Zanzibar Travel Guide

Travelstart’s Annie van Deventer recently took a flight to Zanzibar for a holiday. She’s taken the liberty of compiling a handy Zanzibar travel guide and checklist.

  • Go for your Yellow Fever injection and Malaria tablets before you leave your home country
  • South Africans – Exchange your Rands into US Dollars, it is the best  currency to have on you. Most Zanzibar hotels do accept credit cards
  • When you arrive in Tanzania exchange some of your US Dollars into Tanzanian Shillings. You will need small currency to tip the locals and to buy things
  • When shopping in Zanzibar, always ask for the cost in Shillings because if it’s in Dollars you will be paying too much
  • Pack light clothes and sandals, it gets very hot in Zanzibar
  • Pack loads of sunscreen and a hat, there is nothing like bad sunburn to ruin a holiday
  • For the smokers, take a carton of your own cigarettes, as the cigarette brands available in Zanzibar are limited
  • DO NOT DRINK THE WATER.  Always drink bottled water and ask for drinks without ice in the local pubs as they may use normal tap water for their ice. Most Zanzibar hotels, like Coral Rock use bottled water to make their ice
  • Learn a few basic Swahili words. The locals love it when you greet them in their own language and it shows you have respect for them.  HALLO – “Jambo”, a more slang greeting such as HI WHATS UP “Mambo, Weepee”. I’M FINE – “Poa, Poa”. THANK YOU “Asante Sana”.  WELCOME “Karibu”.  NO PROBLEM/WORRIES  “Hakuna Matata”. ONE “Moja”; TWO “Billi”; THREE “Tatu”.
  • Don’t bring Tanzanian Shillings back to your home country. South African foreign exchange kiosks will not accept it
  • Don’t bring back sand or shells, it is not allowed and you will be fined
  • When walking in the sea lookout for Sea Urchins. They look like little black balls with spikes that sit on the sea bed and they are very poisonous.

Read Annie’s interview – 15 Minutes in Zanzibar.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi there,

    Thanks for reaching out.

    It is best to go to your nearest bank or bureau de change. They will be able to advise if they are selling Tanzanian shilling.

  2. Hi,

    Is it possible to obtain Tanzanian Shillings in South Africa prior to flying to Zanzibar?

    Thanks for the above advice.

  3. Hi Callie,

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    If you travelling on a South African passport a visa will be given on arrival. If you are flying via Tanzania and not on Mango direct you will also need vaccinations.

    We ask that you contact the Embassy direct as information could have changed and they will be able to provide you with the most up to date info.

  4. Hi
    Is it required to get a VISA once in Zanzibar?
    We will be travelling from SA to Zanzibar later this month.
    Thanks for the tips

  5. Hi there,

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    You welcome to look at our destinations where this information is provided.

    Please keep in mind this is just a guideline.

    Below I have provide the link.

    Hope this information helps and have a fabulous time in Zanzibar.

  6. Hi Annie my wife and I will be leaving to zanzibar for five days what would be the average amount of cash we take with in rands for spending food drinks accomadation is already paid for.
    Thank you eagerly waiting your assistance

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