As I write this, travel is restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it has been announced that borders will be reopening in June, so read on. Meanwhile, why not enjoy planning an exciting and fun filled vacation? One of the best spots in East Africa is the gorgeous Zanzibar archipelago. Home to beautiful landscapes, pristine beaches, rich culture, heritage, and cuisine, and friendly locals, this breathtaking island is the best location to visit once the pandemic is over and restrictions are limited. Here are some exclusive travel tips that you must consider while planning an unforgettable trip to Zanzibar!
Getting there is easy, as tourists can get a ferry or plane from Dar es Salaam. Many international airlines fly direct into Zanzibar International Airport as well. From Dar, the ferry is a little cheaper, modern, comfortable, and the journey takes about two hours. The flight is less than 20 minutes.
As Zanzibar is often added on to a safari (bush-beach) there are many flights from Arusha, the safari gateway.
The mouth watering cuisine is influenced by Arabic, Indian, Portugese, Turkish, and African styles. The food contains spices such as cardamom, turmeric, cloves, lemongrass, cumin, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Drinks such as ginger tea, and sugarcane juice are popular. People can try rice dishes such as pulao and biryani, and having a Zanzibar pizza is crucial for the trip! Local foods such as octopus curry, plantain soup (Mtori), date nut bread, chapati, omelette (Chipsi Mayai), seafood, coconut bean soup, grilled kebabs, porridge (Uji), cassava (Muhogo), donuts (Mandazi), and Ugali, are found in restaurants, and food streets (such as Forodhani), which are a must see, especially at night!
The scenic island is home to some of the most beautiful and serene beaches in the world.
Nungwi Beach is perfect for exciting activities like swimming, diving, kitesurfing, and boat rides! Visitors can spot turtles, chameleons, snakes, crocodiles, dik diks, and monkeys!
Offering spectacular scenery, Matemwe is ideal for swimming and exploring.
Secluded due to its rocky bed, Pongwe is perfect for those who wish to escape the crowds. This beach is best for unwinding, and tourists can walk in the shallow water.
Michamvi / Jambiani Beach is known for The Rock restaurant, which is internationally famous for its unique location and great food. .
Paje Beach offers views of beautiful sunsets, crystalline waters, and white sands. Tourists can relax, swim, eat seafood, or enjoy kayaking, snorkelling, kiteboarding, and scuba diving.
Perfect for swimming with bottlenose and humpback dolphins, Kizimkazi is a peaceful and stunning beach. Here, tourists can also explore the Miza Miza caves.
The heavenly Mnemba Atoll is home to a stunning reef, and colorful marine creatures such as white moray eel, sea stars, and pufferfish. Visitors can enjoy diving and snorkelling.
Swahili time works differently from our usual ways. People count time from sunrise, not midnight. An easy way to cope is to specify morning, afternoon, or evening, when setting up meetings.
Zanzibar is considered safe for tourists, but one should be prudent to take necessary precautions, such as carrying a phone, not travelling alone at night, ensuring that they book reliable transport and accommodation, and always carrying a map and important documentation. One should not explore the beaches alone at night, but Stone Town is safe, and bustling all day long.
Tourists can easily find comfortable and luxurious resorts, hotels, retreats, and lodges. Bookings should be done beforehand (online), to avoid any inconvenience. Tulia Zanzibar Beach Resort, Jua Retreat, Kichanga Lodge, Hekaya, Shanuo, DoubleTree by Hilton, Mnarani Beach Cottages, Hotel Verde, and Serena are some famous spots!
Where To Go
Stone Town and its Swahili architecture offers an insight into the history of Zanzibar, and exploring its winding streets can be an enriching experience. Tourists can visit the Old Fort, National Museum, and find ancient ruins at Prison Island. At the tranquil Jozani Forest, guests can spot antelopes, bush pigs, red colobus monkeys, chameleons, and forty species of birds. A spice tour at Kidichi is a great idea, and travellers can enjoy a dhow trip, or visit the butterfly centre!
As the island is primarily Muslim, visitors should be careful that their behaviours are not offensive or inappropriate. One should avoid drinking in public, and should try to dress modestly.
Swahili is an easy language, so tourists should try to learn a few basic words and phrases, such as greetings and important questions. As most locals are Muslim, one could also say Selam!
We hope you can enjoy an exciting, memorable, and fun filled vacation in Zanzibar!