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A Travel Guide To Zanzibar, Tanzania

It is no hidden fact that as far as travel destinations on the African continent is concerned, Zanzibar, Tanzania is a tourist favorite and with all the reasons to back it up! In this guide, you will learn a bit about Tanzania, the island of Zanzibar and all there is to do, see and experience in this East African slice of paradise.

A little about Tanzania

Tanzania is located in East Africa, sharing borders with Kenya and Uganda (to the north), Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (to the west), Zambia, Malawi & Mozambique (to the south) and the Indian Ocean to the east. Tanzania's unique position geographically makes it a hub for commerce, trade, cultures and of course, tourism.

Zanzibar Island

The island of Zanzibar lies on the east coast of Tanzania, consisting of two main islands; Unguja Island (popularly known as Zanzibar), Pemba Island and other smaller islets. Some of the major touristic cities on the Zanzibar island include Stone Town, Nungwi, Michamvi, Jambiani, Kendwa, Paje, and Kizimkazi. Different parts of the island present unique tourist experiences to its visitors.

A restaurant built on a rock, in the middle of the ocean
The Rock Restaurant, Zanzibar

Pre-Travel & Arrival Tips

Like every country worth visiting, there are a set of things to be aware of and put in place before arriving in Zanzibar, to allow for a smooth travel experience.

  1. Visas

For Ghanaian passport holders, Zanzibar (and Tanzania) are visa free for touristic visits up to 90 days. This means, Ghanaian passport holders do not require a visa to visit Tanzania. Depending on your passport, you could require a Visa on arrival, a E-Visa or a Referral-Visa for entry into the country's land, air or sea borders. Visit to ascertain your visa requirements and cost for entry into Zanzibar.

2. Vaccination

Right up the list from a valid visa (if required), is your Yellow Fever Vaccination Card. This is a must-have document for most African countries, and Zanzibar, Tanzania is no exception.

3. Ports of Entry

Tanzania has four (4) International airports; Dar Es Salaam Julius Nyerere Airport, Kilimanjaro Airport, Mwanza Airport and Abeid Amani Karume Airport I Zanzibar. Furthermore, all the three main islands in Zanzibar; Pemba & Mafia islands have their airports although the Abeid Amani Karume Airport is the busiest and receives the most tourists arrivals in Zanzibar. It's best to know which airport is closest to your destination and schedule your landing ports accordingly.

NB: Zanzibar can be accessed by two routes: by air and via ferry from Dar Es Salam.

The ferry takes 2 hours from Dar Es Salaam and departs 4 times in a day.

4. Currency Conversion & Finance Tips

The predominant currency used in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian Shillings (Tsh, as its called), although most service points price in both Tsh & USD. Note: Even though some hotels and restaurants accept card (Visa, Mastercard, Amex), Zanzibar is very cash-driven and most vendors and tourism services providers will opt for cash as a primary payment option. Forex bureaus are also pretty ubiquitous so you can easily convert your currency from USD, Euro, GBP, KES, ZAR, DIRHAM etc. for payments.

An airport terminal view from the window seat
Abeid Amani Karume International Airport


Now that we've learnt about the country, its island, immigration policies, arrival requirements and money tips, let's get to the fun part: what to do after you touch down in Zanzibar!

The island is vast & generous with its offerings as such, there's so much to see & do while in Zanzibar! Below are a few recommendations for tours, activities and experiences to indulge in when you visit.

A girl in black, smiling in a traditional hotel
Inside a Sultan home/ hotel

Stone Town

  • Lodge in a traditional sultan home

  • Take a historic walking tour of stone town

  • Visit the old fort

  • Visit the Freddie Mercury Museum

  • Visit Darajani Market

  • Visit Forodhani Garden Park

  • Visit Changuu Island

  • Experience a hammam Persian bath

  • Visit the spice farms/ market

I highly recommend spending a night or two in stone town, in addition to your island escape to Paje, Jambiani, Nungwi etc.

Water-based activities across cities

Visiting an island for any purpose; leisure, romantic getaway or a friendcation is synonymous with experiencing some quality time by the ocean. Be it just lounging, chasing sunrises and sunsets, dolphin-watching, snorkeling, scuba diving or swimming with different species of animals, Zanzibar is a haven for aquaphiles and has something to offer every kind of ocean lover. Below are a few of my recommendations for watersports:

  • Swim with Turtles in Nungwi

  • Swim with / watching dolphins at Mnemba Island

  • Go Snorkeling/ Scuba diving at Mnemba Island

  • Enjoy a beach day at Nakupeda sandbank

  • Swim with horses at Kendwa

  • Enjoy kitesurfing at Jambiani

  • Chase sunsets & enjoy beachside partying at Michamvi

  • Experience a Safari blue tour

  • Kayaking at Kendwa

A girl in yellow, feeding turtles with seaweed
The Baraka Turtle Aquarium

Bucket-list activities

Additionally, there are some bucket-list activities / places that are unique to Zanzibar I believe should be experienced at least once, if you find yourself on the island. Find a few of my recommendations below:

  • Lunch at The Rock Restaurant, Zanzibar

  • Cave swimming at Maalum or Kuza caves

  • Sunset Jumping / Watching at Forodhani Park

  • Feeding Giant Aldabra tortoises at Changuu Island

  • Tandem Skydiving over the island

Final Notes:

Zanzibar is a perfect destination for touristic visits on the African continent, and I highly recommend visiting for a group experience, a romantic getaway or a friendcation. It can be done alone over a 7-10 day period, or paired with explorations of Safari adventures, Arusha, Mt. Kilimanjaro or Dar Es Salaam over a longer duration.

Purchase My Ultimate Zanzibar Travel Guide

If you'll like more in-depth information covering everything from flight options and cost, accommodation recommendations, tours with costs, nightlife options, trip cost breakdown & travel advisory from my #ZanzibarExperience, click here to download a copy of my twenty (20) page Zanzibar Travel Guide to aid your travel planning

Plan A Private Trip To Zanzibar

Want a carefully curated private trip to Zanzibar alone, with a loved one or friends & family? Send an email to & I'll be more than happy to assist you plan an unforgettable Zanzibar Experience for you & yours.

Thank you for reading. I hope you found this travel guide useful for your Zanzibar travel planning & Happy Travels!


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