Things to know before your trip to Zanzibar

So you have your flights and accommodation booked and you’re ready for your trip to Zanzibar – excellent! To help you be extra prepared, I’ve shared some points to keep in mind before you travel.

Save this link for your trip and share it with friends and family who have Zanzibar in their travel plans. Ok let’s dive into it.

Take care of your health while in Zanzibar

Zanzibar is in a Malaria endemic area so you will need to get Malaria prophylaxis and start taking them before you depart to Zanzibar. You can get a prescription from your GP or from a travel doctor. Additionally to that, get mosquito repellent and apply it every night.

You won’t be able to resist the variety of fresh tropical fruit in Zanzibar. Just make sure that the fruit has been cleaned before you eat it.

And lastly, if you are prone to motion sickness, take some motion sickness pills with you to prevent sea sickness during boat rides.

How to handle money in Zanzibar

The currency used in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian Shilling. US dollars are also used interchangeably. In terms of which currency to purchase with, I didn’t find it made a difference whether I paid in shillings or US dollars as they would convert prices using the current exchange rate.

I would advise changing your currency to US dollars instead of Shillings because US dollars can be used in other countries too and because of the relative stability and strength of the dollar.

You will need cash to purchase at markets and you may need cash to pay for excursions and transport. If staying in Uroa, for example, there are not any ATMs easily available. You would need your transport to stop at an ATM on your way to an excursion to get cash. To avoid this, exchange money before your trip. You can do this at your bank or at the airport.

ATMS in Zanzibar charge 15400TSH per withdrawal (price based on May 2019 rates) so rather withdraw a large amount at once than multiple small amounts.

What to pack for your trip to Zanzibar

Remember the following items: a cap or hat, a beach bag, sunblock, comfortable walking shoes, mosquito repellent, swimwear and a conservative outfit to wear while in Stone Town. The ocean is crystal clear so you may want to bring a camera that you can use underwater while snorkeling.

If you will be needing to use electronics that require a 3 pin plug then remember to pack a round to square adaptor.

If you will be needing an iron, ask if there will be an iron available at your accommodation so that you know whether to pack one. At Uroa Bay Beach Resort they charge for ironing – per item!

And lastly, for environmental protection reasons, plastic bags are banned in Zanzibar so please don’t take any to the island.

Stay connected while in Zanzibar

All you need to purchase a SIM card in Zanzibar is your passport. It’s easiest to get this done at the airport when you arrive. I opted for a SIM card with a 2GB data package that cost 9000 TSH (about R60) in May 2019.

Choose accommodation that has WiFi and read the hotel’s reviews to see how previous guests rated the WiFi quality.

What to do in Zanzibar

Zanzibar is one of my favourite destinations. For me, the natural beauty of its beaches set it apart. I have been there three times now and I am just as excited to go back again and again.

You’ll find that you have a lot to choose from so read about the top 3 things to do in Zanzibar to make sure you don’t miss out on the best this island has to offer.

I organized and hosted a group trip to Zanzibar in 2019 for 10 women through my company, Gophari Travel. To get a glimpse into what to expect from a Gophari Travel group trip, visit my Instagram page (@Gophari) and watch my Zanzibar story highlights.

I hope you will be coming with next time! Join my Gophari Travel mail list to be first notified about all upcoming group trips.