Zanzibar is an autonomous region of Tanzania and is one of the most beautiful places dotted with great tourist attractions in Africa. Take a tour of its hidden world and come across an expanse blessed with the best of beaches, historical sites, wildlife reserves and more. Also, explore the beautiful lifestyle and African culture on the islands of Zanzibar. Its archipelago that consists of the main Unguja Island and the gorgeous laid-back Pemba Island make for a great escape from mainstream tourist destinations. Crash into its lap and watch yourself the wonders of nature. Hence, it is loved by families as well as couples. So, plan a vacation now and be on the way to explore what this veiled beauty lying in the Indian Ocean has on offer for you!
Famous For: Diverse Wildlife | Beautiful Landscapes | National Park | Beach Beauty | African Culture
National Symbols: National Flag | Coat of Arms | National Anthem | National Emblem
Time Zone: Unguja (GMT +3)
Driving Side: Left
Airports in Zanzibar: Abeid Amani Karume International AirportNetwork Connectivity
All the major cities and towns on the island have decent network and internet connectivity. Hence, tourists don’t find much difficulty while exploring these places. However, the communications aren’t too strong when it comes to remote and uninhabited areas. Upon arrival, you can buy a local SIM card at the airport and use it for call and internet services.
Make sure you are not using your hotel phone to make international calls as they might charge a hefty price. Try to always use the web-based service to make calls. Several cafes, restaurants and hotels provide free internet access to their guests.The major network providers in Zanzibar are:
Though Zanzibar developed in recent times, it has been inhabited by humans for about 20000 years now. As per archaeological evidence, the country was home to humans during the later Stone Age. That’s why Zanzibar has been a topic of historical significance for several explorers around the world.
However, the development on the island took place after it became a part of Portuguese colonization after the visit of Vasco da Gama in the year 1948. This was the time when Zanzibar was all home to local tribes. By the beginning of the 16th century, Zanzibar had become a part of the Portuguese Empire.
The development in the field of education, trade, politics and culture occurred only after the European Influence took over. The Sultanate of Zanzibar was also ruling some parts of the archipelago. Later on, in the 19th century, the British Empire came into the picture and captured a lot of places. The abolition of the slave trade also became a major movement during this time.
After numerous protests and revolution, the British granted Zanzibar full independence and since then, the island has been a popular place for weekend holidays for local tourists. However, it has also got international fame due to the presence of historical beauties, pristine beaches and rich wildlife.
Zanzibar is one of the important places in southern parts of Africa and is a beautiful archipelago that is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. It is made of two major islands, i.e., Unguja Island also called Zanzibar Island and Pemba Island. These islands have and are blessed with the natural beauties of beaches, streams, plains, forests and more.
The country is spread over an area of about 2462 sq km, out of which about 1% makes the water region and the remaining 99% forms the land region. The lowest and the highest points here stand at the Indian Ocean at 0 m and Unguja Island at 120 metres respectively. Tourists come from around the world to relish its natural beauties.
The country borders the Indian Ocean on all sides and hence, it has a great coastline that stretches for hundreds of km. The nearest places from Zanzibar include Tanzania and Mozambique.
As the Portuguese and the British empires have mostly ruled the islands of Zanzibar, its art and music scene is heavily influenced by the interests of these foreign powers. Though the Bantu-speaking people have survived in Zanzibar for centuries, its local art and music developed only after the late medieval era when foreign nations started colonizing it. That’s why the taste of locals here in music and art is a little global, which means it interests people across the globe. No wonder the art and music festivals celebrated here attract audiences from across the country and beyond.
People come in thousands of numbers to attend these great events where artists, musicians and performers gather under one roof and entertain people by unveiling their talents. Literature has also found its way into the local culture of Zanzibar today. Hence, it also hosts a variety of literary events too. Until colonization, only woodwork, handicrafts and local Swahili compositions were the major showcases here.Food and Drink
Zanzibar cuisine isn’t quite old as the cookery practice and various kitchen traditions came into the picture only after the Portuguese colonization happened. That’s why most of the traditional dishes prepared here have been influenced by the Portuguese lifestyle. As the British have also ruled the region for several years, Zanzibar also has several dishes that have been derived from the English tastes.
However, over a while and owing to globalization, people have started loving local as well as international cuisine. And Zanzibar, being a popular tourist place, hosts a variety of restaurants where one can find all kinds of food, ranging from Italian pasta to Chinese noodles. People in Zanzibar also love to drink occasionally. However, certain drinks are loved extensively by locals here. The list of these drinks includes beer and locally prepared Konyagi.Must-try Delicacies
Biryani, Pilau, Mishkaki, Urojo, Octopus curry, Sorpotel and Zanzibar chocolateMust-try Drinks
Konyagi, Kilimanjaro beer, Banana beer, Tanzanian red wine and PombeHospitality
People in Zanzibar are often helpful and kind. They wouldnât mind helping you whenever and wherever possible. They respect tourists and perfectly know how to cater to their needs and desires. Hence, no tourist finds difficulty while exploring the country. However, you need to be a bit careful while at unknown unexplored places.
Zanzibar experiences a tropical climate and hence, it has got two seasons with a wet season starting from October and ending in March and a dry season starting from April and ending in September. The average temperature in the country ranges between 12Â° C and 30Â° C at different places.
The best time to visit Zanzibar is from July until the end of September as this is the time when you can relish the best environment of the place. This is the time when the skies are clear, days are quite sunny with almost no rain. This is the period when you can explore in a comfortable environment as the climate is quite favourable and witness the best of wildlife.
Stone Town is the most historic place in Zanzibar and hence, it shouldnât be missed by history lovers and architecture enthusiasts. Take a walk down its Arab-style streets and lay your eyes upon magnificent old buildings. These streets echo the glorious years of the island and also whisper ancient legends of how Zanzibar flourished over time. Stone Town is home to some of the most prominent places in Zanzibar. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the iconic Old Fort and other such places and learn about their past.
Recommended For : History lovers, Culture explorers
Entry Price: No entrance fee
Timings : Anytime
Zanzibar Beaches are simply the best in East Africa. These stretches of white sand lapping in the Indian Ocean make for an idyllic vacation. Stay at a beach resort and enjoy the beautiful mornings painted over the sea and the sand. Take a stroll along the shore and listen to the waves producing melodies. The best beaches to visit in Zanzibar include Nungwi Beach, Kizimkazi Beach, Paje Beach and Kendwa Beach.
Recommended For : Beach lovers, couples, families
Ideal Timings : 05:00 am to 08:00 pm
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest things to do in Zanzibar! The island is known for its spice trade, so what better way to immerse yourself in the local culture than learning about its wealthiest and most profitable industry? Tourists can choose from a variety of tours and explore the winding streets with expert tour guides who will inform you of the origins of the industry. Also, learn about the wide variety of spices that Zanzibar produces and trades in. You can also opt to explore the spice markets on your own and it has its charm!
Timings : 07:00 am to 07:00 pm (Especially when the markets are open)
Average Price : $10 - $20 for a guide per day
Translated as the Green Island, the Pemba Island in Zanzibar is an amazing place to rest in the lap of nature! The island has great shores, wonderful vegetation, green fields and a peaceful atmosphere. And this is all that makes Pemba Island a sought after beach destination in Zanzibar. Visit it and take a look at its wharves, beaches, settlements and more. The island would surely make your Zanzibar vacation worth remembering.
Entry fee : $1 - $2 per person
Ideal Timings : 07:00 am to 05:00 pm
Water adventure sports in Zanzibar are a must! The country has great shores where one can relish the best of water adventures. Snorkel down the seawaters or dive into the depth of the Indian Ocean. Explore the corals and take beautiful photos. Go for a cruise or a boat ride in the shimmering sea or simply indulge in parasailing. The country also has several places where kite surfing is quite a popular water sport. So, if there is an adventurer in you, book your tickets now and be on the way already!
Average Cost : $100 - $150 per person
Timings : 06:00 am to 05:00 pm
One of the best ways to witness the mesmerising culture of Zanzibar is by attending the great Zanzibar Cultural Day. It is the day when you would find the traditional customs and local lifestyle of Zanzibar on display. It marks the celebrations of local culture and is all about showcasing the richness of life on the island. Being one of the most awaited and loved festivals, it is attended by thousands of locals as well as tourists. The celebrations on the day include music and dance performances, art exhibitions, workshops, street carnivals, races and fairs.
Time : July
Place : Zanzibar Town
One of the most unique events to partake in Zanzibar is the beautiful Mwaka Kogwa Festival. The grand celebrations of this local carnival are all about enjoying the beginning of the Shirazi New Year. Watch several street performances on this day. Man fighting each other with banana stems and entertaining their audience is one of the major sights to capture. Women indulge in singing and dancing and also partake in various other local events.
Time : July
Place : Zanzibar Island
As Islam is the dominant religion in Zanzibar and Muslims make up the majority, Eid is the most significant cultural festival here. The festival marks the end of Ramadan when people break their month-long fast and indulge in relishing a variety of meals. During this time, people clean their houses, go shopping and indulge in charity. Eid prayers, social gatherings and gift-giving are important parts of Eid Celebrations. So, attend it and learn about the cultural scene of the island.
Time : May/June
Place : Across the Islands
If you are a movie lover and have a strong affinity towards film and television, then the Zanzibar International Film Festival is all for you. It is one of the most popular annual events in Zanzibar. The event is attended by thousands of movie and art lovers from across the island and beyond. Watch several motion pictures on the culture and heritage of Zanzibar. Learn about the beautiful lifestyle of Africa, the Middle East and also several other parts of the world. The festival celebrations also include dancing, workshops and more.
Time : July
Place : Zanzibar
Other festivals/events celebrated in Zanzibar
To enter the boundaries of Zanzibar, a tourist needs to have a valid visa unless he/she belongs to a visa-exempt nation. As per the visa policy of Mozambique, the following given is the list of all the nationalities that have a right to stay within the country for a maximum period of three months without a visa. It includes:
Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cyprus, Dominica, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Sudan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe, British Overseas Territories and Guernsey and Jersey
Below given is the list of the countries that are required to have a regular valid visa to enter the boundaries of Zanzibar:
Afghanistan, Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Yemen
Citizens of all the other countries that are not on the list of visa-exempt nations can obtain a visa on arrival to enter Zanzibar.
Public transportation in Zanzibar is very limited and hence, there are only a few ways of getting around and explore places. Mini-buses and open-air trucks also called Dala-Dala in Zanzibar make for the most used form of transport. It is used by locals as well as tourists to a large extent for being the cheapest mode of commutation. Buses are available at all the major locations on the island and hence, travelling has become quite easy and comfortable on account of the presence of these local services. Several private air-conditioned buses also run for the public and they can be used for group tours.Trains
As of now, there is no train service in ZanzibarTaxis/Cabs
If you are not looking forward to experiencing inconvenience and only desire ultimate comfort while exploring the beauties of Zanzibar, then you must use taxis/cabs for getting around. They are available at all tourist destinations. However, make sure you decide on the final fare before getting into the vehicle to avoid arguments later on.
Located on Zanzibar Island, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport is the major airport here that is connected to all the other major countries of Africa and a few parts of the world. You can take direct flights from Qatar, Johannesburg, Ethiopia, France, Portugal and a lot of other places. Once you have reached the airport, you can use public transport to reach your desired destination on the island. It is located a few km from Zanzibar City.Via Road Route
Being an island, it doesnât have a road network to reach it.Via Rail Route
As of now, there is no rail service operating between Zanzibar and other placesVia Water Route
You can use ferry and cruise services to reach Zanzibar from nearby places like Tanzania, Madagascar and South Africa.
Mozambique is a great place to visit on a weekend from Zanzibar. Visit the fort of Sao Sebastio at the Island of Mozambique. Explore the scenic Benguerra Beach and have a great time diving in its waters. Explore the rich wildlife of the country at Gorongosa National Park. Other significant places to visit in Mozambique include Ibo Island, Maputo Reserve, Barra Beach and Limpopo National Park.Zambia
Another place in the proximity of Zanzibar is the landlocked nation of Zambia that is extensively known for its rich and diverse wildlife. And hence, it could make for a great weekend getaway to go safaris and game reserves. Do not forget to visit the stupendous Victoria Falls, which is one of the biggest in the world with a width of more than 1700 m. Kafue National Park, Kriba Dam, Livingstone Museum and Kabwata Cultural Village are other significant places in Zambia.Tanzania
Once you are done exploring Zanzibar Island, move on to explore the rest of Tanzania. It is a beautiful nation and is known for its extensive landscapes and other natural beauties. Visit it on a weekend and explore some places including Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro and Changu Island. The country hosts a variety of beauties to offer its guests.
Phone Number: +255 222 600628
For more details : Click here
General Emergency Number: 112
The Tanzanian Shilling is the official currency of Tanzania and has been in use since 1966 after it replaced East African shilling as the legal tender. Today, it is used extensively for all kinds of transactions.