I have just returned from my trip in Zanzibar, Tanzania. What a blast! If you are planning a special trip in 2020 let it be a Zanzibar Excursion. I have seen beaches but the ones in Zanzibar rate as the cleanest and most spectacular in Africa. The white sands and the blue waters just perfect. The aroma of spices complement an already heavenly experience. I enjoyed it, I believe you will too but before you hop onto that plane here are some tips for you.
Plan Well In Advance
As always, travelling especially to a new place requires a lot of planning. Understand the culture, work and business ethic of the land you are visiting. It will save you a lot of hustle and precious time just to know the general culture of your hosts. For Zanzibar, I would say start planning at least 3-6 months ahead.
Be Patient With The Airport Routine
Travelling to Zanzibar by air could be very stressful. Be prepared to spend more time in queues and delays at the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. Locating restrooms in the airport is also a hassle. If you are departing we advice you to use the lounge at the upper level. Keep on you about 1000 shillings (US50c) for use as some of the restrooms are paid.
Airport transfers can be expensive. You can pay as much as $50 per trip so take note of that when planning your trip.You can arrange with the hotel where you will be staying for quick and easier transfers.
For those who might you can also land in mainland Tanzania at the recently expanded and updated Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es salaam. From there you can catch the speed ferries to Stone Town Zanzibar. These boats are fast and affordable. The economy seat is about $35 while an additional $10 would upgrade you to VIP if you want.
Pack Lots Of Sunscreen!
Zanzibar can get extremely hot. Pack lots of sunscreen ,swimsuits or shorts, summer dresses, slippers, sunglasses and sun hats. most of the activities are centered around water and aquatic life. If you would like to experience aquatic life, there are places to dive too.
Avoid The Rainy Season
Zanzibar climate is typically tropical – hot all year round and humid most of the year. They have 2 rainy seasons. The long rainy season is from March to May while the short rainy season is from October and December. During the wet seasons, there activities are limited and some hotels actually close. I would advice that you avoid these months.
Try Resort Hopping For A Full Experience
I suggest resort hopping , that is book three different resorts in different districts so that you can experience a great Zanzibar vacation . Take note of the shuttle service every time you move from one place to another as a separate charge.
There is no doubt that the Stone Town and its narrow alleyway is the biggest draw in Zanzibar Town but after a visit to this part you may need to explore more serene environments. The Coral Cavern of Mangapwani are a favorite for many.
There Is More Outside The Resorts
To fully enjoy Zanzibar you need to explore life outside the resorts.There are many activities you can register for. They cost between $30-50 for a full day event including transport,food and drinks. They have spice tours, safari tours, Stone Town tours, Deep Blue Sea island tours etc. The Beach boys offer this honest service to hotel guests at a cheaper price compared to the hotel. You will often see them lurking down by the beach trying to pitch their business to the guests. Wifi is available throughout the resorts and air conditioning. I suggest island hopping , that is book three different resorts in different districts so that you can experience a great Zanzibar vacation . Take note of the shuttle service every time you move from one place to another as a separate charge.
Try The Zanzibar Cuisine – Yummy!
Meals can be expensive in Zanzibar. Most resorts offer free complimentary continental breakfast however dinner is not free. They serve buffets at the resorts and its cheaper to pay (half board or full board) meaning add dinner or add lunch and dinner. This will be much cheaper than eating dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. Zanzibar cuisine is delicious .You can taste ginger ,coconut and cinnamon in almost everything. It is also home to some of the most amazing spiced dishes I have tasted.
Avoid Using Your Credit Card If Possible
Most of the transactions in Zanzibar are cash. People generally do not accept US dollars that are older than 2013. There are a few ATMs down the coastline and it’s advisable to withdraw cash once you’re on your way to your resort. If you pay with card they charge an extra 5% and it takes days for the transaction to go through. The exchange rate is generally $1=2000 Shillings
Just Relax, Zanzibar Is Safe
Zanzibar is safe and beautiful . The local women storm the beach around 10:30 am everyday when the tide is lower. They farm and harvest seaweed which they sell to Chinese merchants for skincare manufacture and food. The men are mainly fishermen. They fish for food and also sell to the local restaurants. When you meet locals, feel free to greet them. Learn a few Swahili words and say “Mambo” for Hello, “Asante Sana” – Thank you very much, when you meet the locals.