I am just recently back from my travels in Zanzibar, Tanzania and I wanted to share some helpful tips with you. Mainly about visa’s, yellow fever, malaria tablets, taxes and general info I feel would be handy for your travels here.
*Malaria Tablets are needed when travelling to Zanzibar, I took Malarone and bought them from Asda as they are the cheapest place in the UK to purchase. I had to take one tablet a day before travelling, during my trip and a week after I returned home. Seek advice for all inoculations and Malaria risk online at fitfortravel
*Firstly, on arrival in Zanzibar you are requested to show your yellow fever documents, i.e. your certificate of inoculation or in some cases a letter of exemption can be shown, as long as you can show you have had the yellow fever injection at some point this is fine. Otherwise you will be inoculated at the airport for a fee.
*The Visa into Zanzibar is $50 and can be pre purchased in your own country, however I decided to get mine on arrival in Zanzibar itself. After filling out two forms which you are guided over too at a desk, once filled out with your passport information, accommodation details whilst in Zanzibar and a few details about yourself, job etc. Make your way to pay. I had read it was easier and as long as you had the $50 bill ready to pay, that was the best way. In reality you are asked to pay by card at the visa booth. I paid on a visa card and it was easy and a friendly service. After this head to the other desk for the visa to be checked and placed into your passport, along with you having your finger prints and photo taken. The airport area is small so you won’t get lost. Then you are good to go!
*Luggage, this is waiting for you after you clear the visa area and taxis or transfers are waiting on the road ahead of you.
*Infrastructure Tax is taken once you arrive at your accommodation or hotel and is charged at $1 a night per person.
*Airport Tax is paid at the airport on departure home. This is $49 and paid in cash.
*Water, Stick to drinking bottled water during your stay in Zanzibar, make sure you drink enough to keep hydrated too. As it can be very hot and humid, most tummy problems can be due to lack of fluids rather than food issues.
*Time difference is three hours ahead of GMT, although in British summer time it reduces to two hours.
*Currency is Tanzanian shillings, I took US dollars as they seemed the most popular currency of choice when researching beforehand. This was true, most services, trips and shops are all in US dollars and tipping seems to be preferred in dollars too.
1 US Dollar = 2.100 TZS
1 UK Pound = 3.300 TZS
1 EURO = 2.300 TZS
*Cheetahs Rock is a must whilst visiting Zanzibar. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience, interacting with animals face to face and learning a lot about the place, the animals themselves and wildlife conservation. Pre book online as the groups are limited to 37 people and it’s popular. There is only three afternoon visits a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 2 pm till around 7 pm. Fee is $140 inc transfer from your hotel and back. Well worth it!! A separate blog will follow on Cheetahs Rock soon.
*The Rock, one of the world’s most remote restaurants. I had wanted to visit here for years after seeing it’s picture. It literally is a restaurant on a rock, when the tide is out you can walk to it, however when it is in you get a small boat over. I booked lunch here and enjoyed a cocktail outside on the back terrace beforehand, I would say it is a MUST if you are coming to Zanzibar, again just email to arrange or book online. My full experience will follow in a blog on The Rock.
*Trips can be booked before you arrive, like myself I pre booked the above trips online. However, you can book with your tour operator in resort or the beach boys. I went on a Sunset Cruise through the beach boys for $15 a person and it was very enjoyable.
*Mobiles, Wifi is available in most places, especially resorts and normally free within your stay. What’s App is the best way to keep in touch with people at home with the message and call functions working fine in Zanzibar.
*Swahili, is the national language spoken in Zanzibar. Here are some basic phrases and words!
*Finally from personal opinion the beaches on the North Coast are by far the nicest, with long beaches great for walking, white sands and beautiful blue waters perfect to swim in. I stayed in Nungwi and it was paradise!