Zanzibar is a small island with a wealth of history and culture. The people are predominantly Muslim and this must be respected, particularly during the months of Ramadam.
Kiswhahili (Swahili) and English are the official languages – although most local people speak or understand English. Swahili is also relatively easy to pick up and by no time you will be saying ‘Jambo’ which is the standard ‘hello’. There is also a strong Italian influence with many locals being able to speak a basic version of this.
The tropical climate means that you never need to pack the ‘winter warmers’ and can get by with light cottons and perhaps a sweater for the cooler months from June to September. Sirongs (kikoi) is recommended and you can easily buy them throughout the island. Although beach ware is recommended, please respect the Muslim culture and have more substantial clothing in the form of dresses for the ladies or shorts and t-shirts for the men when not on the beach. Nudity on the beaches is not allowed.
All visitors to Tanzania must be in possession of a full passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the intended stay. Different visa regulations are applied according to Nationality and Country of Origin and these should be checked with the nearest Tanzania Tourist Office or Diplomatic Mission. Although visas can be obtained on arrival, it is recommended that they be obtained in advance in order to avoid delays on arrival.
Yellow Fever vaccination Certificates are required for entry into Tanzania if travelling from or through infected areas (even if in transit only). Visitors to Tanzania are strongly advised to take anti-malaria medication according to prescription recommendations, and to use strong insect repellents. Polio and Tetanus boosters should be up-to-date, and Typhoid and Hepatitis inoculations are recommended. As medical requirements and advice change from time-to-time, the family doctor and local travel clinic should be consulted about current information on health regulations and recommendations. This should be done well in advance, as some injections need to be administered several weeks apart. Due to the proximity to the Equator, the sun’s rays are deceptively strong and sunburn is a risk even on a cloudy day. High factor sun lotions / sunblock, a hat and sunglasses are strongly recommended. As prescribed medications can be difficult to obtain, sufficient supplies should be carried in hand luggage. For those that wear glasses or contact lenses, spare pairs are invaluable.
Unless otherwise specified in your documents, Tanzania international departure tax (US$40.00) and domestic flight tax (Tsh 5000/- or US$5.00), are now included in the air tickets.
Voltage in Tanzania is 240 volts, and plugs are generally square 3-pin UK style. In some properties power is only available in the early morning and evening, and some do not have power points in the rooms/tents. Where power points are not available, there will be charging facilities for cameras, phones and computers in the main areas.
All major credit cards are accepted at the hotels and resorts, however we do recommend to have some US$ cash on hand to as if buying anything from the local crafters you would need cash. Avoid the large demonstrations of the US$50 and US$100 bills as these are less favoured due to the high amount of counterfeits. Never exchange money from a person off the street – even if you offered a good exchange, you are bound to be left short changed… You can draw money from bank machines and will receive cash in local Tanzanian Shillings.
Zanzibar is a true African island and most things happen in ‘African time’ – or in this case island time! The pace is relaxed and the locals are friendly and always have a spare smile for you. They may not be as quick as Europeans have become accustomed to, but they all have your best interest at heart and will show you an amazing time – at their pace! Enjoy it, this is a very special island to escape to!