Jambiani is a small village on the southeast coast of Zanzibar.
Jambiani is one of the oldest and more traditional fishing villages in Zanzibar, with a handful of guesthouses, hotels, and resorts serving a range of budgets. Just south of the villages of Bwejuu and Paje.
There are three main options to get here from Stone Town: dala dala (local buses)($2), shuttle bus ($10) or taxi ($50). Many hotels and guesthouses will arrange a taxi for you (talk to your establishment and reserve this ahead of time). The trip takes about 1 hour 15 mins.
Dala Dala - If you get a dala dala you most likely will have to change buses at the Paje roundabout for one continuing south along the coast. When picking a dala dala go for the one that looks the most full (as this is the one most likely to leave first!). Dala dalas will only leave when they have enough passengers, so if you are the first on the bus this will mean a long wait...
Shuttle Bus - The shuttle buses leave at set times and collect you directly from your accommodation. Tickets need to be booked in advance from The Zanzibus. Essentially, you get the same service as a taxi (for $10 p/p), the main difference being that you will probably be sharing the vehicle with other passengers. Unlike the dala dala everyone gets their own seat and there plenty of space for luggage.
Taxi - Getting a taxi is the most expensive option, but you get the obvious advantage of leaving anytime and not having to share the vehicle with other people. Unless you enjoy lengthy haggling sessions it is highly recommended to prebook your taxi online or through your hotel. You shouldn't pay more than $60 - if you are being quoted more than this then look elsewhere!
Jambiani is tiny and everything is easy walking distance. It's not a barefoot lifestyle though - the road through the village is composed of very sharp rocks. The locals don't seem to have any trouble, but tender tourist feet beware! Also, make sure you are dressed modestly whenever venturing away from the beach. Zanzibar is mostly Muslim and while bathing suits are acceptable on the beach and at the resorts, covering up on the street shows respect for the local culture. Men should wear shirts. Women will be fine with a kanga (brightly colored cloth) wrapped around.
It is also possible to rent bicycles, scooters and cars.
Walk up and down the pristine beaches, enjoying the white sand and turquoise waters. As in other beaches on the eastern coast, the tide goes out very far. There are many beautiful seashells to gather, but please do not remove them from the beach as they provide homes for various sea creatures. Moreover, you might be checked for seashells and corals when leaving from Zanzibar airport or ferry port; it is illegal to take them out of the country.
There isn't much shopping in Jambiani; anything you might need should be purchased in Stone Town. There are a few small convenience stores that sell packaged snacks, drinks, water (not chilled) and some basic household goods like soap and shampoo. Along the main road there are stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs and some local food like mandazi and chapati. There is no ATM in Jambiani. The nearest ATM, banks and bureau de change are in Stone Town. The nearest supermarket is in Paje, about 10 minutes drive.
If you spend any time on the beach at all, you will probably be approached by someone (usually children) selling seashells and coral. Please refrain from purchasing anything, no matter how beautiful the shells or how cute the kids, as shell removal from the beach deprives sea creatures of a home and it is illegal. Please don't encourage it!
Along the beach you will also meet young Masai men with their "shops": the typical red checkered blanket with a selection of Masai handicraft. Be ready to bargain!
Seafood is the name of the game here. Other dishes are available if you're averse, but the fish and shellfish are lovely and fresh. Traditional Zanzibar cuisine is influenced by the trading partners of the old Swahili Coast - the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia. Spices abound and you will nearly always find something with curry or coconut (or both) on the menu. The hotel restaurants also usually have a "tourist menu" with pasta and pizza.
The water bottled and sold in Zanzibar is very slightly salty, so if that bothers you, make sure you buy water that was bottled on the mainland. Bars and restaurants serve the usual assortment of cocktails as well as local beers. You can also get fresh-squeezed fruit juices and smoothies.