiful view.
Where to eat in Nungwi
Badolina Secret Garden Restaurant – With reasonable prices, this restaurant offers a good variety and excellent Mediterranean dishes. You can't fail with the fish here.
Saruche Restaurant – This place deserves a visit just for the atmosphere. In a beautiful location it offers some of the best options for local cuisine. If you like lobsters, this is the place for you.
Where to eat in Kendwa
Fishermans Local Restaurant – There is no more authentic, good and affordable restaurant in Kendwa than this. As we walked around exploring the options and saw how the locals used to stop here all the time. After trying it once we kept coming back every day for the selection of fresh fish they offer.
The Fountain – From time to time we all want a good pasta or a pizza, and this place really delivers quality on both for a reasonable price.
This is already the end of our Zanzibar travel guide. Did we forget something that should absolutely not be missed on this page? Let us know in the comments!