Zanzibar Island Travel Guide

  • Zanzibar Island
    by DAO
  • First View of Stonetown
    First View of Stonetown
    by travelpug
  • Beautiful Zanzibar
    Beautiful Zanzibar
    by PierreZA

Zanzibar Island Highlights

  • Pro
    jackfruit profile photo

    jackfruit says…

     Excellent beaches, great diving, delectable cuisine and super friendly people!! 

  • Con
    laughingsun69 profile photo

    laughingsun69 says…

     can be dodgy at night if you get lost drunk down an alley way 

  • In a nutshell
    DAO profile photo

    DAO says…

     A MUST SEE DESTINATION. IT JUST SOUNDS GREAT 

Zanzibar Island Things to Do

  • SCUBA DIVING ON THE EAST COAST

    Want a closer look at the reef on the east coast? Or maybe you would like to see some dolphins up close. Sau Inn Divers in Jambiani. They are located in the grounds of the Sau Inn and are fully equipped. They offer full PADI accredited courses. You can choose from 1/2/4/6/8/10 Dive packages, trips to Mnembea Atoll and Dolphin diving trips. Prices...

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  • not to travel with Baboo Travel company...

    Hi,I have seen recommendation for Baboo travel owned by a guy named Nooran Baboo from Stone town from Zanzibar.I travelled with him and my family in February 2011 and I was very dissapointed.OK, we did safari, we saw migration,we stayed in Zanzibar . The organization was chaotic, not enough information regarding our daily plans from his side, but...

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  • JOZANI FOREST (Overview)

    No visit to Zanzibar Island can be complete without a tour of the Jozani Forest. Any tour of Jozani will show you: The Rainforest, Red Colobus Monkeys (endangered species) and the Mangrove Swamp. The Forest is the last uncultivated/inhabited area on Zanzibar. Land crabs and the shy Blue Monkey are also present during your visit. You can either book...

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Zanzibar Island Restaurants

  • HISTORIC ENTERTAINMENT

    This restaurant and entertainment venue is located inside the Old Arab Fort. Open everyday between 8am and 10pm, they have a large menu serving local and international food. They have a special 'Night At The Fort' every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 7-10pm. The night includes a special Buffet Barbeque with a variety of seafood, meats,...

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  • Rooftop dining

    We had a couple of dinners in the rooftop restaurant of this old hotel, centrally located in the middle of Stone Town. Prices were reasonable, the seafood curries spicy and the views over the roofs of the old quarter picturesque. Unlike some other Stone Town hotels, the Chavda serves alcohol, so we could wash down our curry with a cold beer or two....

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  • Marvellous seaview with nice seafood

    After our dolphintour we had our lunch in Kidizi Restaurant, a nice roofed open air restaurant. Because of the sea-breeze the temperature was bearable. The view at the ocean and the bay were marvellous. We took all the time for our lunch and our drinks, before going back in the steaming heat of the inland. There were changing rooms and showers. The...

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Zanzibar Island Nightlife

  • THE MEETING PLACE

    Forodhani Gardens are the focal point of Stone Town. They are set on the edge of the port and right in front of the Old Arab Fort. During the day this is where you meet friend or find a guide to help you negotiate the confusing maze of Old Town streets nearby. Or a guide may find you. Handicraft sellers can sometimes be found early on it the day as...

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  • Africa House sunset

    One of the most popular places to end a day in Stone Town is on the first floor roof terrace of the Africa House hotel, sipping a cold drink and watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean. We found ourselves drawn there on most evenings. In those days (1999) the hotel was a pretty basic back-packers’ hostel and the roof top bar consisted of a...

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  • Eat out local food

    Every evening, there are dozens of food stalls in park in front of the Sultans palace in stone-town, Zanzibar. The place is packed with locals, music, and smells of BBQ. You can have anything on a stick from squid to chicken. Don't miss out on the sugar-cane juice and the special machine that makes it!

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Zanzibar Island Transportation

  • DAR ES SALAAM FERRY

    The ferry to and from Dar Es Salaam is not that expensive and the website below has the timetables. The night ferry is cheaper, but you run the risk of thieves on board waiting for you to go to sleep.Please remember:There are different prices because you will find middlemen. Try and argue the price down. They usually add $10.

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  • Transport on the Island

    Transport on the island can be a bit of a problem. I suppose you can use the local dala-dala, but we passed many f them and they don’t seem very safe, they are overcrowded and takes very long to cross the island. They might be suitable for short distances. We paid 40 USD for a return trip from the hotel to Stone Town, which was very reasonable (the...

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  • Getting there by Air

    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...

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Zanzibar Island Shopping

  • Fair Tade

    I have been to Stone Town quite a few times and to be honest never really felt the calling for souvenir shopping. But on my last 2 trips there I came across a curio shop at the top of Kenyata road, so when you come out of Livingstones Restaurant you turn right up toward the Post Office. Just past the Post Office on the left hand side in front of...

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  • At the Airport

    I was surprised finding shops at the airport (including a duty-free) with a very good variety and excellent prices. They sell anything from kangas to vanilla pods.The duty-free shop has a very good selection of books, they also accept credit cards. Most local craftSpicesSoaps and oilsBooksTextiles Fixed prices

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  • Shopping

    There were a few curio shops along the beach in the area around the hotel where we stayed. They sell very much the safe stuff that you will find in Stone Town. Textiles (Kanga, Ki-koi etc)Mokondo Art (Masks etc)Tingatinga paintingSoap, oils etc Haggle, haggle, haggle

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Zanzibar Island Local Customs

  • ZANZIBARIAN BEDS

    Traditional Zanzibarian Beds are essentially very large 4 poster/canopy beds. The canopy holds your mosquito net (essential), where is can be pulled back during the day. The head board and foot board are very high and have decorative panels. Most of the panels have paintings of simple objects like fruit. These beds are truly original and their...

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  • GROWING SEAWEED

    I had no idea that you could grow seaweed until I visited the east coast of Zanzibar. In fact I did not realise that it was eaten in many countries in the Far East. Seaweed is tied to poles out in the ocean. Because the east coast of the island is protected by a close barrier reef, the seaweed thrives in these sorts of undersea groves. The ladies...

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  • Money

    You will most probably get away with USD, but I did find it very useful to have Tanzanian Shillings as well. At smaller shops, which is not very tourist orientated the local money comes in handy.There is an ATM in Stone Town where I could draw money.

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Zanzibar Island Warnings and Dangers

  • Bribes

    It is true that many of the police in Zanzibar are friendly and non-threatening. However, most of them will do what they can for a bribe. They either hope you just give them a "tip" when they pull you over (for no reason) or will come up with some real (or fake) violation to fine you for. If this happens, ask them to write a ticket and tell them...

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  • MALARIA KILLS

    PLEASE PREPARE! Malaria can sometimes be fatal and at best may make you regret that you survived. Medicines must be taken weeks BEFORE you come here. There are 4 different species of Malaria and humans can get them all from the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Illness and death from malaria are largely preventable if you plan...

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  • THE RAINY SEASON

    During the rainy season the large lakes that appear in the road take up exactly the entire width of the road. Also they are only located where the vegetation is so dense, that you cannot actually walk along the sides or avoid walking in the water. Take good boots that dry quickly. Get used to it. It is the rainy season and you are going to get wet...

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Zanzibar Island Tourist Traps

  • The tip trap!

    particularly in Stone Town, it 's easy to meet a lot of local people that turn theyrself in tourist guide offering you excursion at low prices. Be carefull and do not accept to go with they if you are not expcted to be left in the middle of the island without seeing anything...most of them are drogatic looking for money for the next dose...if you...

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  • Spice Garden Shop

    At the end of the spice garden tour was the usual "shopping opportunity". I adore spices and use a lot in my cooking, so I bought a considerable amount. It was all very fresh and looked good, so I was happy with my purchases. However, that evening over a Bacari & Coke, another hotel guest insisted in putting me right - I could have bought those...

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  • Snake charmers

    In an effort to seperate you from your money, Stone Town has its fair share of touts ans salesmen. Bargain for a good price and only buy what you intended at a price which is fair to both of you. Remember that the vendor has to make a living too! If you are going to spend your money on something useless, at least make it something brave or...

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Zanzibar Island What to Pack

  • A GOOD PAIR OF BOOTS

    A GOOD PAIR OF BOOTS!Walking around Zanzibar is a fantastic way to see everything, but you get plenty of hazards. Natural ones are the usual rocks, vines, animal droppings, etc. Manmade items like glass and other rubbish make an appearance from time to time. And if that wasn’t enough – the rainy season will make you want those quick dry light...

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  • What to pack

    You will do some shopping Light cotton clothing Mosquito Repellent Sunscreen A lot of photo oppertunities Most are supplied if you go on excursions

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  • HOTHOTHOT WEATHER

    Put a lock on your bags, it's never safe to travel with small airline companies without a lock. Don't put any valuable stuff in your luggage either. Its very very hot, and not humid at all. The air is dry and very warm. I'm talking30 degrees, but since its not very windy and rainy in december it feels even warmer. Bring light airy clothes, like...

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Zanzibar Island Off The Beaten Path

  • Mnemba Island

    Mnemba Island is a typical desert island only two km northeast of Zanzibar and is 1.5km around.It has a pristine beach with brilliant, soft, white sand and protected waters to conserve the coral reefs, giant turtles and tropical fish in the lagoon.This is the only place to stay on the island, and the only people on Mnemba are lodge staff and...

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  • Jozani Forest - see Red Colobus Monkeys

    A small area of indigenous forest remains today, at Jozani. This forest was declared a reserve in 1960 and visitors may see the red colobus monkey, smaller than the black-and-white colobus, and endemic to the island.When I visited there were plenty of them and easy to see, being all in 2 trees together.

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  • Pwani Mchangani Village

    This village is located approximately 15 minutes walk from the Mapenzi Beach Club. We were escorted there by one of the hotel staff, and taken to visit the school. The children and staff were very welcoming - we even had an audience with the Headmaster. Unfortunately we were not very well prepared as we had just walked to the village along the...

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Zanzibar Island Sports & Outdoors

  • Diving in Open Water

    If you love the sea like I do you love to do scuba diving. I did it many years ago on a swimming pool and I loved it so when I was at Zanzibar I wanted to do the Open Water Padi Course so I could do scuba all over the world :)Go to www.padi.com if you want further information about the diferent courses.We did it on the sports center of the hotel...

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  • Snorkelling

    I was keen to arrange a scuba diving trip or two, but the nearest diving centre (four miles away) was closed! Instead I joined several others from our hotel on a boat trip out to the reef for snorkelling.For many people, this was their first attempt at snorkelling, and I was dismayed at how the outing was handled by the "guide". We stopped some way...

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  • Diving

    Zanzibar offers lots of diving opportunities.Some of the best dive spots are on the northeastern part of the island off Mnemba.Of course, diving at Pemba is supposed to be unrivaled anywhere in the Indian Ocean, but Mnemba diving provides opportunities to see grouper, shark and big game fish, not to mention turtles and colorful tropical reef...

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Zanzibar Island Favorites

  • Bwejuu - Page - Safety

    Hi Sandra, Just to let you know the outcome regarding Crystal Hotel (which is NOT a cheap bunch of bungalows on the beach but a mid sized hotel BTW). The thieves approached this resort during Ramadan, they approached as the sun went down and knew most people (including the police) were off to prayers and to break their fast which is why the cops...

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  • zanzibar beyond the door

    congulatultion for choosing zanzibar as a place of your satisfactory.there are a lot of things to do cultural tours,natural tour in jozan forest there are endemic spicies of animals and trees.car hire is not too expensive not more than 50$ per day depend on the type of car you need.swimming and snorking is growing fast and are things you cant miss...

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  • THE TYRE GAME

    During my stay in Jambiani Village I kept seeing kids playing with old bicycle tyres rims. They would use a good stick and propel the tyre along the road at great speed with the stick pushing along the groove. Not only is this not easy to do – these kids were amazing fast. If you think its easy – give it a try.

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Explore Deeper into Zanzibar Island
MORE WOODEN DOORS !
Things to Do
NICE AND HOT
Restaurants
JAMBIANI
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USE THE ATM MACHINES
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Baboo Travel
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streets of Stonetown
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Malaria, Yellow Fever etc
Warnings and Dangers
Beach Boys
Local Customs
Beer
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Great place in Stone Town
Restaurants
Other excursions
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Paje
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Jozani Forest
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Door Making
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Stone Town
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Spice Tour
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THE DALLA DALLA's
Transportation
Falling coconuts
Warnings and Dangers
Hassle from would-be guides
Warnings and Dangers
Typical souvenirs
Shopping
Swahili dancing
Local Customs
Henna painting
Local Customs
Doors
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Local beers
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Mass in Cathedral
Local Customs
Jozani Forest
Things to Do
Rip-off football shirts
Local Customs
Mangapwani Beach and Slave Cave
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Spice Tour
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Dhow trip to Prison and Bawe Islands
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The House of Wonders
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The Old Fort
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Village lunch on spice tour
Restaurants
Stone Town
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A special place for a treat
Restaurants
Flying to Zanzibar
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Adventurous trip through Cheap Flights To Zanzibar
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WHEN TO GO AND CLIMATE
Local Customs
Car rental
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Best food in Zanzibar
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Map of Zanzibar Island

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