New rules to follow in Zanzibar – Zanzibar Code of Conduct
Zanzibar is a beautiful group of islands off the coast of Tanzania. It’s known for having picturesque beaches, crystal clear water, exotic wildlife, and rich culture. Zanzibar is a welcoming, friendly, and exciting tourist destination. However, before visiting Zanzibar, it is essential to read the Code of Conduct, designed by the Government to protect the wildlife, reserves, people and ensure that tourists can understand and respect the local culture.
We will cover the essential points from the Code of Conduct here. You can get a complete copy of the Code of Conduct from Zanzibar’s tourism website or request a copy from your tour guide/hotel.
The people of Zanzibar are conservative and appreciate tourists that cover their knees and shoulders. The local authorities can impose fines if you do not dress accordingly. You can easily purchase comfortable clothes from the Stone Town market if you don’t have the appropriate clothing. The Government is not out to get your money. They only want you to respect the local culture and traditions of Zanzibar.
Interacting with Children
Although you may want to interact with the local children in the markets, the Government has prohibited any form of communication without the children’s parents present. You cannot take any pictures without consent, give them candy, or even donate money directly to children.
Behaviour in Public
In public, it is considered inappropriate to show affection towards your partner. The people of Zanzibar appreciate modesty and like to maintain ethical conduct towards their partner in public. Tourists are also encouraged not to be too affectionate with one another out in public.
Taking/buying seashells as a memoir for your diving expedition may not seem like a misdemeanour. However, the Government wants to preserve the natural beauty of Zanzibar and protect it from mass-tourism. It is not permitted to take or buy seashells or any other type of natural resource. One of the Code of Conduct’s primary aims and implications is to protect Zanzibar’s natural wildlife and habitats.
The mosques in Zanzibar have picturesque architecture, and the backdrops are perfect for amazing photographs. You may want to pull out your camera/smartphone and start clicking away. However, the Government has strictly prohibited taking pictures of mosques or any other religious site. Furthermore, if you are a non-Muslim, you will not be allowed entry inside the mosque.
In continuation of the previous point, there are certain places in Zanzibar where you need to request permission to take photos. You also need to request permission if you are going to photograph locals.
Several reserves and protected areas require permits and approvals for entry. The Code of Conduct lists down all areas that require permits. For more information on these permits, please discuss them with your tour guide/hotel.
Laws and Regulations
The Code of Conduct also mentions specific laws and regulations that tourist should know and understand. It is important to behave according to the local laws and respect the authorities.
The Government’s intention with the Code of Conduct is to promote culture and protect its heritage. It is also designed to promote tourism (there is a separate section written for tour guides to ensure they do not take advantage of tourists). Please read the Code of Conduct, respect the culture and traditions, and you will be welcomed warmly.