Zanzibar: Trip Preparation & Destination Information

About Zanzibar


Zanzibar, an island destination on the east coast of Africa, where the beautiful tropical vegetation meets pristine white sand beaches on the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar is uniquely characterized by its multi-cultural roots, including Arab, Indian, European, Chinese, and Persian, which is evident in the distinct and varied architectural styles of its ancient buildings. This distinctive character is also seen in their cuisine, as well as their fabrics, their hand-crafted jewelry, and their furniture. 


Capital City: Zanzibar City

Population: 766,000 (2022 est.)

Time Zone: East Africa Time (GMT+3)

Emergency Number: 112 / 114


Packing List

Speak the Language

Language: Swahili is the official language of Tanzania and therefore, Zanzibar.


  • Hello - Hello
  • Goodbye - Kwaheri
  • Thank you very much - Asante (sana)
  • Do you speak English? - Unaongea kiingereza?
  • I don't understand - Sielewi
  • How are you? - Habari Yako?
  • I'm fine, thank you - Niko sawa, asante
  • What is your name? - Jina lako nani?
  • My name is ____ - Jina langu ni ____
  • Sorry - Samahani
  • Where is the bathroom? - Bafuni iko wapi?


 Google Translate: Download the Google Translate app or click here




Fun Facts

  • Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the band Queen, was born in Zanzibar in 1946. His birth name was Farouk Bulsara.
  • Zanzibar is not one island; it’s a group of islands just off the coast of East Africa. There are two large main islands, Pemba and Unguja – the latter is sometimes informally (and incorrectly) referred to as “Zanzibar”. 
  • The shortest war in history was waged in Zanzibar. The Anglo-Zanzibar War between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate took place on 27 August 1896. It lasted between 38 and 45 minutes before a ceasefire was called. 
  • In 1974, Zanzibar was the first of all African countries to introduce color television. Despite being part of the same republic, mainland Tanzania did not introduce television services until 20 years later due to opposition from the country’s president.
  • The capital of Zanzibar is not Stone Town, as some believe, it’s Zanzibar City. Stone Town is a historic town within Zanzibar City, famed for its labyrinth of narrow streets, historic buildings and ancient spice markets. 
  • Zanzibar is popularly called The Spice Islands, due to its main economic activity after tourism being spice exports – mainly cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper. 
  • Due to its proximity to the Equator, Zanzibar is warm throughout the year and has equal days and nights (12 hours each) like most East African Countries.
  • It is speculated that Zanzibar has been home to humans for at least 20,000 years. Microliths, small tools generally used as spear points in the Later Stone Age, have been discovered in the area, which suggests the presence of ancient inhabitants.


Tipping Suggestions: Tips for Guides, drivers and restaurants are not included. Tips provide supplemental income, and, while not mandatory, are greatly appreciated. If the local teams have added to the experience, please reward them.

Guides USD $3-4 per person/per day
Drivers USD $3-4 per person/per day
Restaurants  USD $3-4 per person/per day



Where can I find information on travel safety? Check out the US Department of State's website for the most up-to-date information on safety while traveling.


Is the water safe to drink? The tap water in Zanzibar is chlorinated and local people drink it without problems. However, there are some strains of local E. coli, which may affect foreigners. Therefore, it is better to be safe when traveling across the island and stick to bottled water. Which is widely available across the island.


Do I need a Visa? For Visa information, click here. Make sure to also check that your passport isn't expired or about to expire.


What about vaccines? For Vaccination information, click here.


Do you recommend travel insurance? While not required, we highly recommend all travelers get travel insurance for their trip to protect themselves from the unknown! Check out travel insurance options from our partner,, or from a provider of your choice.


How much should I pack? As we will be using shared transfers and spaces throughout our tour we recommend all travelers pack as lightly as possible. Please review our luggage restrictions below.


What does public transportation look like? There is no official public transportation in Zanzibar but there are many ways to get around easily and cheaply. Locals use a Dala-Dala, an open-air truck with seats that can be very crowded but cheap. Mini-buses are available; you can get timetables at the hotels.


Is Uber or Lyft available?  Uber nor Lyft are available, it's recommended to pre-book taxis online with set rates is the best way to ensure fair prices.

Luggage Restrictions

Luggage Restrictions purple
Luggage restrictions purple – mobile – 1

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