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Practical information about Zanzibar

Practical information about Zanzibar

Practical information about Zanzibar

1. Weather and climate in Zanzibar

Zanzibar is close to the equator and therefore warm all year round. There is an average of 7-8 hours of sun each day. When it is winter in the UK, Zanzibar is at its warmest, meaning our winters and summers are reversed. Zanzibar has ideal holiday weather all year round. Summer heat is often mitigated by breezes from the sea. The sea is actually warm all year round, just like the weather.

The rainy season lasts from the end of March to the middle of May, and again from November to December.

Average Temp
Average precipitation mm
Night Temp
Statistics Average Temp Average precipitation mm Night Temp
JAN 28 5 25
FEB 28 5 25
MAR 28 8 24
APR 27 11 23
MAY 25 10 22
JUN 25 4 20
JUL 24 2 19
AUG 25 2 19
SEP 25 3 19
OCT 26 4 21
NOV 27 9 22
DEC 27 8 24
Water Temp
Water Temp Average
JAN 27
FEB 28
MAR 27
APR 27
MAY 26
JUN 25
JUL 24
AUG 24
SEP 24
OCT 25
NOV 25
DEC 26
2. Terms & Conditions

Please read our booking terms and conditions carefully. These terms and conditions constitute the basis of your package purchased from africasafari.co.uk.  Click here to read our terms and conditions.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

3. Travel insurance

We are an ATOL protected agency giving you complete peace of mind. It is a condition of booking that the sole responsibility lies with the guest to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/traveling companions for the duration of their trip.

In cooperation with our partner we can offer advantageous travel insurances. Learn more here.

4. Vaccinations

We always advise that you contact a specialist, your GP or an authorized vaccination clinic. You can also read more about the rules for travel & vaccinations at the central NHS Fit for Travel website: here

Please note that you must bring your vaccination certificate and produce it on entry into Tanzania.

Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another African country.

We recommend that you contact your doctor or clinic for more information on vaccinations.

5. Visas

British citizens need a valid visa to travel to Tanzania. The visa application should be completed online via the following link:  https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/

Before you proceed with the visa application itself, we recommend that you read the step-by-step application guide carefully. You will find the guide here.

When you start your visa application, you should have the following to hand:

  • Your passport
  • A digital passport photo in JPEG or PNG format, not exceeding 300 KB
  • A copy of your passport in JPEG or PNG format, not exceeding 300 KB
  • A copy of your itinerary (please note that the airport in Zanzibar is called Abeid Amani Karume International Airport)

You should apply for an “ordinary visa (single entry visa)”.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after departure from Tanzania, and there must be two blank pages in the passport for entry and exit stamps.

You should expect it to take 14 days for your visa to be approved. We recommend that you regularly check the status on the website above, as you will not always receive an email to inform you of your visa approval. Once your visa is approved, you should print it out and bring it with you to Tanzania.

It is also possible to apply for a visa upon your arrival in Tanzania, but we recommend you apply for it from home to save time at the airport.

The visa fee is USD 50, regardless of whether you apply online or on arrival in Tanzania.

Please note that arrival and departure forms still have to be completed, even if you have applied for a visa in advance – these are available at the airport.

Children travelling alone or with an adult other than their parents must bring the written consent of their parents in the form of a letter of attorney as well as the child’s birth certificate (in English).

The visa regulations can be checked on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s website.

We also recommend that you double check the above visa rules, as they may change at short notice. Please contact the Tanzania High Commission in London. For more information please refer to the below contact details:

Tanzania High Commission UK 
3 Stratford Place W1C 1AS 
London, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 207 569 1470
Email: visa@tzhc.uk

If you have booked a combination tour including both Tanzania and Kenya, British citizens are required to have a visa for both countries. Visas for Kenya can be arranged online before departure or upon entry to Kenya; remember to have 50 USD in cash ready for this.

6. Flight reservations and airline tickets

We will send you your flight reservation as soon as you book your trip. You can see times and routes on the itinerary. It is important to check your name for spelling mistakes. The name on the reservation must be exactly as in your passport.  If you find any mistakes in the names, please contact us immediately.

Today, there are only electronic airline tickets (e-tickets), so you do not receive a physical ticket for use at the airport check-in. When you check in at the airport, you use your passport and a booking reference. The booking reference is on your itinerary.

7. Service letter

Once you have purchased a tour through us, you will receive our service letter before your departure. The service letter contains important information about online check-in, what to do in the event of a delay, our agreed guidelines for tips, etc. In addition, you will find important telephone numbers for our local agents as well as our emergency telephone number.

So it is important that you print out the service letter and bring it with you.

8. Seat reservation, upgrades and extra legroom

The airline will assign you a seat on board the aircraft upon check-in. If you have specific wishes, you can make a seat reservation via the airline’s website. Most airlines have an area on their website named “manage my booking” or similar. Please note that most airlines require payment for a seat reservation, so it’s a good idea to have your payment card ready when starting a seat reservation. Airline seat reservations vary from company to company, but as a general rule, you can book seats from around 48 hours before departure.

Many airlines also offer upgrades with extra legroom or comfort seating, such as Economy Comfort with KLM and Premium Voyageur with Air France. You can check these details through the airline’s own website, along with payment information.

Please kindly note that airlines have full access to all seats on the aircraft and therefore always reserve the right to alter a reservation.

If you do not make a seat reservation before departure, the airline will issues your seating upon check-in at the airport.

9. Your luggage

We use many different airlines to Tanzania, therefore it may vary how much baggage and hand luggage you can carry on the aircraft. Find more information about this on your ticket or contact us if you have any questions.

We recommend that you pack your things in soft bags when going on a safari holiday. It’s easier to pack the safari cars with soft bags than suitcases. Hardcase suitcases are particularly difficult to fit in to the safari car. So, if possible, avoid using suitcases with hard edges.

You should also make sure you carry all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, airline tickets, insurance documents, credit cards, money and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.

The air-conditioning on board the aircraft can be cold, so maybe take a jacket inside your hand luggage.

10. Transportation

The local buses are called Dala Dala and are small trucks, where you sit on wooden benches under a covered platform, often several feet high with luggage on the roof. It’s cheap (1-2 USD / approximately £1-2) to use and you sit side by side with the locals. This could really seem like a unique and slightly daunting experience, but is certain to be an exciting one.

Taking a Taxi is probably the easiest way to get around. A trip to Stone Town in the morning and return in the afternoon can be done for around 40-50 USD / approximately £26-33.

11. Lunch and drinks

Breakfast and dinner are included, unless otherwise agreed. Drinks you pay for yourself.

Please note that as of 1 July 2015, the hotels on Zanzibarcharge a hotel tax of USD 1 per person per day. The total charge is payable on checkout.

12. Currency

Tanzania’s local currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS), but it is also possible to pay with US dollars (widely accepted), Euro and British Pounds in Tanzania. On safari we recommend your cash is carried in US dollars. Be sure to have change in small amounts with you (1 to 5 dollar bills) as this can be used for buying souvenirs and the payment of tips or the like.

ATM machines are few and far between in Tanzania, so be sure to exchange your US dollars in the UK before travel. In Zanzibar you can pay by card at the hotel, this also applies for any excursions you wish to purchase. There is an ATM at the arrivals lounge in the airport in Zanzibar and in Stone Town.

13. ATMs

ATM machines are only found in Stone Town, where there are three banks that accept international Master and Visa Card’s. It is always prudent to have some dollars with you on the trip. Hotel bills can be paid with International Master and Visa Card’s, but without the ability to withdraw extra funds of the standing amount.

14. Tipping

In Tanzania/Zanzibar, it is customary to provide guides, waiters and other service personnel a tip.
The personnel expect a tip, but it is of course up to you how much you will give.
Give the tip personally and always have a little change in your pocket.

As a rule of thumb, you can expect the following:

  • 5-10 USD per person per night or day to the guide
  • 1 USD for the porter who carries your baggage
  • 10% in bars and restaurants
  • 1 USD per day for the maid

We recommend that you tip your guide/driver at the end of your tour – preferably in a sealed envelope.

15. Public holidays

It is always special to experience the traditions and celebrations of other countries. Below is a list of public holidays, important festivals and other special occasions.

Please note that some museums and attractions may be closed on these days.


16. Time difference

Tanzania/Zanzibar is 3 hours ahead of GMT (2 hours ahead of UK during summertime and 3 hours ahead during winter time).

17. Language

There are two languages in Zanzibar. Many people speak English and everyone speaks the Swahili dialect Zanzibarian. You might like to know of or use some of the following words:

Jambo – General greeting similar to “hello”
Hakuna matata – Okay – No problems
Karibu – Welcome
Pole pole – Take it easy
Mambo – How’s it going
Salama Aleikum – Peace be with you
Dalla dalla – Mini bus
Nzuri – Good
Ndiyo – Yes
Hapana – No
Sawa – Alright
Bei Gani – How much does it cost?
Asante – Thank you

18. Charging of mobile phones and other electrical items

Most hotels generally have their electricity from generators switched off after midnight. Remember to take a small flashlight with you. The sockets are 240 volts and 3 pin plugs as used in the UK.

19. Mosquitoes

There are mosquitoes in Zanzibar, but it’s not too bad as the hotel lies close to the coast. Mosquitoes appear first when darkness falls. There are mosquito nets in the rooms. It is a good idea to bring some mosquito spray.

20. Coral reefs

The reef around Zanzibar has been constructed over millions of years by small coral animals.  This gives life to more than 600 different coral animals and a few thousand species of fish or other marine life. When a coral animal dies, they become empty limestone skeleton. As they are cemented together by lime and limestone sand, they become solid rock. On top of the old and dead coral shells grow new coral animals, and in this way you may see a healthy coral grow by 4-5 centimeters per year.

21. Adventures at sea

Deep sea fishing – You can hunt for blue and black marlin, swordfish, sailfish and several large types of shark. The Best season for this is from August to March and from June to September.

Diving – Zanzibar offers some of the world’s best diving sites of coral reefs with lots of colorful fish. Visibility is at 20-65 metres and the water temperature is around 26 degrees. You can dive within the coral reefs by both snorkeling and diving (scuba diving). You can practice or learn to dive at the nearby diving schools.

Sailboats – You can learn how to sail the primitive Dhow’s and try to catch fish or squid.

Boat trip to Prison Island- Just a 15-minute boat ride from Stone Town is a small island, inhabited by giant tortoises, some of which are 200 years old. Again, there are beautiful beaches and excellent conditions for snorkeling. This is usually a half-day trip.

Sea safari – Discover the beautiful area at Manai Bay, with excellent opportunities for snorkeling.

Menay Bay – Possesses some most unique nature. The sandbanks and uninhabited islands are the perfect destinations to visit.

Swim with Dolphins – Dolphins are often seen along the coast and it is an incredible experience to get close to them. The dolphins themselves like to swim among people and can be heard making their strange noises.

Bathing shoes – It’s a good idea to take a few solid pairs of bathing shoes with you, as there may be sea urchins and sharp shells along the coral reef.

22. Experiences on the beach

The locals love to beat drums, make bonfires on the beach, sing, dance, socialise and have fun. Join in or just enjoy the view.

23. Experiences in the nature

Jozani rainforest – This place has palm trees and stunning nature. The red marmosets lived here, which Columbus found only in Zanzibar. The rainforest is part of an eco-project where people from the village work as guides.

Zanzibar Land Animals Park (Zala) – This idyllic zoo is full with reptiles and is an exciting place for children to experience some snakes safely  and up close.

The Spice Plantations – Zanzibar produces vast amounts of all sorts of spices, including some of the world’s best cloves. So naturally, any tourist should try and visit the spice plantation if time permits.

Mangapwani – In this village, you can see the huge underground cave, which slaves from the mainland were placed in as soon as they came to Zanzibar from the mainland.

24. Luggage which is important to bring
  • Light summer clothes
  • Smarter clothes for the evenings, such as long trousers and long sleeve shirts that protect against mosquitoes after sunset and, if necessary, against the sun during the day.
  • Summer footwear (e.g. sandals, trainers and cotton socks). Ideally, avoid bare feet and legs in the evening due to the mosquitoes.
  • Hat to protect from the sun
  • Sun cream and lip balm with SPF
  • Bathing shoes that you can wear on the beach at low tide

Please note that all use, import and production of plastic bags, such as those from supermarkets, etc., is prohibited in Zanzibar.

We therefore recommend that you avoid using plastic bags when packing your luggage. Use fabric bags instead, or bags made of a waterproof material other than plastic. If, for example, you are visibly carrying hand luggage in plastic bags upon your arrival in Zanzibar, you will be asked to hand them in. This also includes plastic bags from “Duty Free”, etc.

25. Important items to have in your hand luggage
  • Passport, money and tickets
  • International payment cards (MasterCard, Visa, etc.)
  • Sunglasses
  • Any medicines you take at home
  • Over-the-counter medicines: painkillers, allergy pills, anti-diarrhoea tablets (Imodium?), malaria pills, plasters and disinfectant wipes.
  • Camera and memory card + battery charger
  • Zip-up shoulder bag with a sturdy strap, a money belt or good inside pockets that zip up.
  • A couple of photocopies of all personal papers, such as your passport, visa, plane tickets, travel insurance and vaccination card (ideally stored separately from the originals)
  • Possibly a list of telephone numbers for your insurance company, bank, etc.
  • Postal addresses of those you want to send a postcard to and e-mail addresses of those you want to send a holiday e-mail.
  • Notebook and pens
  • A good book or two
  • Perhaps a pocket dictionary
26. Travellers with reduced mobillity

Please note, our tours are generally not suitable for persons with reduced mobility. Please contact us for information about the possibilities according any specific needs.

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