ZAR
USD
EUR
GBP
CAD
AUD
CHF
ZAR
USD
EUR
GBP
CAD
AUD
CHF

What are you looking for?

ZAR
USD
EUR
GBP
CAD
AUD
CHF
ZAR
USD
EUR
GBP
CAD
AUD
CHF
Hello traveller!

It's in Cape Town now.

We're sorry. Our safari planners aren't available now. Our office hours are 08:00 - 19:00 (GMT+2).

Call us to speak to an experienced safari planner.


Alternatively, we recommend...

travel-form-icon

Complete our travel enquiry form to connect with a safari planner

ENQUIRE TODAY
Email us
(optional)

Zanzibar Travel Tips

Team Member Headshot

Antoinette van Heerden

Safari Travel Planner

Safari Enquiry
Antoinette van Heerden

Author: Antoinette van Heerden - 2 September 2021

Last Update: 30 January 2024

Zanzibar has a long history and was once one of East Africa's most prominent cities. Following Vasco de Gama's voyage in 1499, Zanzibar was dominated by the Portuguese for nearly two centuries.

It is now one of Africa's most popular beach locations, and for good reason. The coastline of Zanzibar has some of the nicest beaches in the world, although the sand and surf differ depending on which side of the island you are on. Waves sweep across coral reefs and sand bars off the east coast, while low tide reveals little pools of starfish, small minnows, and anemones. Ocean swimming is less affected by tides further north, and pristine beaches and white sand provide for dazzling days in the sun.

Here are a few Zanzibar Travel tips you should know before visiting:

Zanzibar Travel tip 1: Zanzibar Has a Dark History

The Indian Ocean slave trade relied heavily on Zanzibar. It was one of the main slave ports in the region and functioned as a gateway for slaves entering and exiting East Africa.

Zanzibar travel
Zanzibar travel

Many other gangs were also involved in the heinous trade. Arabs were the primary slave traffickers, while African rulers and families occasionally sold prisoners, and Europeans employed slaves on their estates. At the historic slave market in Stone Town, you can see the awful conditions captives were subjected to, or you can take a tour out to Prison Island.

Zanzibar Travel tip 2: Where Is Zanzibar located?

It is essentially an island in the Indian Ocean, about a two-hour (15-mile) ferry voyage from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city.

Activities in Zanzibar
Activities in Zanzibar

Zanzibar is not a country in its own right, but rather a semi-autonomous territory of Tanzania. It is actually not a single island, but rather the largest of the Zanzibar Archipelago.

Zanzibar Travel tip 3: Every Zanzibar beach is different

Every beach on Zanzibar has something unique and wonderful to offer. White sand beaches, turquoise sea, and pleasant natives nearly guarantee a good experience for all tourists. 

The most gorgeous beaches on Zanzibar, in our opinion, are Pongwe and Nungwi, while Paje is wonderful for kite surfing and Kizimkaze is ideal for seclusion.

Zanzibar Travel tip 4: Embrace the local culture

Tanzania is evenly divided between Muslim, Christian, and indigenous religions, but Zanzibar is mostly Muslim. Expect to hear the call to prayer echoing through the hot air, as well as men and women dressed in traditional headdresses and kofia (hat, in Swahili). 

Stone town in Zanzibar
Stone town in Zanzibar

Dress cautiously on your Zanzibar travels in the city, with your knees and shoulders covered, especially if you plan to visit the mosques. Save your bikinis and speedos for the beach.

Zanzibar Travel tip 5: Explore the Spice Island

Zanzibar is known as “The Spice Island” because of its abundance of cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and cloves. In the 18th century, the East African island was used as a spice plantation, and the roots of the plantation may still be found today. 

To witness this in action, tourists can visit local spice farms and receive a taste of the island's various flavours.


What Our Guests Have to Say?

Read recent reviews from travellers who have planned and booked their trips with us
Susan was incredible, communicative, accommodating and made our trip 5 star and...

15 Day Southern Africa Honeymoon Safari Review

Annie, United States
19 Oct 2023
Professional.

10 Day Masai Mara & Beach Safari

Layla, United States
26 Jul 2023
The Perfect Sabi Sand Safari Adventure!

Sabi Sands Safari Review

Antonio Picon, United States
11 Apr 2022
Incredible Safari & Cape Town Experience!

Kruger, Sabi Sands & Cape Town Safari Review

Kelsey, United States
09 Sep 2021
Excellent, efficient, fast, friendly, a lovely and friendly person with a good...

Kruger National Park Safari Review

Dr. Benhard Jansen van Vuuren and Zenobia Mertsch, South Africa
31 Aug 2021
Brilliant. Megan was efficient, on the ball and prepared everything.

Vic Falls, Botswana & Okavango Delta Safari Review

Sally, South Africa
09 Sep 2019