Zanzibar is an archipelago made up of Unguja and Pemba Islands, and several islets. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast, and 6° south of the equator. Zanzibar Island (known locally as Unguja, but as Zanzibar internationally) is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide, occupying a total area of approximately 650 square miles. It is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of historic Stone Town – said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa.
Stone Town, the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar, has changed little in the last 200 years. It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. You can spend many idle hours and days just wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways.
GMT + 3
Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh)
Although major currencies like EUR, USD, GBP also accepted.
– Take note –
* USD notes – All USD money must be issued from 2006 onwards. Notes issued from 2005 and before will not be accepted at any establishment nor will be exchangeable at any bank.
* GBP notes – Only the new GBP notes made from the polymer PLASTIC which is waterproof, see through window strip of her Majesty, a hologram feature, and raised Braille dots are now accepted. The older paper based GBP notes are no longer accepted.
* Kenyan Shillings Notes – Only new KSh notes featuring the image of Kenyatta International Conference Centre, and the images on the back symbolizing green energy, agriculture, social services, tourism, and governance are accepted. Previous generation notes are no longer accepted by most establishments.
* Currency exchange may only be done by a bank or registered exchange bureau.
* You can still pay for services in the major foreign currencies (EUR, USD, GBP), establishments like hotels are not permitted to facilitate any foreign exchange transaction for example changing USD to TSH. This can only be facilitated by a bank or registered exchange bureau as per Zanzibar’s Financial Acts & Regulations.
Kiswahili & English
220 – 240 V AC, 50 Hz
Code of Conduct
All visitors are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Zanzibari local traditions, customs, values and culture especially in the matter of clothing.
Both male and female visitors are advised to wear proper concealed clothing covering themselves minimum from shoulders to knees when moving around in villages, towns and other public areas.
Men – should wear trousers at least up to knee length with a proper shirt, polo shirt or T-shirt. Avoid tank top shirts exposing shoulders or walking around without a shirt or open buttoned shirt.
Woman – should wear summer dress or trousers covering your knees with a blouse covering your belly to breast and shoulders areas. Avoid wearing tops with a low-cut exposing your breast cleavage area and belly button. Avoid transparent sheron/sheer material coverups and ensure when using such clothing over your swim suit that its made of non-transparent material. Alternatively, Zanzibar residents will show you with pleasure how to make use of the traditional kanga available from many shops to use as cover-up when going out in public
These guidelines are not applicable to the beach areas or Resort areas although proper swimwear is still encouraged in respect for the staff in the hotels.
Improper behaviour and clothing might lead to a penalty fine ranging from US$ 700 to US$ 5,000, imprisonment or both in accordance with the Tourism Regulations.
Zanzibar experiences ideal holiday weather for most of the year, with the exception of April and May which are seasonally subject to the long rains. Short rains can occur in November but are characterized by short showers.
The heat of summer is often cooled by the wind, with pleasant sea breezes, particularly on the North and East coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm all year round, but officially, summer and winter peak in December and June respectively. Zanzibar is blessed with an average of 7-8 hours of sunshine daily and year round average temperatures of between 25 and 28 Celsius.
• Dry season – The dry season is from June to October.
• Short rains – Short rains are from November to December (these are light, intermittent rains).Temperatures can soar to well over 30 degrees.
• Long rains – The long rains are from March until May. Rain in Zanzibar comes short, sharp showers in the morning or afternoon, followed by the return of the sunshine.
Mosquitos & Malaria
Malaria incidence on the island has witnessed a significant reduction in recent years, thanks to the ongoing efforts of local authorities in risk mitigation. It remains imperative, however, for individuals to take precautions against mosquito bites and the associated risk of contracting malaria. Regrettably, we are unable to provide medical advice concerning the necessity of malaria prophylaxis for our guests. This decision is best addressed through consultation with their primary care physician or a travel clinic, and the choice to pursue this preventive route ultimately lies with the guest.
It is noteworthy that some individuals may experience certain side effects from malaria medication, which can manifest a few days after ingestion or even during their travel. Symptoms might resemble those of food poisoning, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, headaches, and insomnia. Should such side effects arise, our in-house clinical officer typically advises guests to temporarily discontinue the medication for a brief period. This course of action will naturally vary based on individual reactions.
Hence, we strongly advise guests to engage in a dialogue with their healthcare provider to explore suitable options in this context. Many of our guests opt for alternative protective measures, such as wearing long clothing in the evening, applying mosquito repellent spray or cream to exposed skin, and benefiting from the provision of mosquito nets in their rooms during the evening turn-down service. Our housekeeping team takes the initiative to ensure these nets are properly set up and applies mosquito repellent to the room.
Upon returning home, guests are strongly encouraged to consult their healthcare professional if they experience any illness. It is essential to inform the doctor of their travel to Tanzania, an area identified as a malaria risk zone. This communication is critical, as antimalarial medications can sometimes mask malaria symptoms, potentially leading doctors to overlook malaria testing if they are unaware of the guest’s exposure to a malaria-prone region.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit is between June and October the weather is cooler and less humid. December to February is also popular (although it is quite hot, it is also dry).
The coolest months are June through October, when the temperature averages 26 Celsius.
Best Time for Scuba Diving
The best time for Scuba diving is July & August as well as February & March are great times to go diving. Between June and October head to the north coast dive sites, and between November and March, you’ll want to be south.
Best Time for Kite Surfing
The best time for kite surfing is during the Kaskasi wind blows south to north from June to October, while the Kusini blows north to south from December to April (although don’t come later than March because that’s when the long rains usually begin).
Should you have any enquiries regarding the weather forecast in Zanzibar, you are most welcome to visit the following web pages for more information.
Visas, Documents & Customs
Zanzibar is a part of the United Republic of Tanzania
Visas are required by almost all nationalities and should be obtained well in advance of departure. We highly recommend that you contact the Tanzanian Embassy/High Commission/ Consulate in your home country. Please also consult with your travel agent or tour operator.
For more information, visit the Tanzanian government’s website:
You can now apply for an Online Visa to visit the United Republic of Tanzania (both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar). You are required to fill in the online form, make payment, and submit your application online. Your form will be internally reviewed and processed:
Documents required to check-in
Be advised before any guest including children of all ages are allowed to be checked into any hotel in Zanzibar, guests including children of all ages from international destinations, East African-, Tanzanian- & Zanzibar Residents or Citizens are required to provide the hotel their Passport, National ID or a birth certificate (in the case of children with no passport) as imposed by the Zanzibar Government.
Please ensure to bring these documents as well for your children with you when planning to stay in Zanzibar otherwise the hotel will not be able to check you in.
Be advised the Zanzibar Revenue Authority has implemented an infrastructure tax of $5 USD per person per night, in accordance with the amended Finance Act No. 9 of 2015. Therefore this tax will be applicable for all guests with stay nights from July 01st 2023 onwards, irrespective of when the booking was made.
This compulsory tax is not included in any packages or rates and has to be collected directly from guests upon check-out.
The Infrastructure Tax will reflect on your extras bill/ account as “Infrastructure Tax”.
Passengers may also be requested to present a receipt at the airport on departure to the authorities to confirm that the relevant taxes were paid at the said rates.
Therefore it is strongly advised to ensure you receive a receipt when settling your final hotel bill reflecting the settlement of the taxes and keep the receipt within easy reach in your hand luggage.
See the latest announcement from the Revenue Authorities here
Ban on plastic
In support of our environment, the government of Tanzania has imposed a ban on plastic.
Effective 1 June 2019 visitors to Tanzania & Zanzibar are advised to avoid carrying plastic bags or packaging plastic bags or items in plastic carrier bags in their suitcase or hand luggage before embarking to Tanzania/Zanzibar.
Special desks will be designated at all entry points for surrender of plastic carrier bags that visitors may be bringing into Tanzania. Plastic carrier bags know as “Ziplog Bags” that are specifically used to carry toiletries will be permitted as they are expected to remain in the permanent possession of visitors and are not expected to be disposed in the country.
Government does not intend for visitors to Tanzania/Zanzibar to find their stay unpleasant as we enforce the ban. However, the
Government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect our environment and keep our country clean and beautiful , our visitors will accept minor inconveniences resulting from the plastic ban.