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5 Things About Zanzibar’s Culture You Should Know Before Your Visit

5 Things About Zanzibar’s Culture You Should Know Before Your Visit


With pristine beaches, adventurous watersports activities, beautiful architecture, rich culture and delicious seafood, Zanzibar is a must-visit island! 

However, before you visit any place, it’s important to know about the local culture so that you can be respectful of the locals and have a great time, simultaneously. 

Here are 5 things about Zanzibar’s culture you should know before your visit:


  1. The locals dress modestly – so you’re expected to follow that rule too. For the ladies, make sure you cover your entire body and avoid wearing revealing clothes. As a rule, your shoulders and legs should be covered. For men, make sure you don’t wear shorts.

Tourists who wear inappropriate clothing might also be fined according to the new laws of the island. It’s best to stay safe and respect the local culture!


  1. It’s considered inappropriate to take photos of the locals without asking them, especially of the women. If you want to take photos of the locals, please make sure you have their permission to do so before you begin your shoot. After all, consent is very important. 


  1. Don’t forget to tip your guides, waiters and other people who are providing a service!

In Zanzibar, tipping is expected of everyone. It’s an unsaid local tradition that you need to tip those who provide service to you. Plus, you should be happy to do so because the locals never fail at making you feet at home and go out of their way to ensure that you have a great time. 


  1. Greet those around you

In Zanzibar, it’s a good idea to greet people, even if you don’t know them. It’s a great idea to learn some basic Swahili greetings before you head over to Zanzibar. A lot of people will greet you too and it would be rude not to greet them back. Here are a few Swahili phrases you should learn:

Jambo – Hello

Hakuna Matata – no worries 

Assalam-o-alaikum – May peace be with you – it’s a greeting

Asante – thank you

Karibu – Welcome


  1. The locals don’t drink alcoholic beverages

Zanzibar is home to a Muslim majority so the locals don’t drink alcohol. If you’re out at a bar with a local friend or guide, make sure you respect their religion and don’t force them to drink alcohol. It’s easily available at bars to facilitate tourists, though.


So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Zanzibar and have a great time! Just make sure to follow these 5 cultural/traditional/religious rules and you’re good to go.

While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the Guide to Air Travel in Tanzania.