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14 Things To Know Before You Go To Zanzibar


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Melli Hinkle


If you’re planning a trip to Zanzibar, the beautiful island destination off the coast of East Africa, there are a few things you should know before you go. Zanzibar is a perfect mix of stunning beaches, rich cultural history, and incredible natural beauty, making it a popular choice for travelers from around the world. But to make the most of your time on this enchanting island, it’s essential to be well-prepared.

In this article, we’ll provide you with 14 important things you need to know before visiting Zanzibar. From understanding the local customs and traditions to discovering the must-visit attractions and delicious local food, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant colors, exotic spices, and warm hospitality that Zanzibar has to offer.

Zanzibar’s Rich History

Zanzibar has a captivating history influenced by Arab, Persian, Indian, and European civilizations. Its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Stone Town is a testament to its rich cultural legacy.

Mesmerizing Beaches

With its powdery white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, Zanzibar is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world. Spend your days lounging under the sun and swimming in the warm Indian Ocean.

The Spice Island

Zanzibar is famously known as the Spice Island due to its thriving spice trade. Take a spice tour and immerse yourself in the aromatic scents of cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Diverse Marine Life

Explore Zanzibar’s underwater world, brimming with vibrant coral reefs, sea turtles, tropical fish, and even dolphins. Snorkeling or diving here is an experience like no other.

Swahili Culture

The Swahili culture is deeply rooted in Zanzibar, with a mix of African, Arab, and European influences. Immerse yourself in the local customs, cuisine, and traditional music and dance.

Eclectic Cuisine

Zanzibar’s cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors, blending Swahili, Arab, Indian, and African influences. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the famous Zanzibari dishes like Pilau, Udongo wa Nazi, and Zanzibar Pizza.

Unique Architecture

Explore the narrow winding streets of Stone Town, where you’ll find stunning architecture featuring intricately carved wooden doors, ornate balconies, and narrow alleys that lead to hidden gems.

The Jozani Forest

Visit the Jozani Forest, home to the indigenous Red Colobus monkeys. Take a guided tour and learn about the plants and animals that thrive in this lush tropical paradise.

Magical Sunsets

Witness breathtaking sunsets on Zanzibar’s western beaches. The sky is painted with hues of pink, orange, and gold, creating a mesmerizing backdrop for your evening strolls.

Dhow Sailing

Embark on a traditional dhow sailing trip and explore the coastline of Zanzibar. Sail through pristine waters, visit remote sandbanks, and soak up the beauty of the island from a different perspective.

Hospitable Locals

Zanzibar is known for its warm hospitality and friendly locals. Interact with the locals, learn their traditions, and gain unique insights into their way of life.

The Sense of Adventure

Whether it’s exploring hidden coves, swimming with dolphins, or embarking on a spice tour, Zanzibar offers a multitude of adventures for the thrill-seekers.

Safety Precautions

While Zanzibar is generally a safe destination, it’s important to take standard precautions like avoiding isolated areas at night and taking care of your belongings.

Responsible Travel

As a responsible traveler, be mindful of the environment and the local community. Support local businesses, respect the local customs and traditions, and leave only footprints behind.

Now that you are armed with these essential insights, get ready to immerse yourself in the magic of Zanzibar. The 14 Things to Know Before You Go to Zanzibar will ensure you make the most of your unforgettable journey to this tropical paradise.


Zanzibar is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of cultural, historical, and natural wonders. Before you embark on your journey to this enchanting island, it’s important to be prepared and well-informed. By knowing the following 14 things about Zanzibar, you’ll be able to make the most of your experience and create unforgettable memories:

From exploring the labyrinthine streets of Stone Town to savoring the tantalizing flavors of Zanzibari cuisine, there is something for everyone on this picturesque island. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the rich culture, and get ready for an extraordinary adventure in Zanzibar!


1. What is the best time to visit Zanzibar?

The best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season, which runs from June to October. The weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy activities like snorkeling and diving in clear waters.

2. Is it safe to travel to Zanzibar?

Zanzibar is generally a safe destination, but it’s always advisable to take precautions like avoiding walking alone at night and securing your belongings.

3. What should I pack for my trip to Zanzibar?

Don’t forget to pack lightweight and breathable clothing, comfortable shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

4. Are there any cultural customs to be aware of in Zanzibar?

Yes, it’s important to respect the local customs and dress modestly, particularly when visiting mosques or conservative areas. Always ask permission before taking photos of locals.

5. What are some must-visit attractions in Zanzibar?

Some must-visit attractions in Zanzibar include the Prison Island, Jozani Forest, Spice Plantations, and the breathtaking beaches of Nungwi and Paje.

6. Do I need a visa to visit Zanzibar?

It depends on your nationality. Some countries have visa-free entry, while others require a visa. It’s best to check with the relevant embassy or consulate prior to your trip.

7. Can I drink tap water in Zanzibar?

No, it’s not recommended to drink tap water in Zanzibar. It’s advisable to drink bottled water or water that has been properly treated.

8. What currency is used in Zanzibar?

The currency used in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). It’s a good idea to carry some local currency for small purchases, but credit cards are widely accepted in larger establishments.

9. Are there any specific health precautions I should take?

It’s recommended to consult with a travel health professional before your trip to Zanzibar to discuss necessary vaccinations and precautions against malaria and other tropical diseases.

10. Can I swim in the ocean in Zanzibar?

Absolutely! Zanzibar is known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Just remember to follow any safety guidelines provided.