The spice island of Zanzibar is a highly recommended by South Africans, mostly due to it’s excellent value for money, but not discounting the white sandy beaches, crystal blue water and exotic culture and architecture. Here’s what we recommend when travelling to Zanzibar
Getting to Zanzibar
From South Africa, only 1Time flies direct on Tuesdays and Saturdays. In case you can’t get a good price, investigate package options including flights as some operators may hold seats on the flight for their customers. Alternatively, fly on BA or SAA from Joburg to Dar Es Salaam, spend a night or two at a hotel there and catch a ferry the next day, they leave between 07:30 and 16:00 daily – beware, some ferries are slower than others.
The general saying is that West is best in the Indian ocean, this however, is debatable in Zanzibar. Regularly rated as the best beach, Kendwa, in the Northwest is popular with tourists as it’s non-tidal, making bathing a day-long convenience. In the East, where it’s windier, you’ll find a lot of the cheaper resorts; the beaches are quieter, with less tourists, if you’re looking to get away from it all.
This is a tough one to say, each has something unique to offer, there are some resorts which are more popular though. Probably the most famous to South Africans and regularly rated as good value, is the Mapenzi Beach Club, a 3 star hotel with an fully inclusive basis, meaning all your meals are included in the price. La Gemma Dell’Est is arguably Zanzibar’s finest 5 star hotel, with over 80% of travellers recommending it. More affordable hotels on the East coast include Coral Rock and Paje by Night – which also has been recommended for a great pizza!
Best Zanzibar activities
There’s more to Zanzibar than sitting on the beach, much of it relating to the Island’s rich history. Be sure to visit Stone Town to take a walk around the streets of the ancient city, look out for the childhood home of Farok Bulsara, better known as Freddy Mercury on Kenyatta St, the spectacular Beit al Ajaib and the Palace Museum. Ask your hotel about a spice plantation tour, or visit the Jozani Forest to see Zanzibar’s indigeonous Red Colobus Monkeys.
- Visa – available on arriaval, have US $50 on hand to pay at the airport
- Yellow fever inoculations, have these done a good few weeks prior to your trip
- Malaria precautions are recommended
- Torch – Zanzibar is prone to power cuts
- Travel insurance
- Good walking shoes
- Light clothing