If you are coming in from overseas or other parts of Africa you can transit Arusha, Mombasa or Nairobi and fly direct to Zanzibar without bothering about Dar es Salaam. Also local airlines fly Arusha-Zanzibar - very convenient and not over the top expensive.
Kenya Airways flies from Mombasa and Nairobi, Air Tanzania flies Nairobi-Zanzibar-Dar es Salaam, KLM flies (Amsterdam)-Kilimanjaro/Arusha-Zanzibar, and local Tanzanian airlines operate from Tanzania. From Dar it only takes 10 minutes.
We flew directly from Johannesburg to Zanzibar with 1Time. This is a budget airline in South Africa, flying on Tuesdays and Saturdays to Zanzibar. The major advantage of this option is that you do not need to fly to Dar Es Salaam first, getting a connection to Zanzibar. Flying time is only 3 hours!
It is a very popular route and both flights were 100% full, so book early. By booking early, you will also bet discounted fares of about 400 – 500 USD (return).
These are the local transport used by the locals. They are packed with people and others hang off the back.
There is a 'bus station' of sorts on a dirt parking area on the edge of Stone Town where you can pick one up to the other parts of the island. Someone will advise, various people speak a bit of English.
The 'a/c' is open sides and you will be rammed in. They are often stopped at security checks by the military/police, particularly if they see tourists on board. Generally the police are relatively friendly if rather serious! You may have to produce your documents. I have personally not heard of any difficulties with 'tips' or 'baksheesh' being required on Zanzibar.
You could try hiring your own dala-dala I suppose!
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like DAO has mentioned he is the man. and i think anyone knows him on the island
even the Polisi (Police). just remaind add one hour for the agreed meeting time.
the vehicle Suzuki Vitara 4x4 has already some Km on it but was working well.
please check the labels on the windscreen like Insurance our was one week over and we got a penalty from the Polisi. But Ally showed up at the Hotel the next day with a new sticker.... and remember there are many Police check points on the island ! almost looking to make some money for there pocket (thats my opinion)
at least i would again rent a car to discover the island and to be free.
Visited Zanzibar last week and was quite surprised that the main roads are in quite good shape. Roads leading to Nungwi and to the east coast used to be in terrible condition some time ago. Nowadays they are just finishing up new tarmac to Nungwi and the taxi driver told that the situation in east coast is currently similar, the government has been doing their best to get those roads fixed.
Taxi from airport to Kendwa beach took us around 40 minutes and costs 60 000 Tsh (around 50 USD). Shuttle buses are much cheaper option, from Kendwa to Stone Town it was 8000 Tsh (7 USD).
Zanzibar is only 10 minutes flying from Dar Es Salaam. With the time it takes with security and check-in and all that it may be easier and just as fast to take the ferry.
There is a fast catamaran that leaves from the downtown harbour area that only takes about an hour or a little more. There are ticket counters ( a bit confusing place because of all the touts and peddlers) right at the entrance of the ship terminal. The ticket price is a bit steep compared to what the locals will pay for the same ride (dual pricing in Tanzania - foreigners pay more), but still better than flying.
Ferry to Stone Town from Dar. Foot passengers taken or vehicles.
Or fly - lots of airlines fly from other continents now direct into Zanzibar, or from Mombasa, Nairobi or Dar.
On the island, taxis or communal buses - open sided trucks (called dala-dalas) with far too many people crammed in - you have to be friendly but the open sided nature means it's not too smelly! They are dirt cheap. Taxis are fairly reasonable. You can also hire a truck to yourself for a mid-price and that might turn out to be the best bet. Seats are hard and the air-conditioning is the wind, but fine as journeys are not long.
Dhows (wooden sailing boats) or motorised fishing boats can be hired at any village for a few dollars.
Mountain biking would be ideal as the roads are not busy and it is a flat island.
the most probable way to get to Zanzibar is the plane. The airport is very small and rudimentary, but it receives an increasing number of charter flights from Europe. It is also possible to come by express ferry from Dar es Salaam.
The locals use these small boats for fishing. They may be not very fast and comfortable, but they look nice.
There are many flights daily to Zanzibar Island from Mombasa, Dar es Salaam and ther cities.
Last Night, i came here with my family from Mombasa and all of us decided to do some adventure. To spend our more time of our trip at Zanzibar Island, we booked the our flight just one day ahead from flights.worldmapsinfo.com. Flight was exactly in time and just take one hour.Also, it was the pleasant flight with a great view at the Klimanjaro. That site had many options for discount airlines and the cheap flights to Zanzibar Island.
Thanks to flights.worldmapsinfo.com
Its no problem to take the buses at Zanzibar. They leave opposite from the market place. You never know when they leave, but they leave and they are cheap. You pay 1500 tsh one way. You can just enter one and go around. To the east coast you take the bus either to Bejeew (Paje) or Jambiani, they even go to Michemvi (sign: Bejeew). they are safe and you get in contact with the locals. sometimes they stop, but then they just take a brake, find a screwdriver and soon its running again. In the mango season they even stop so everybody can buy mango to eat.
Its two kind of local buses. One really local: like a lorry where you are sitting back, sideways. Its the same price, takes longer time and are filled with all kind off stuff. The other one is minibuses and more comfortable, but not so charming as the lorry!
The ferry to and from Pemba is also cheaper at night ferry. The website below has the timetables. Prices vary be who you talk to and your bargaining abilities!