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Arusha to Zanzibar: Travel Guide

As we spend our days inside our homes, waiting for travel restrictions to be lifted, a great way for travel lovers to pass time is to plan a wonderful vacation to Tanzania, one of the most gorgeous and spectacular countries in the world. This heavenly region is home to many beautiful tourist locations, such as Arusha, the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mafia Island, and the pristine Zanzibar archipelago. Travelling from Arusha to Zanzibar is an exciting and memorable experience! 


After reaching Arusha through Arusha airport, or by road from Dar Es Salaam, visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of the region, with views of Mount Meru, vivid greenery, and cascading waterfalls. Arusha is home to a variety of exotic flora and fauna, with animals such as the Big 5 (lions, leopards, buffaloes, rhinoceros, elephants), zebras, flamingoes, geese, woodpeckers, warthogs, blue monkeys, giraffes, bushbucks, colobus monkeys, hyenas, and gazelles, as well as lush vegetation such as shade loving plants, tropical palm species, alpine highland vegetation, and colorful flowers. 


Visitors can enjoy cultural tours to nearby villages, where they can meet with locals and have enriching interactions. The Arusha Declaration Museum is a great place for learning about Tanzania’s political, social, and cultural history, and the Natural History Museum can be visited to learn about human evolution. The streets of Arusha offer mouth watering food, including dishes such as biryani, Ugali (porridge), and Nyama Choma (roast meat). Guests can stay in hotels and lodges such as Four Points by Sheraton, Mount Meru Hotel, Zawadi House Lodge, and Viviji Centre Lodge.


Arusha is known as a gateway to many popular locations in Tanzania. The journey from Arusha to Zanzibar is best and shortest by direct flight (1.5 hours), but one could also take a bus ride followed by a ferry (16 hours). Tourists can also take a train to Dar es Salaam, and then the ferry or fly. This allows them to enjoy scenic views coupled to the not always top reliability from the railways and takes much longer.


In Zanzibar, visitors can enjoy the unique food, which is influenced by Indian, Arabic, Turkish, and

Portugese cuisines, with delicacies such as octopus curry, date nut bread, plantain soup, cassava (Muhogo), biryani, omelette (Chipsi Mayai), coconut bean soup, prawns, calamari, tuna, grilled kebabs, Ugali, pulao, and Zanzibar pizza! While the local cuisine is a major part of a region’s culture, it is also essential to learn about the history. Visitors can walk in the winding streets of Stone Town, go to Old Fort, visit the Museum called “Palace of Wonders”, explore the ruins at Prison Island, or interact with friendly locals at Darajani or Forodhani Night Market. 


Zanzibar is well known for its pristine and heavenly beaches. At beaches such as Paje and Nungwi, travellers can enjoy a range of exciting and adventurous activities, such as boat rides, swimming, scuba diving, kiteboarding, kayaking, snorkelling, and even quad bike rides! These beaches are home to many species of marine creatures, such as white moray eels, pufferfish, sea turtles, snakes, lionfish, seahorses, octopuses, chameleons, sea stars, shrimps, humpback whales, cuttlefish, white tip reef shark, and crabs! At Kizimkazi, tourists can swim with humpback and bottlenose dolphins, and at Mnemba Atoll, snorkelling at the colorful coral reef is a unique and beautiful experience. Other beaches such as Kendwa, Pongwe, and Matemwe, are ideal because of their spectacular scenery, with blue water, cloudy skies, breathtaking sunsets, lush greenery and soft white sands!


Both locations are considered safe, and locals are friendly. However, one should still avoid careless behaviour such as travelling alone at night. Days are pleasant and warm, but nights can be chilly, so visitors should carry an extra layer. They should also pack essential items such as batteries, chargers, important documentation, cash, mosquito repellant, necessary medication, and walking shoes. In both Arusha and Zanzibar, visitors should ensure that their behaviour is not offensive or disrespectful towards the local and indigenous populations, such as the Maasai people.


We hope that these tips are helpful in planning a trip from Arusha to Zanzibar!