A tropical paradise in East Africa, Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. Famous for the cultural traditions, cuisine, and gorgeous beaches and lagoons, it is not surprising that Zanzibar Holiday Packages are so popular and are the preferred option to visit and explore Zanzibar. However, while most trips to Zanzibar occur without any incidents, it is always important to be aware of travel advice and notices before your trip.
Personal safety measures and dress code
- Being a predominantly Muslim society, Zanzibar can be conservative in some ways. Visitors are advised to respect the local customs and traditions, and dress modestly when not at the beach, particularly when in town. It is recommended to wear light, knee-length, loose-fitting clothing and cover the shoulders.
- While regular beach wear is allowed on the beach, there are no nude or topless beaches in Zanzibar.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and expensive jewellery, and carry a copy of your passport and leave the original in the hotel safe.
- Don’t accept lifts from unlicensed taxis.
- Avoid walking alone especially in isolated areas and after dark.
- Get a yellow fever vaccination no less than 10 days before your trip. Keep the certificate as you might need it for visa and entry purposes.
- Take the necessary precautions against malaria (anti-malaria medication, bug spray, mosquito nets).
- Zanzibar lies along the equator, and the sun is very strong. Wear sunscreen and hats, and avoid long exposure in the sun.
- Wash your hands regularly in case of cholera outbreaks.
- Do not drink the tap water.
- The high-speed ferry is a cheaper alternative to taking a Cessna flight from Dar Es Salaam. In general, those boats are safe, comfortable, and modern, although in general it is recommended to not board if it looks overloaded. If you’re prone to seasickness, stay on the top deck for fresh air and nice views.
- Many visitors use taxis to get around, but they can be costly if used regularly. It is better to pre-book a taxi at the airport for better prices. Most locals use a mini bus called dala-dala, which is relatively safe but can get crammed with people, fish, and some farm animals.
- It is recommended to rent a car to explore the island. Choose a reputable rental car company, and be aware that most cars are older than 15 years old, despite their low mileage. You will have to obtain a local driver’s permit, which the car hire company can provide if you bring a valid driver’s license. Rental cars are usually automatic, with the steering wheel on the right hand side of the vehicle, as they drive on the left side of the road. Drive very carefully at night as visibility is reduced, due to lack of street lights. There are regular traffic police checks, so make sure to always have your relevant documents handy. Always ask for an official ticket and the police officer’s information if they fine you.
General travel tips
- Avoid the months of March, April and May as they are prone to long and heavy rainfalls
- During the fasting month of Ramadan, many restaurants and amenities will be closed, but resorts stay open. Openly consuming drinks, food, and cigarettes outside of the resorts is frowned upon.
- Life in Zanzibar is slow, and things such as your meal order can take a while.
- Avoid sitting under coconut trees as coconuts tend to fall without notice.
- Street-food markets are packed with locals and tourists, and generally serve delicious food. Enquire about the food prior to eating it, in case it’s been sitting out all day in the sun. Do not eat from street markets if there is a cholera outbreak.
- Understand Zanzibar time to avoid miscommunications: Zanzibaris start counting time as from sunrise, not from midnight.