I took a plane ride from Zanzibar to Tanga which is highly recommended if you like aerial views and beautiful scenery. The plane is operated by Coast Aviation, which has an office near the Serena Inn in Stone Town. The one-way ticket cost $109 (October 2009), and the flight was in a small cessna plane which stopped in Pemba on the way to Tanga. The views from the air of the eastern shores of Zanzibar, with its wide band of coral reefs as well as the many inlets, reefs and lagoons on both sides of Pemba were simply breathtaking. From Tanga airport is was a short and cheap ($4) taxi ride to town.
Zanzibar International Airport is a typical developing world airport, which can be a bit chaotic the first time around. Get to the airport early (no later than 1 1/2 hours in advance of departure) in order to avoid delays caused by slow/incompetent airline staff and manic travelers.
Note: Zanzibar Island charges a departure tax in the amount of 5,000 Shillings for domestic departures and 10,000 Shillings for international departures.
PLEASE NOTE: I do not recommend these as a means of transport.
Dhows are traditional wooden boats with a triangular sail. You will see them, both big and small, all over Zanzibar. Larger ones are called ‘Jahazi’ by locals and have sails and motors. ‘Mashua’ are the smaller ones that may be powered by sail only. They are used for just about anything from fishing, goods transport, ferry service, and even snorkelling trips. No problem hiring them to take you snorkelling or fishing. You can haggle the price way down. The reason that I do not recommend using them to get to the mainland or any far distance is that they may not be trained sailors, know the way or be safe at all. Not only could it take a very long time to get there, you may not even make it. They carry no safety equipment and have been know to be lost at sea. Stick to the proper ferry services for the mainland and Pemba Island. The government has also made it illegal for foreigners to ride on Dhows to sail to Dar es Salaam – following numerous accidents.
PRECISION AIR is a small well-run airline based in Tanzania. Unlike many airlines that fly you about 6 miles above the earth, Precision air has a fleet of smaller planes allowing you to see the real beauty of Eastern Africa. Their fleet consists of ATR 42’s, an ATR-72 and LET – 410’s. While most travellers to Tanzania see just clouds, you can see the plains of Kenya and the awe-inspiring sight of Mount Kilimanjaro. Always ask the staff which is the best side to sit on for their flight. I flew on the right hand side from Nairobi to Zanzibar and had a first class seat to view Mount Kilimanjaro. Staff are friendly and genuinely seem to be happy to see you aboard. This airline is a partner of Kenya Airways, so you can combine their flights with your adventures.
Need some Wheels? Ally Keys is The Man in Stone Town. He hires bicycles, motorcycles, cars and 4x4 jeeps. What ever you need, Ally has the keys to it. A friendly man with a great sense of humour -Ally can help. Prices are reasonable and you can negotiate on longer hires.
As his own sign says:
'The main man in town for motorcycles is a colourful character called Ally keys. He's not as disreputable as he looks and his bikes are safe.'
In the Kiponda area Just to the west of the Bus Station (where the Dala Dalas are) and north of the Darajani Market. Just ask anyone, Ally is well known.
Phone: 0777 411797
Converted pick-ups or Dalla-Dallas (minibuses) link all major towns on Zanzibar Island. The main 'Bus Station' is on Creek Road just beside the Darajani Market on the edge of Stone Town. They tend to leave once an impossible number of people have been squeezed into, and often onto, these overworked vehicles. Each one has a number and many are decorated with English Football teams logos. The ones with letters on them have routes in Zanzibar Town. Numbers indicate farther destinations.
Destinations around Zanzibar Town:
A Amani Stadium
Destinations accross the island:
1 Mkokotoni (sometimes Nungwi as well)
2 Mangapwani & Bumbwini
6 Chwaka (sometimes to Uroa)
8 Unguja Ukuu
9 Paje (sometimes Bwejuu or Jambiani)
10 Jozani, Makunduchi and Kizimkazi Junction
I did see others with 3 Numbers, like the 309 in Jambiani. These may be internal routes and not go to Stone Town. Always best to ask 2 questions: 1) Where are you going? and 2) Are you going today?
Dalla-Dalla’s can be a very cheap way to leave Stone Town and can give you some real insight into the lives of native people. It can also be a crowded and not overly safe way to get there. I am convinced the word ‘DALLA’ means dangerous and that is why they say it twice.
Please note: Some outlying areas are only served once a day.
Returning to Stone Town from remote areas may not be possible by Dalla-Dalla. Just look at one of my pictures of 5-6 passengers on the roof. And if it is really far out, they may leave before 6am. You may not be able to get on board.
Fly Precision Airlines to Zanzibar. They are the most reliable local airline and provide the best (though not great) customer service. They have numerous flights between both Arusha and Dar daily.