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Zanzibar

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Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago off the coast of Tanzania consisting of Zanzibar Island (locally, Unguja), Pemba Island and many smaller islands. Zanzibar island itself is approximately 90km long and 30km wide.

A view over Stone Town from the sea

In 1896, Zanzibar was the location of the world's shortest war, surrendering to Britain after 38 minutes of naval bombardment.

Cities[edit]

  • Stone Town – the vibrant and enchanting capital
  • Nungwi – a popular small resort town on the northern tip of the island
  • Kendwa – a small fishing village a couple of miles from Nungwi, a great place for reading on the beach or scuba diving
  • Matemwe – a small traditional village in the North East.
  • Paje – a small village on the East coast known for excellent kiteboarding conditions
  • Jambiani – a small fishing village on the southeast coast
  • Uroa Village – a small fishing village on the east coast with resorts on the northern and southern side
  • Chwaka Village – largest village on Chwaka Bay. Fish market and small stores.

Get in[edit]

Map of Zanzibar

Visa[edit]

No visa is required for stays of less than 3 months for citizens of Namibia, Romania, Rwanda, Hong Kong, Malaysia and all commonwealth member states (except the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Nigeria, India & South Africa). A Tourist Visa costs US$50 for a three-month single entry or US$100 for a three-month double entry visa. The visa can be obtained upon arrival. Having the cash handy when obtaining the form might accelerated the process as depending on the officer filling it out will no longer be required. Do carry your certificate of yellow fever vaccination with you upon arrival as this might be checked.Visas are valid for the duration from the date of issuance. However, obtaining a visa before arrival is highly recommended. Holders of a US passport can only obtain a USD100 multiple-entry visa due to a policy of reciprocity by Tanzania (which can be purchased on arrival). US travellers departing from the US can pay USD20 for a rush service from the Tanzanian embassy, which takes three working days. The website of Tanzania's Embassy in the US gives the current requirements. Visas may also be obtained from any of Tanzania's diplomatic mission abroad.

By Boat[edit]

There are many ferries and catamarans that can take you between Dar es Salaam and the Island. Azam Marine,Sea Express, Sea Star, Seagull Kilimanjaro and Sepideh Megaspeed Liners are among the nicest available. Azam runs at 14:30 and 16:15 on weekdays and Sea Express at 07:30 daily. Fares range USD35 to USD40 for non-residents, including a $5 Port Tax. First class is only USD5 more expensive than economy and certainly worth the money. Most ferries schedules allow you to do the return trip the same day. For instance leave Dar es Salaam at 07:30 and return from Zanzibar on the 16:30 ferry. That leaves plenty of time to explore the Stone Town, the museum and have a nice lunch. The trip is beautiful and lasts about two hours approximately. However, if the weather is bad it can take much longer and the trip can be very unpleasant. If you suffer from seasickness you are advised to take some anti-seasickness pills prior to boarding. The on board personnel hands out free sickness bags at the start of the journey. Flying Horse makes the same journey for USD20. However, it will take around 4.5 hours whereas the others take 1.5 hours.

You may be able to hire a private boat for cheaper, but the trip will take considerably longer and unless you know something about boats, you could be on a vessel that is not equipped for bad weather conditions or an emergency. Remember: you get what you pay for.

Be aware that the "porters" at the Dar ferry terminal will hassle you for money and expect tips for referring you to "the best boat." If you don't want their help, be forceful. Touts will tell you anything to get you to use a service which pays them commission, and scam you in any way they can. They will say the company kiosk you are heading towards only goes to mainland destinations (when they do service Zanzibar), they will say their service is a 90min ferry (when it actually takes over 2 hours), they will quote you a price for first class tickets (but issue "e/c" economy tickets and pocket the difference), they will sell you a return ticket (leaving you to later find out it is actually only valid for return travel with a different, cheaper company and the seller has pocketed the difference). The dock is a zoo -- a prime hangout for pickpockets.

Passport. Although Zanzibar is part of the Union it maintains its own immigration service and you need to have a valid passport to enter, even if you come from mainland Tanzania. This farcically means you must fill out a Tanzania arrival card for your arrival in Stone Town, and a Tanzania departure card when you leave.

By plane[edit]

International flights direct to Zanzibar are offered by Ethiopian Air, Oman Air and Jetair. Other international airlines fly to Dar es Salaam. Several local airlines offer flights from Dar to Zanzibar (15 minutes): Precision Air, ZanAir, Coastal Aviation, Tropical Air, Flightlink Air Charters, Fly540, to mention a few Tanzania scheduled and charter operators.

A departure tax is applicable for domestic flights from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam. International flight fares (may) include the departure tax.

Taxi[edit]

There are a number of taxis waiting for passengers when you exit the terminal. Despite having a "list" of prices for the various tourist destinations on the island, prices are negotiable. Although you can arrange a pick up at the airport with your hotel or tour company, even a little negotiating will get you a better price than the inflated one quoted by most hotels. However, some Stone Town hotels do offer free shuttle service from the airport.

Get around[edit]

Getting around on the island: Cheapest way is the dala-dala, it costs about USD1.50 per person to get from Stone Town to the north, east or south coast. Shared taxis operate from Stone Town for $10 per person. Regular taxis from Stone Town to any coastal area in Zanzibar are USD50 (minibus taxis up to 6 people).

Car rental in Zanzibar: Make sure you chose a car rental company with excellent reviews. Rental cars in Zanzibar are in general about 15-20 years old with very low mileage - remember this is a small island. Therefore make sure you choose a rental car company that offers regularly serviced cars! Some of the car rental companies offer cars in bad conditions and don't have a backup/exchange service - it will be up to you to fix the car.

Even a one day and one way car hire may make sense, as the car can be delivered to and picked up from your hotels in the morning and evening. E.g. Nungwi to Stone Town (USD30 for a small 4x4 Escudo).

There are many police checks on the roads. So make sure you have your driving licence, the temporary Zanzibar drivers permit, and the car insurance sticker on the windscreen. Also check that the rental car is roadworthy and the police will wave you through with a kind jambo. The temporary Zanzibar drivers permit can be obtained from local authorities. However, if you ask your car rental company in advance, they should be able to get it for you and deliver it with the car. They probably need a photocopy of your home driving licence (a photo sent via e-mail should also work). Expect to pay about TZS16,000 for the licence.

  • A rental company with consistently excellent reviews and a free breakdown service is www.kibabucars.com Their cars are in very good condition and regularly serviced. Kibabu Cars is based in Stone Town. They deliver their cars free of charge to the airport, 24/7, and collect the cars again from the airport. They also organize the temporary Zanzibar drivers permit before one arrives in Zanzibar. An international drivers license is not valid in Zanzibar.

Hotels are happy to arrange a taxi or rental car for you although they might add some (sometimes: a lot) commission to the price.

Private transportation: You can hire a private car (including driver) to get you around. E.g. an Airport transfer to Nungwi can be had for TZS65,000 (and less) and is a relaxing option. A hotel may charge USD60 for that.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Zanzibar Island, a.k.a., The Spice Island, was an important stop in the Spice Trade centuries ago. Today, it is one of the few places in the world where saffron is produced, and many other Middle Eastern/Asian spices (cardamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, etc.) are grown here. Around USD25-$30 per person you can go on a spice tour, which winds you around the island, showing you how anise grows; letting you sample some of the exotic fruit grown on the island; and allowing you to tour the beautiful plantations. Be careful when buying spices or teas at these plantations, they may use deceptive packaging to fake the depth of "variety packs".
  • Jozani Forest has excellent nature trails, featuring some very exotic (and large) trees. Even more interesting, though, are the Red Colobus Monkeys that live here. Native to the Island, these monkeys are now nearly extinct. They are very curious and playful and will likely pose for a picture. The entry fee (USD10) also include an optional visit to a beautiful mangrove forest which is highly recommended. Be aware that the guides sometimes try to shorten the trip so they have less work; insist on what you paid for. The bus from Zanzibar Town is TZS2000 as of July 2014. If the bus drivers want to give you a special (i.e. rip off) price, tell them that you pay with the conductor as every one else does.
  • There are a number of historically important (and frankly, just plain beautiful) buildings in Stone Town, like The House of Wonders and The Arab Fort. It is easy to arrange a simple walking tour with a local guide who can teach you some history.
  • The market in Stone Town is one of the largest, most vibrant open-air markets anywhere. Here, you can find several varieties of bananas, "elephant garlic" unique to the island, the largest avocados you'll probably ever see, and more. Prices are extremely reasonable. Even if you have no intentions of purchasing food, the spectacle alone is worth a visit. If seeing raw meat and fish covered in flies makes you squeamish, avoid that part of the market. Overall, pretty much all food that is not packaged in plastic is covered in flies.
  • Seaweed Center (Seaweed industry development project), (Paje, East Coast, Zanzibar), +255 772 37-18-44, [1]. 3% of the world's commercial harvest of Seaweed is taking place in Zanzibar island. The industry has ~15,000 women seaweed farmers. The Seaweed Center is a socially responsible business that provides female seaweed farmers in Paje, Zanzibar with opportunities to improve their personal standards of living and develop economic activities that benefit the entire community. The project comprises a factory and gathering site to produce soaps and creams from seaweed that are sold locally and begin to be distributed throughout East Africa. Tours are available, showing the life of seaweed women, the work and the value added activities. (-6.259426,39.533966) edit

Do[edit][add listing]

There are a lot of things to do on Zanzibar Island. It just depends on where your interests lie.

  • Stone Town
  • The inner city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, is a most unique city. Blending Moorish, Middle Eastern, Indian, and African traditions and architectures, it is possible to spend days winding through Stone Town's labyrinthine alleys. That said, a day will give you plenty of insight. The inner city is small and can easily be explored by foot. It is estimated that 85% of the historic building fabric (coral stone) of Stone Town is irredeemably lost. Only very few of the old magnificent buildings shine brightly, i.e. if they have been converted to (boutique) hotels, clubs, or restaurants. Most buildings are in bad shape and the rough sea climate has taken its toll on the structure.
  • While in Stone Town, you can shop for souvenirs, drink the occasional tea, or visit the few city's historic sites. Be aware that -being close to the equator- even the little alleys may offer little shade/protection from the sun. Water is also important and can be bought in plenty of stores along the narrow streets.
  • The House of Wonders is currently closed due to reconstruction work (Oct 2014). It carries this name because it was the first house in Stone Town to have electricity, running water, and an elevator.
  • Former Slave Market (Entry fee is TZS7,000 - this fee includes a guide (Oct 2014), who you may or may not tip). This is the site of the old Slave Market. The museum only consists of slave chambers (one for 50 men and one for 75 women and children), a memorial, and an Anglican Church built on the site of the tree that served as whipping post. Unfortunately it provides only very few information on the history of the building or slave trade in Zanzibar. Apart from the slave chambers nothing is left, as a hospital has been built into the old market. However, you can go into the holding chambers in the cellar to see how this wretched piece of history played itself out in small dark dungeon-type cells. The property was purchased by Dr David Livingstone (one of the biggest proponents of the abolishment of slavery) who wanted to turn the grounds into a haven after the atrocities committed there by the Oman Arab and British slave traders.
  • In the tourist areas around the waterfront, Kenyatta Road and Shangani Road, you will be beset by all manner of papasi, touts and others wanting to offer you taxis, spice tours, music, gifts, etc. A polite but firm No, thanks usually doesn't do the trick, and can get exhausting. Best thing to do here is to keep walking and wander into the more residential alleys where you won't be disturbed.
  • Fahari Zanzibar, 62 Kenyatta Road (near Shanghani Post Office), [2]. Fahari Zanzibar is a Social Enterprise, registered as an NGO, making high quality bags, jewellery and accessories. Visit the large open workshop & school on Kenyatta Road, where you can watch bags, jewellery and other accessories being skillfully manufactured and buy directly from the women producers. By buying from Fahari, you will be receiving an exceptional, original product whilst supporting local women build a sustainable future.  edit
  • Around Stone Town
  • Spice tours are being offered by many companies, they take you out to a spice farm, where your guide will show you how things like cinnamon, jack fruit and kukurma are grown, and will let you taste most of them. Be wary of buying them on the street, in which case the tout might just take your money without a booking. Another common scam is for a tout to follow you into (or give you directions to) the office, in which case the tour price will change from USD10-15, with you paying the commission.
  • If you have a car you can just drive to the Kizimbani area yourself, where plenty(!) spice tours are offered. Again, depending on your bargaining skills you may be able to get it for TZS22,500 (two persons) plus the tips (6000).
  • Nungwi
  • Deep Sea Fishing with " Hooked on Fishing" in Nungwi in the North Coast.
  • Kitesurf at the Ras Nungwi beach with [www.kiteboardingzanzibar.com]. Full equipment rental runs USD60 (half day) and USD90 (full day). Lessons can be booked (Group introduction of 3 hours at USD165 and private lessons (1h) at USD90). They also offer Kendwa beach and Matemwe kite beach.
  • The East Beaches are popular among travellers. The sand is brilliant white, and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean are a deep teal. Here, you can:
  • Find plenty of opportunities for scuba diving; Rising Sun Dive Center [3] (based at the Breezes beach resort, Kizimkazi Dolphin Tour For $25-$35 You can take this beautiful (but not necessarily moral) tour. This includes a ride from Stone Town to the village of Kizimkazi in the south tip of the island, a few hours boat tour that includes snorkelling and chasing dolphins, local lunch, nap on the beach and an optional tour to Jozani Forest (see above). The full tours leaves town at 08:00 and returns at 17:00 - a complete day of fun and a very memorable experience, especially for the dolphins.
  • Do not miss out on one of the best dives in East Africa.Spanish Dancer Divers [4] arrange daily trips to the famous Mnemba Atoll Marine Park for divers and snorkelers. Mnemba Atoll is known for having clear warm waters. Dolphin and Green Turtle encounters are very common, though not guaranteed.
  • Arrange for a ride on a local's dhow (a carved, wooden boat).
  • Sit and stare at the water for hours on end.
  • Kitesurf is a popular sport in Paje Beach, where the crystalline lagoon waters and reef protection offer ideal conditions for both advanced and beginner kitesurfers. At full moon the lagoon maybe very full and conditions may be suboptimal. Zanzibar Kite Paradise [5] offers beginning classes as well as rentals.
  • Kendwa Beach on the North Western coast is beautiful. Here you can swim during low and high tide, which is not always possible on the East side of the island. Just beware of the "Sea Urchins" that give a powerful sting if stepped upon during low tide. Kendwa offers lots of beach bars and restaurants serving everything from pizza to local curries. Kendwa Beach is also known for the Full Moon Party, arranged Saturdays just before or after a full moon. While not as big or extreme as those arranged in Thailand, the parties on Zanzibar attract quite a large group of people, especially when the full moon coincides with public holidays in Europe and North America (eg Easter and Christmas).
  • Africa house in the stone town was the old English club and explorers like Livingstone and Stanley relaxed in the bar and billiards rooms before exploring the main land. The billiards room now is an Arabic shisha smoking lounge.
  • Elefant Tours (GRodt Tours & Experiences), +27 21 852 6628, [6]. Elefant Tours is a member of Adventure Travel Trade Association and offers various overland tours on Zanzibar.  edit
  • Zanzibar Butterfly Centre, Pete village (1km before Jozani Forest Park), [7]. 09:00-17:00. The Zanzibar Butterfly Centre (ZBC) is a community and environmental project located in Pete village next to Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park. ZBC has trained local people from the Pete community to farm the butterflies sustainably and buys their pupae for the netted garden. Revenue generated by tourist admissions supports ZBC with the project’s aims of poverty alleviation and conservation of the local forest. ZBC provides visitors with a unique and fascinating opportunity to learn about all the different butterfly life cycle stages close up in one of Africa's largest butterfly exhibits. Visitors can enjoy an interactive tour with one of the knowledgeable guides in the tropical garden where hundreds of butterflies, all of which are native species to Zanzibar, fly freely. USD5 per person. USD5.  edit
  • Menai Bay Conservation Area Snorkel Excursions (Fumba Water Sports), Fumba (25 minutes south of Zanzibar airport), +25 5 774878701, [8]. Menai Bay Conservation Area in the southwest side region holds very pristine and colourful coral reef systems with abundant sea life. Take a morning trip out to snorkel or dive in a traditional Swahili dhow then come back to an all inclusive lunch from Fumba Beach Lodge. USD45-95. (-6:317346,39.277298) edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Zanzibar currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), which was being exchanged at a rate of around €1 = TZS2084 or USD1 = TZS1650 in October 2014.

At the beach resorts, US dollars or euros are accepted but at a bad exchange rate. Best is to exchange some euro or dollars in Stone Town (best rates are given for 50 and 100 notes). ATMs are only in Stone Town where one can draw Tanzanian shillings against credit cards. There are NO ATMs outside Stone Town, not even at tourist centres like Nungwi! Credit cards are only accepted by the larger hotels and a few stores in Stone Town. Travellers cheques are not accepted in Zanzibar. There is an ATM at the Zanzibar Airport, however, it is mostly out of service.

Stone Town is a one-stop-souvenir-shopping for the traveler. You can find beautiful textiles, handmade jewelry, intricate wood or stone carvings, spices, knick-knacks, and the list goes on and on . . . Do haggle! It is part of the sales process and is expected and loved by the sellers. Start with half the price they are asking and work your way up to a price you find acceptable.

The curio market can be found next to the food market. Here you will find all the gifts you may want to take back to friends and loved ones. Do not buy the first thing you see. First take a walk through the market, and you will see prices get progressively less. You must always haggle and bargain with the vendors or try to set the prices off against each other. This is their way of doing business and it also ensures that you get the best price.

Please don't buy any shells, it is prohibited to take shells or sand for that matter out of Zanzibar. Any ebony products are fake (from Kenya and other African countries); besides that, ebony products shouldn't be purchased anyway.

If you want to hire a guide, ask your hotel to recommend one. If you opt to chose one of the many guides offering their services in Stone Town, arrange for the fee upfront. Be aware that he most probably will only bring you to shops where he gets a commission.

At the south east coast, you find community projects to support the local women like Jenga in Pingwe/Michamvi with beautiful handmade clothing from Kanga or Kitenge, sandals, handbags, laptop/notebook covers made of old kites, jewellery etc. or the Seaweed Centre in Paje offering soaps, seaweed juice etc.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Forodhani Gardens is a nightly affair by the water. It starts at around 5 and gets busy after the sun sets. If you are not scared of local food, then this place is definitely worth a visit. It is possibly the cheapest food you will find on the island, and value for money too. Ranging from crab claws, calamari steaks to plain old chips done in big woks. You are well advised to try the local sugar cane juice.
  • A few prices as of Oct 2014 - depending on your bargaining skills you may be able to get lower prices: Zanzibar beef pizza (TZS3000 - delicious!), Small sugar cane juice (TZS1000), Shrimp on a stick (TZS5000), Octopus(whole) on a stick (TZS6000), small beef on a stick (TZS300 - usually three or four are bought at a time and dipped into a hot sauce before finally barbecued), chicken massala on a stick (TZS3000).
  • Some consider the market to be overrated -- the food quality can be mixed and food stands will advertise their food. The twilight atmosphere, however, makes for a nice setting to have a cheap meal.
  • "Terrace Restaurantat maru maru hotel in Stonetown with a 360° view. All UNESO world heritage sites along with Magnificent Indian ocean can be seen from this famous restaurant. You can also enjoy happy hours everyday from 16:00 to 19:00 hours. Cocktails, local mishikaki , Asian food is a must try. Great place to watch the sunset.
  • Hurumzi', earlier known as Emerson and Green and later as Emerson's Tower Top Restaurant, is well worth a visit. It can be found at 236 Hurumzi Street in Stone Town. Amazing food and sublime atmosphere. While dinner is quite expensive and has to be booked in advance, the rooftop view of the sunset punctuated by the sound of prayer calls is not to be missed.
  • Kidude, near Hurumzi, serves traditional Zanzibari cuisine at moderate prices.
  • Amore Mio, on Shangani Street, serves good Italian gelati ice cream, pizzas and pasta (~ USD10-15 per person).
  • Monsoon Restaurant, just to the west of the Tunnel at the edge of the harbour and the southern corner of Forodhani Gardens.
  • Passing Show Restaurant, next to the Malindi Police Station just outside the harbour. A place where they have very decent local food, like pilau, and all sorts of stews. All the men go there in the evening to drink tea. Muslim place, so no alcohol.
  • Mercury, near the port, is dedicated to the Rock singer and songwriter Freddie Mercury who was born on Zanzibar. The only interesting thing in the place is the atmosphere and the nice view over the harbour and bay -- skip the food unless you're in for a stomach ache.
  • Serena Hotel, Stone Town, has a very nice restaurant with live music almost everyday. Beautiful view of the ocean and excellent, although expensive, food.
  • Botanic Country Resort, Tunguu central region, 14km from the Stone Town towards the East Coast behind the new Tanzanian Houses of Parliament. Taarab Square and Kipepeo Grill and Pub/Beer Garden with discotheque on weekends, live music on public holidays including outdoor cinema and live sports events on giant screens. Beautiful Gardens, food is from traditional Swahili & Zanzibarian dishes to International Cuisine.
  • Lukmaan, a small restaurant on the same road as the slave market does very affordable and delicious food. Point at what you want and you get it right away. The prices and convenient speed makes it a favourite for many lunchers.

Drink[edit][add listing]

While predominantly a Muslim community, small bars can be found everywhere in Zanzibar. Try the ginger beer - tangawizi. The sugar cane juice and fresh coconut milk are not to be missed.

  • The Old Dispensary has a basic "top storey" bar which offers nice views on the harbour and beaches (Local beer: TZS4000). Despite its location it is off the beaten track and you may find yourself with a few locals and a band sipping at quite some height.
  • Roof top Lounge at maru maru hotel is a place for evening sunset, cocktails for USD3 per drink, cool chillout and lounge music and a view of town.
  • Africa House Ice cold beer and a huge balcony that overlooks the ocean - great at sunset.
  • Taarab Square At the Botanic Country Resort, Tunguu Central Region offers reasonably priced spirits and drinks compared to most of the bars on the island. Live sports bars and the only outdoor cinema showing Indian, African and English movies, discotheque over weekends and live music on public holidays.
  • Various Beach Bars On the beaches you will find beach bars who will supply you with good local beer and cocktails. You must try a Dawa-cocktail!

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Zanzibar does not offer much cheap accommodation. Most budget hotels in Stone Town charge US$30 per night and more. Choosing a cheaper option will probably demand compromising on location, quality and most probably both.

Although Zanzibar is generally safe, tourists should be aware that problems do occur from time to time. For example there was a series of armed robberies at east coast hotels during 2008 until the suspect was shot and killed by police. The best practice is to wear the minimum jewellery, never carry large amounts of cash and do not confront attackers.

Also see Nungwi, Paje, Kendwa, Matemwe and Kilombero
  • Maru Maru Hotel [9] is a boutique hotel in town with 360 degree view of stone town from the roof top. it has modern Marakesh theme and a very good value for money. A hotel that holly celebraties love to stay. call +255 774007001 or email gm@marumaruzanzibar.com (starting at USD100)
  • Africa House Hotel [10] is a historical building dating back to the first generation of old Arab houses at Shangani waterfont in Stone Town. Around 1900, it became the English Club for Royal Navy officers. In 1964 the club was taken over by the Tanzanian government. The building was privatised in the nineties of the last century and now includes hotel accommodation, the Sunset Bar (a popular meeting place for sundowners), a restaurant, a library and an Arabic shisha smoking lounge.
  • Zanzibar Hotel zanzibarhotel.co.tz is a restored hotel in Stone Town. It was the first hotel to exist on Zanzibar island.
  • Flamingo Guest House is a great budget place 10 minutes from the city centre. It is simple, clean and all rooms have a shared bathroom. The breakfast is quite nice and substantial including fruit, a loaf of bread, eggs, and coffee/tea. (TZS24,000)
  • Funguni Palace Hotel, Funguni Road (near to Ferry), +255777411842 (). This hotel contains 11 rooms in Zanzibar traditional style inside.Some rooms have self-contained bathrooms and some use shared bathrooms. There are air conditioners in rooms. 35$.  edit
  • Chavda Hotel is in the middle of Stone Town, 15min by foot from the Harbour (or TZS1,000 by taxi). Rooms are nice but without luxury. Double beds, 2 single or 3 single beds are available, all with air conditioning and mosquito drapes. Breakfast is small (it's better to eat around the corner) but the cheap hotel bar is on the roof of the hotel and offers nice views of Stone Town. Rate for a room with double bed was USD90 incl. breakfast and taxes (10% charge when you pay by Credit Card).
  • Pongwe Beach Hotel [11] is a small hotel on the eastern side of the island. It is ideal for those looking for a relaxed and secluded "paradise island" experience.
  • Bottoms Up!, an eclectic, unusual hostel in the heart of Stone Town.
  • Pearl Guest House is a simple budget guest house for backpackers. Don't expect much (common bathrooms, cold water shower and without breakfast) but the owner is friendly and it offers a very good value for money (8-12$ pp). The Pearl is located in middle Stone Town, about 5 minutes walk east of the port/ Mercury's Restaurant. If your are coming from the market, it is about 2 minutes walk east of the junction of Creek Road and Malindi Street.
  • Hotel Marine, near the harbour Gate, 1 minute walk from ferry and 5min drive from Zanzibar International Airport. Budget hotel at the centre of Stone town. Most tourists prefer this hotel due to it's location, services and price. All rooms are self contained with Cable TV, Air condition, hot water, Internet Wi-Fi, parking area for safe car park, Breakfast and many more. They do arrange tours packages across Zanzibar Archipelago. The Hotel is in just walking distance of the major tourist attractions which include, Forodhani park, house of wonders, people's palace, market and all the places that are situated in Zanzibar Stone Town. Banks, taxis and all major offices are located just outside the Hotel.
  • Malindi Guest House, near the fish market (but the smell isn't so bad) is an inexpensive place to stay. You can get a double room for about USD20.
  • Island View Hotel located in Kilimani (right next to Stone Town) is a great option for budget travellers. A night for two people goes for USD35-40/night which includes a big breakfast. Rooms have a TV with many channels, clean washrooms, a telephone and the option of air-conditioning. Staff are very friendly and helpful!
  • Botanic Country House located in Tunguu, central region (behind the new Tanzanian House of Parliament) is a great option for budget travellers who have had enough of the beach. A night for two people goes for $40 US/night which includes a tasty breakfast. Nights are cool and it is a mosquito free environment in the countryside of Zanzibar.
  • Annex of Abdullah Stone Town, south of Jaws Corner, (opposite white & green Mosque). Very basic but very cheap single rooms, ~$10 (Feb 2009). Shared bathrooms. Basic breakfast included. A really decent find for the budget traveller.
  • Dhow Inn, Paje Beach (Turn left at the Paje junction, go for about 200 meters, then turn right), +255 777 525828, [12]. checkin: 13.00; checkout: 12:00. This quiet, comfortable and atmospheric hotel is small and intimate with only 6 rooms. Well equipped rooms, stylish swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, attentive staff and the hotel is active with various local NGO's. No small children. 65$.  edit
  • Tamarind Beach Hotel, Uroa Village, East Coast, +255(0)777411191, [13]. Bungalow hotel by the Indian Ocean on the east coast of Zanzibar. USD80.  edit
  • Fontaine Garden Village, Stone Town (south east coast of Zanzibar in the village of Bwejuu), +255 713419451, +255 714 902 618 (), [14]. Offers 11 bungalows, some en-suite, some shared facilities. There is also a house that sleeps 5. 20-seat restaurant. 100m from the beach. 45 minutes from Stonetown.  edit
  • Ras Michamvi Beach Resort, Michamvi, +255 24 22 31 081, [15]. A peaceful hotel on the northern end of the southern East Coast of Zanzibar. All 15 rooms are overlooking the Indian Ocean, with powder-white sand.  edit
  • The Zanzibari, Nungwi, +255-774-323318, [16]. A beach front boutique hotel with 8 rooms. An adjoining bar and restaurant is crafted out of a traditional wooden boat.  edit
  • Teddy´s Place, Paje (at Paje junction turn right and after the wall of Cristal turn left), +255 773 096 306, [17]. Backpacker style accommodation. Zanzibari food, and bar. 12$-25$.  edit
  • Mustapha´s Place, Bwejuu (at Paje junction turn left and drive for a few minutes until you see a sign for Mustapha's Place on the right - follow this), +255 774 366 841, [18]. Mustapha's is popular with backpackers, volunteers and families and offers rustic accommodation and reliable food about 2 minutes form Bwejuu beach USD15-60.  edit
  • Kisiwa House, Baghani Street, Stone Town, [19]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 10:00. New hotel in a nicely restored building. Big rooms, though only the more expensive ones has view of the ocean -- the cheaper rooms only have view to the street. High season:165-220$, low:USD110-170.  edit
  • Kholle House, Malindi 607/608 (2 Minutes walk to the ferry & Mercury's), +25 5779779898200, [20]. Kholle House is a unique and historical hotel in the heart of Stonetown. All of it's 10 rooms are different and special with Ensuite bathrooms, AC and fan. Build in 1860 by Princess Kholle, daughter of the first Sultan of Zanzibar is now one of the most authentic places in Stonetown. a la carte breakfast, swimming pool by the garden, 360 degree views from the terrace 90-190.  edit
  • Malindi Guest House Hotel, Funguni Rd (Near the ferry), +25 5777410011. checkin: any time; checkout: 10:00am. Established in 1976, Malindi Guest House is among the oldest Guest Houses in Zanzibar. It is located so close to Zanzibar Port (off Malindi Street). 25$ per person per night.  edit
  • Milele Villas (Private Holiday Villa Rental), Fukuchani (info@milelevillas.com), +255-773-828026, [21]. Environmental friendly and self-sufficient set of villas located on the North-Eastern tip of Zanzibar. Sleeps from 2-12 people, and includes facilities such as an infinity swimming pool, sea-view and volleyball court.  edit
  • Echo Beach Hotel, Echo Beach, Bwejuu, Zanzibar (East Coast - 45/50min drive East of Stone Town), 0773 593260, [22]. Perfect destination for couples that want to enjoy a romantic break or honeymoon. 5 acre stretch of unspoilt beach to create a unique boutique hotel. There are now nine individual villas combining unpretentious African architecture with state of the art technology, interior design, fixtures and fittings.  edit
  • The Z Hotel beautiful hotel with really nice views, it is a bit more luxurious compared to others located near it's location. It also has a nice infinity swimming pool. Tel: +255 774 266 266. Further Information:info@theZhotel.com, Reservations: reservations@theZhotel.com. [23]
  • Villa Dida Resort (Villa Dida Resort), Pwani Mchangani (Pwani Mchangani), 00255/777810100, [24]. Villa Dida is an Eco-resort in Zanzibar located on the east cost of Zanzibar in Pwani Mchangani. The resort has a private beachfrom where you can enjoy kilometers of white sand and palms lining the crystalline sea of the island.  edit

Respect[edit]

Zanzibar is largely a Muslim community. Although they are used to Western ways, you should try to be respectful. This means:

  • Women and men should make an effort to cover their legs and arms.
  • It is regarded as disrepectful to show public affection.
  • Be discreet when drinking alcohol.
  • During Ramadan -- the month of fasting -- travellers should avoid eating and drinking publicly during the daytime. Also, be sure not to smoke in front of people, nor chew gum, and it is polite to avoid talking about the nice lunch you had.

Get out[edit]

You can take the night ferry to Dar, it's the cheapest option, USD20, and you also save a night's stay in a hotel. It leaves at 22:00, and arrives at about 06:00 in Dar. But the night ferry has no bed rooms so you must be ready to rough it. Several accidents (ferries capsizing) on these kinds of ferries have been reported in the last years; the tourist ferries may be safer to use.
Another option is to fly.




This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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