With endless golden beaches, crystalline blue waters and tantalising spice plantations – Zanzibar is a feast for the senses.

The island of Zanzibar may be small, but there are many ways to get lost here: amongst the ancient, cobble-stoned streets of Stone Town; in the colourful history of the people that call this paradise home; or amid the coral reefs that rival the best snorkelling destinations in the world. Take your pick, but after a day in this hidden paradise, we can promise you won’t want to be found!

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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Zanzibar tour reviews

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Zanzibar travel highlights

Transport in Zanzibar

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in Zanzibar, you may find yourself travelling by:

Dhow boat in a beach at Zanzibar

Ferry

Take in views of the stunning East African coast while travelling to or from Dar el Salaam to Zanzibar aboard a ferry.

Dhow

Iconic and widespread on the shores of the island, nothing says ‘Zanzibar’ more than the traditional dhow: a wooden boat favoured by the locals.

Catamaran

Is there anything more luxurious than skipping along blue waters in a catamaran? Choose to explore Zanzibar on one of our sailing adventures and you’ll be doing just that.

Accommodation in Zanzibar

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in Zanzibar you may find yourself staying in a:

Accommodation in Zanzibar

Bungalow

Roll out of bed and on to some of the best beaches in the world. Our beachside accommodation offers pristine views and the Indian Ocean breeze in your hair, bringing the best of Zanzibar right to your doorstep.

Zanzibar holiday information

At a glance

Culture and Customs

Eating and drinking

Geography and Environment

Shopping

Festivals and events in Zanzibar

Further readings

Zanzibar travel FAQs

Yes. A visa is required for most nationalities for Tanzania. Be sure to check the latest requirements with your closest Tanzania Embassy or Consulate.

It is recommended you purchase visas in advance at any Diplomatic or Consulate Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania abroad. The cost is approximately USD 100 depending on nationality. At the present time you do not require a multi entry visa to visit Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda due to an agreement between the three countries (i.e. if you exit Kenya to Tanzania you can re-enter Kenya on the same visa). However, if your trip returns to Tanzania after a visit to a country other than those listed above, you may need to purchase two visas.

It is also possible to obtain a tourist visa for a single entry at any one of the following main entry points to Tanzania, subject to the fulfilment of all immigration and health requirements and approximately USD 50 fee.

  •  Dar es Salaam International Airport
  •  Zanzibar International Airport
  •  Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA)
  •  Namanga Entry Point (Tanzania-Kenya border point)
  •  Kasumulu Border crossing
  •  Isebania Border crossing

Tipping isn’t mandatory in Zanzibar but a little generosity will be received positively, especially when considering the low wages that service workers are typically paid in Zanzibar. Setting aside a small amount for porters, guides and drivers is wise, as is leaving spare change or rounding up the bill at restaurants.

Internet access is widespread throughout the main islands of Zanzibar. However, if visiting smaller islands there will be limited to no access available.

Mobile phone coverage is good on Zanzibar’s larger islands, but less so on smaller islands. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone.

Western-style flushable toilets are generally available in most hotels, tourist attractions and other modern buildings in Zanzibar. However, in rural areas squat/pit toilets are the general standard for local amenities. Carry your own supply of soap and toilet paper as these are rarely provided.

Street snack = US 0.45 
Bottle of beer = US 0.90 
Plate of food from a local eatery = US 1.35 
Dinner in an international restaurant = US 4.50 – US 9 

Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Zanzibar. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found; some hotels we stay in may have drinking water available. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.

Credit cards are usually accepted by large hotels and Western-style restaurants but not by smaller vendors. Ensure you have adequate cash to cover purchases not able to be made on credit.

ATMs are easily found in urban centres such as Stone Town but are rarer in rural areas and villages. Be sure to have other payment methods available when venturing out of the built up areas as ATMs aren't always an option.

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/booking-resources/our-services

o    1 Jan: New Year's Day
o    12 Jan: Zanzibar Revolutionary Day
o    7 Apr: Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume Day
o    14 Apr: Good Friday
o    17 Apr: Easter Monday
o    26 Apr: Union Day 
o    1 May: Labour Day
o    25 Jun: Iddi El Fitry / End of Ramadan
o    26 Jun: Iddi El Fitry Holiday
o    7 Jul: Maonyesho ya Saba Saba
o    8 Aug: Wakulima ya Nane Nane / Peasants' Day
o    1 Sep: Iddi El Haji / Feast of Sacrifice
o    14 Oct: Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Day
o    30 Nov: The Prophet's Birthday
o    9 Dec: Republic Day
o    25 Dec: Christmas Day
o    26 Dec: Boxing Day

For a current list of public holidays in Tanzania/Zanzibar go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/africa/tanzania/public-holidays

Tanzania is a conservative country and homosexuality is still officially illegal, including in Zanzibar. While prosecutions might be rare, penalties can be severe with potential imprisonment as punishment. For this reason, public displays of affection (even between members of the opposite sex) is considered taboo and not advised.  
For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting Equaldex or Smartraveller before you travel.

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Locals of Zanzibar walking along the beach with yellow head scarves and dresses on

How we're giving back

In Zanzibar, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.