When it comes to planning for a Zanzibar holiday, there is perhaps one thing that lingers into your mind. The dazzling white sand and turquoise waters of her beaches. Or perhaps the Island, which is also known for its spices. This Island has become a famous destination for many travellers from all over the world.  Zanzibar Island is serviced by the Zanzibar International Airport, from which couples of domestic flights depart each and every day. This makes it easy to get from the Island to Tanzania’s capital – Arusha without too much fuss.

Stone Town: Credits: Pixabay

Stone Town which is also Zanzibar’s capital city, is also a UNESCO World Heritage site primarily because of its rich culture and history. The town, which was once a flourishing trade hub filled with Arab and European settlers, was also the largest slave port in the region.

Some boxes to tick during a visit to Zanzibar are: A Stone Town Tour, which helps you to discover the cultures and traditions, so as to know Zanzibar Island and East Africa. The visit includes a visit to the slave trade market, the slave chambers, the big market where you can also buy souvenirs to take back home as a remembrance of this beautifully Island. I recommend spending a day or two in town, before heading out to the beach side of the Island.

Apart from Stone Town, Zanzibar has 3 other surrounding islands which are interesting to visit. The first one is the Chumbe Island, an amazing place for Chumbe Island. While snorkelling you will see the blue ocean, nice coral reefs and small colourful fish. It’s like 10 minutes’ drive from Stone Town. Second is the Nakupenda (I love you) hahahahh.  Island. The island is accessible through a boat ride. The Island is less than 10 minutes from Stone town.  Here you can spend the whole day to the island.  While you are here you can do snorkelling. However, there is also a nice shore, where you can spend your me time. Right there you can have your barbecue seafood. If you are lucky on your way back, depending on the time you sail back you might catch the breath taking sunset.

A view of breathtaking sunset. Credits: Pixabay

The third island near Stone Town is Prison Island. The distance between Nakupenda Beach and Prison Island is about 35-40 minutes driving in a boat from Stone Town. The name Prison Island is just a name since no one was brought there as a prisoner.  While in Prison Island, there are three activities you can do which are visiting the tortoise chamber with a lot of tortoises whereby if you are photogenic type, you can take one million pictures with them as you feed them. Here you can also visit the Prison Island chambers, where you will be able to view the prison cells. A restaurant is available for a bite if needed.

A view of Prison Island in Zanzibar.

Another must do excursion is a Spice Tour Farm visit. All nice smelling spices are available here including cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, curry powder, and many more. Your guide will take you through the life cycle and uses of various types of spices during the tour. You will also get the opportunity to touch, smell, and taste several spices.  Is Zanzibar Island in your East Africa travel bucket list for 2021? Then chat with us to plan a seamless escape!

Some tips to help you plan for your trip to Zanzibar

  • Getting to Zanzibar

There are direct flights available from cities such as Dar es Salaam and Nairobi to mention a few.

  • A visa for Zanzibar

You need a tourist visa. These can be obtained on arrival in Tanzania but we encourage travellers to apply before travelling. Visa requirements and costs are subject to change so please check the Tanzania Immigration website for the latest visa information.

  • Do I need vaccinations for Zanzibar, and which shots are recommended?

Some vaccinations are recommended for Tanzania and Zanzibar. The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for Tanzania and Zanzibar:

Hepatitis (A and B), typhoid, cholera, yellow fever*, rabies, meningitis tetanus *Proof of a yellow fever vaccination is required if you are travelling from a country where yellow fever is present.

These are the some of the general guidelines recommended for travel to Zanzibar. We advise that you consult with a travel clinic or your doctor when planning your holiday to Zanzibar to ensure that you get the shots that you need.

  • Plastic bag ban

You cannot bring plastic bags to Zanzibar or anywhere else in Tanzania. There is a heavy fine in place.  Since June 1st, 2019, plastic bags were banned in Tanzania, including Zanzibar.

About the Author: Ruth Githaiga

Ruth is the Communication and Marketing Executive in Sense of Africa East Africa. She is passionate about reading, adventure, travel, socializing and listening to music. In addition, she loves doing voluntary work. She is driven by ‘you can live as if everything is a miracle’ hence giving the best shot in whatever she does.

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