Zanzibar is a paradise island belonging to Tanzania and washed on all sides by the warm Indian Ocean, with the same capital. These are the most endless beaches with white sand and incredible turquoise water. It has enchanting nature and a fascinating local flavor.
Zanzibar is also suitable for adventure seekers who want walks through the jungle, island tours, diving, and kitesurfing. Travelers who long for a quiet, peaceful holiday – the island has a very calm and relaxing atmosphere.
Until now, at the mention of Zanzibar, many people would ask the question, is it dangerous to go there? It’s time to put aside stereotypes because today Zanzibar is a civilized and very peaceful place where you and your vacation are not in danger. Instead, you will find modern hotels, cafes and restaurants, plenty of entertainment, combined with amazing nature, warm ocean and good-natured local people – that’s what awaits you in Zanzibar.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN ZANZIBAR
• Water Adventures likediving, snorkeling, kitesurfing
• Fishing – There are fishing trips, including excursions to fishing villages, of which there are many, where you can not only find your catch for dinner, but also meet some of the local sea animals.
• Sea cruises and excursions – One of the main activities in Zanzibar are all kinds of boat trips and excursions. Where to go?Spice Island, where they grow spices, tropical fruits, medicinal herbs, and all this, of course, you can try; the bay with dolphins, where you can swim with them; Boribi reef for diving enthusiasts; as well as farm turtles, seaweed, walks to neighboring islands and much more.
• Immerse into the jungles – Wildlife lovers waiting for the national park “Forest Jozani” – one of the main attractions of Zanzibar. This is a rainforest, jungle with mangroves, where monkeys sit on the branches, leopards are found and snakes crawling. You can visit the mainland and go on safari where you will see lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, hyenas, zebras, rhinos, baboons, flamingos and many other animals in their natural habitat can be found in the parks of Tanzania.
• Watch giant tortoises – One of the most interesting places on Zanzibar is Prison Island. Yes, yes, a high security prison. At least it was before. And today it is a beautiful island where giant turtles live, on which you can not only watch but also touch the animals. Of the surviving prison buildings on the island, they made a “prison hotel” and a “prison restaurant,” and local guides will tell you about the dark past of the island.
• Visit Stone Town, the calling card of the city of Zanzibar, its ancient part, listed under the protection of UNESCO. Cathedrals, mosques, the Arabian fort and the People’s Palace, the house museum of David Livingstone and much more can be found on the old streets of Zanzibar, a walk through which does not take much time.
• Get familiar with the slave cave: the inhabitants of the island do not forget about the dark past of the country, and therefore to this day you can visit and see the terrifying places where slaves were once kept and sold.
• “House of Wonders” – previously it was the residence of the last Sultan of Zanzibar, then the ceremonial palace settled here. And today it is the Museum of History and Culture – a place where you can find out everything that interests you about Zanzibar.
• Freddie Mercury’s apartment number is quite an unknown place, but the world famous musician Freddie Mercury was born and spent his childhood in Zanzibar. And today the place where he lived is one of the main “chips” of the city. Although it was turned into a hotel, where everyone can stay at a very substantial price, anyone can go there.
TYPICAL COSTS WHEN TRAVELLING
Accommodation – Like any exotic island, Zanzibar, in addition to standard hotels and complexes, can offer loggias and bungalows off the coast of the ocean. It is worth the pleasure of $23 a night for two, but there are also elite complexes with bungalows for connoisseurs of a wilder, but still comfortable rest, they will have to pay for thatched roof overhead from $115 and more.
Double rooms in guesthouses, cheap hotels and lodges – from $40 (and the price includes transfer from the airport!), Many of them, which is important, are also located off the coast of the ocean. 5 star hotels are in no way inferior to those that can be seen at popular resorts, neither in service nor in price, the two of you can stay from $ 190 (per night).
For those who would like to save on accommodation, there are hostels and campgrounds priced from $17 per night.
Food – The prices of dishes depend on where you are going to eat. Dinner for two at a good restaurant on the coast will cost from $65- $70, and you can have dinner at a small cafe with drinks for $15-30. Economy lovers can buy food in the markets, as far as fruits and spices, it is really profitable. However, you may want to avoid purchasing fish or poultry on the market, as they are kept there in utter insanitary conditions.
Transportation – A network of bus routes connects all the main villages of the island. The fare is $1.30. As a rule, from any village, you can go by bus to Stone Town, there you can transfer to another bus and get to the desired point. Since the standard of living is extremely low, not even Dala-Dala is affordable. Most inhabitants of the island use bicycles as the main mode of transport, as well as carry cargo on it.
Suggested daily budget is nearly 80 USD. Apart from accommodation and catering, let’s take into consideration the numerous excursions and entertainments. Particularly, a tour of the central old part of the city of Zanzibar with a guide will cost $20 – 2-3 hours. Sea excursion walks and fishing – from $50, long walks with visits to several islands, with swimming and farm trips – from $200.Diving &snorkeling: the average cost of one dive is from $45, night diving is from $50, kite surfing can be from $60.
MONEY SAVING TIPS
1 Choose a taxi. Taxi is the most convenient and common form of transport in Zanzibar. And of course the most expensive. To make the price more or less adequate, it is recommendedto negotiate with the taxi drivers. They will always give you a better price than a bunch of middlemen on the beach.
2 Be aware of currency: Since on Zanzibar island, the dollar goes on a par with shillings and there are many places where you can pay with either. The bargaining for a taxi usually comes in dollars. For example, you agreed on the price for a trip of $40, payment is always at the end of the trip.
Arriving at the end point, say that you will pay with shillings. And almost always the taxi driver will tell you the cost of a trip at the rate of 2000 shillings per dollar, when the exchange rate is 2200. Here you have an additional 10% savings on level ground.
3 Eat out in the places for locals. There are restaurants for tourists located on the beach. There are restaurants that are in the depths of the island, and there are pubs for local, there are even shops and street fast food.
4 Beattentivewhilechoosingahotel. The average price of a hotel on the first line on the island is about $80. But there are hotels where rooms cost 30-50 dollars per day, and in terms of quality they are no worse than more expensive hotels.
ON THE SCENE?
Do not expect that in Zanzibar you will hang out in stunning nightclubs and lead a vibrant nightlife. In this regard, it is quite deaf. Zanzibar, rather, is for people who love relaxing, outdoor recreation, for example, for couples who want to relax on the beach, boat trips and romance.
With the annual increase in the number of tourists visiting the island, the nightlife in Zanzibar Town is increasing. Some bars are focused exclusively on tourists, and some on migrants from the mainland. The local residents mostly preach Islam and therefore do not drink alcohol. Usually, there are Tanzanian, Kenyan, South African and international beers in the assortment of clubs and bars, as well as local and imported stronger drinks. Wines are served mainly South African. Many large hotels have separate bars open to the public.
A visit to Zanzibar can be considered inferior, if you do not look at the Sunset Bar in the historic Hotel Africa House. People come here to admire the sunset over a glass of something hot from the beginning of colonial times. You can take a table on the beautiful terrace or in a more refined room. Especially in this bar, the traditional hookah, also known as the hook, is popular among Tanzanians and more adventurous tourists.
Somewhat cheaper places to watch the sunset, unlike the African House, are the already mentioned Livingstone’s and Mercury’s restaurants with a wide range of cocktails, beer and wine. Both of them sometimes play music bands, and Queen’s vocalist bar-namesake also provides an excellent platform for watching the local people play beach soccer.
Also for evening gatherings, perfect wine tapas bar, Taperia, located directly above the historic building of the post office. Tasty wine, beer and snacks along with friendly staff, a favorable location and a cheerful atmosphere made this place a popular party venue.
Another interesting place for evening-night entertainment, Tatu, has three floors: on the first you will find a well-stocked pub, on the second – a small restaurant with a billiard table available, and on the roof – a cocktail bar, offering a spectacular view of the ocean. Great music plays here, you can dance and mingle with Tanzanians.
As for nightclubs, you can have fun before dawn in the place Dharma Lounge, which has a huge dance floor and excellent music.
Discos are also organized in the territories of some hotels, including the Bwawani Hotel and the Zanzibar Safari Club.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, in the evenings, the Monsoon restaurant hosts concerts of national taarab music. In general, there are no specific venues in Zanzibar Town, however, local musicians from different directions – from traditional taarab to afro pop and rap – often perform in bars and restaurants in the city. To find out what event is planned, ask at your hotel or look for posters on the streets.
The Arabian Fort is another good venue for performing performances, mainly with traditional music and dance performances accompanied by the ngoma ethnic drums (on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). Sometimes modern shows also take place here.
Moreover, national motives along with dances and drums can be seen and heard in the local music academy performed by local students. In addition, the academy scene accepts jazz musicians and musicians of modern genres.