Hello. I am now back from my two week hiatus with this exciting post!
WHAT TO DO
- Get lost in Stone Town.
Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is exudes culture and tradition. It engages all your senses; from the smell of street food to the sight of grand age-old Architectural works to the sound of mopeds and locals speaking Swahili. It is the ultimate experience of Zanzibar. The streets are narrow and maze-like, and it is quite easy to lose your way. You should therefore have a map or a guide. You can read my previous post on Stone Town (here) to know what sites to visit.
- Eat the street food.
Zanzibar is a spice island and offers amazing street food. Make sure you try the Mshikaki (beef or chicken) that oozes flavour and leaves you wanting more. Every night from 6pm to 10 pm, locals sell food at Forodhani Gardens at very reasonable prices.
- Take a dhow ride to Prison Island.
Prison Island is an island 30 minutes from Stone Town and there are dhow rides everyday from 7 am to 5 pm. The island has over 100 tortoises and a viewing deck that offers spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. The entrance fee is $4.
- Mangapwani Coral Caves.
These are caves located in Mangapwani area which is 30-45 minutes from Stone Town. The coral caves offer a sense of adventure as you tred through the pitch black caves. The entrance fee is $5-$7.
- Nakupenda Beach
Beautiful Nakupenda beach is located near Prison Island. It experiences low tide and is the ideal place for snorkelling and swimming with dolphins! Though this is an activity that is available only in the morning. Chefs also cook sea food on the beach making the experience even more alluring.
- Watch the Sunset.
The sunset in Zanzibar is unlike any other sunset that I have ever experienced. It seems very unreal as it sets on the horizon of the Indian Ocean. As you are in Zanzibar, take a few minutes to seat by the beach and experience the majestic Zanzibari sunset.
A flight from Nairobi to Zanzibar costs around $400. One can also take a bus ride from Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam and a ferry to Zanzibar. As you are travelling by flight, make sure you have a yellow fever card. East Africans must have a passport or a temporary pass.
In terms of exchange rates, 1$ is equivalent to 2000Tsh. Exchange Bureaus are located all over Zanzibar and you can even change Kenyan currency directly to Tanzanian Shillings at the rate of 1KSH =20TSH.
WHERE TO STAY
Zanzibar is full of hotels and Airbnbs. I personally stayed in the exquisite Serena Zanzibar which is quite pricey but i highly recommend it. There are cheaper accommodations available on Airbnb.
The general means of transport in Zanzibar is by bicycle, moped, motorcycle or cars. Cars have a harder time due to the narrow streets. Taxis are available everywhere but try to bargain. Unfortunately, the locals may overcharge you depending on where you come from, therefore try to bargain as much as you can and stand your ground.
GETTING A GUIDE.
Stone Town is easier to navigate if you have a guide. He or she will give you a detailed description of the town and it is worth the price. Guides can be found in hotels at the price of $50 for 2 tourists
WHAT TO WEAR.
Zanzibar is 70% Muslim and is largely a conservative place. Therefore, you can opt to dress more conservatively to avoid stares and odd looks. But this largely depends on you
WHEN TO GO.
May to September is generally peak season and accommodations and activities are more pricey at this time of year. I would highly recommend going between October and December where prices are more reasonable.
Zanzibar is quite safe. Theft is not an issue and one can carry their camera around their neck. They also encourage people to take pictures inside and outside their buildings which is quite amazing.
Zanzibar is an experience that leaves you wanting more and will remind you to live in the moment.
Have a nice trip! 🙂
This post is part of the Monthly Travel Tips Collection.
Have you been to Zanzibar and have more suggestions? Well, Drop them below 🙂