Holidays

Yes. A single three-month entry tourist visa for your Zanzibar holiday can be applied for at Tanzanian embassies and high commissions. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous state within Tanzania, so although visitors won’t need a separate visa to enter, you will need to show your passport on arrival. Visitors flying directly to Zanzibar are able to purchase a visa on arrival at the airport, where the price is USD 50. If you are considering travelling to Kenya, you will also need a Kenyan visa which will cost a further USD 50. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay.


A local tax of USD 1 per person per night (including children) is payable, usually upon departure and by cash to the hotel/resort.

The official local language is Swahili. English is often spoken in the tourist areas, as well as Italian, French and Arabic.

Zanzibaris are a rich mixture of backrounds and religions from right across the Indian Ocean, originating from Africa, to Persia, Oman and Asia, all merged into one cosmopolitan culture. The population is around 1 million.
The local currency in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian Shilling (TSh). US dollar notes are also widely accepted as payment throughout the island. Traveller’s Cheques can be exchanged at banks, bureau de change and some hotels, although exchange rates are poor and cash is preferable. Credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted at larger establishments. There are ATM cash machines in Zanzibar Town and at the airport.
International telephone calls can be made from the post office in Zanzibar Town, larger hotels and the numerous international communications centres, which range from internet cafes to shops with a phone. Internet cafes have sprung up all over Zanzibar Town and, despite being a little slow at times, provide a cheap and easy method of communication. Mobile network coverage is good in both Zanzibar and Pemba, and GSM mobile phones with roaming will generally be able to pick up reception in all but the most remote areas.
Electricity is 230 V. Usually English-style sockets are used, with the possibility of borrowing convertors at the hotels’ receptions, although it may be better to bring your own.
Local time is GMT + 3 during the winter season and GMT + 2 during the summer season.

Advice should be sought from a doctor at home prior to your Zanzibar holiday, but vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, diphteria, polio, meningitis and hepatitis A are usually recommended. The Tanzanian government requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival if you are traveling from a country with a risk of yellow fever (this does not include the US – see the complete list: countries with a risk of the yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission.) Malaria is not common in Zanzibar, however it is possible. For this reason it is best to cover up after sunset, and use mosquito repellent on exposed all skin. Drinking water should be boiled and filtered or bought in sealed bottles. Please note the medical facilities in Zanzibar are limited. Complete information about required/suggested vaccinations is available HERE.

Clothes are recommended to be light and loose and ideally from natural fabrics.
The best shoes are flip-flops or sandals, however a firm pair of walking shoes is recommended for trips to the forest.
To protect yourself from the tropical sun, sunscreen and a hat are essential.
Most hotels and resorts provide mosquito nets, however if you decide to choose budget accommodation, it might be best to bring your own.
Ramadan is determined by the lunar Islamic calendar. This means that it's on a different date every year. It normally begins after the astronomical new moon, and the end is on the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The following Ramandan dates are from 6th May – 4th June, 2019 and 24th April – 23rd May, 2020.
If you are travelling to Zanzibar during the Ramadan celebration, you should know some do’s and don’t. Do not eat, drink or smoke in public during Ramadan. It is not against the law to eat in public, but it is considered impolite when so many people are fasting. Some Muslim-owned restaurants are closed during Ramadan, some only during daytime.
Please bear in mind that Zanzibar is a highly religious country and almost 95% of its inhabitant are Muslims.
Women, in particular, should dress modestly, with shoulders and knees covered. Bikinis and minis are fine for the beach, but Zanzibaris appreciate modest dressing in the villages and towns. Likewise, men should not go shirtless and should dress conservatively.
Amongst the airlines flying to Zanzibar are Emirates (Fly Dubai), Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Oman Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenyan Airways, Alitalia, South African Airways and Mango Air.

Currently there are no direct flights between London and Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam. International airlines offer flights via Istanbul, Nairobi, Dubai or Doha. Those via Dar es Salaam require an additional 20 minute local flight. Qatar Airways also fly to Kilimanjaro or Dar es Salaam, whilst Kenya Airways fly via Nairobi.

It is also possible to fly from other Tanzanian places such as Arusha, Ruaha, Selous, Manyara, Pemba or Serengeti.
Zanzibar has a relatively good network of roads. The safest way to travel is to arrange a transfer via your hotel or tour operator.
Local taxis are available upon landing at the airport.
Renting a car is not expensive, around USD 50 per day. Drivers need to hold an international driving licence and must pay for a daily police permit that costs USD 3. Driving is on the left. There are a number of police check-points but these are usually just a formality, although they may want to see your licence.

The cheapest form of local transport is the daladala truck. Fares are very low (around a few hundred shillings), but this is in exchange for quite an uncomfortable and rather a dangerous trip.
Nungwi daladala - No 116 - is the main route from Stone Town to Nungwi.
The Pongwe No 209 does not operate daily, therefore its easier to take a taxi.
The Matemwe daladala is No 118, but please be aware that this is a very uncomfortable road.
The Kiwengwa is frequently served by the No 117.
The Jambiani area is reachable by the No 309.
The Kizimkazi journey is operated by the No 326.

Hiring a bike during your Zanzibar holiday is also possible, but note that the roads are not always very safe.