All you need to know before visiting Zanzibar


Zanzibar is one of the most affordable island destinations in Africa.

There is only one ATM in Zanzibar – it’s located in Stone Town. The ATM daily limit is usually 400.000 TSH (178.5 USD/145.9 EUR). A 5-15% credit card surcharge applies when paying by credit card. In Tanzania, they do not accept pre-2006 US dollars. Read more about the budget in Tanzania.

Zanzibar beach info

Accommodation prices range from relatively cheap to very expensive. Prices for private rooms start at 20 USD (16 EUR).

Food prices are cheap. Prices for a budget dinner vary from 3 USD (2.5 EUR) to 7 USD (5.7 EUR).

Transportation costs are cheap. Public transportation fares within the cities start at around 0.18 USD (0.15 EUR). A car rental is the fastest way to see the entire island. We have rented a car for 5 nights and we paid 125 USD (102 EUR). A one-way ferry ride between Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar costs 35 USD/28.6 EUR per person (a VIP ticket costs 50 USD/40.8 EUR).

To save some more money, check out our Budget cutting tips.

Zanzibar beach animals

Where to stay

You can find great accommodation options on Booking. Make sure to search for private rooms popular for romance. 😉 On Airbnb you can rent furnished apartments – those are usually cheaper than most hotels and they offer you the real Zanzibar experience.

Best time to go

The best time to visit Zanzibar is from June to October, or from December to February – during the country’s dry seasons. Visiting Zanzibar during its rainy season (from mid-March to late May) is a pretty bad idea. The prices may be a bit cheaper, but the weather is usually very bad. We were there in May and it was raining almost all day every day.

Zanzibar boat

Other information

Planning and preparation: check out our planning routine here.

Packing: check out the honeymoon adventurers’ ultimate packing list here.

♦ For other travel tips check out Travel like a pro, Travel for couples, Honeymoon styles, Honeymoon activitiesResponsible tourism, and Travel resources.

Language: The official language in Tanzania is Swahili. Many locals also speak English, Arabic, French or Italian. Check out the typical travel vocabulary (in English) here. Learn useful travel phrases in Swahili here.

Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TZS)

Zanzibar nature

♦ Visa or other entry requirements: All visitors to Tanzania are required to have a valid travel document. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your departure from Tanzania. Visa requirements depend on the traveler’s nationality. Citizens of most countries may obtain a visa on arrival. Cost: 50/100 USD. For more information check out their official website.

♦ Electricity standards: The power plug types in Tanzania are D and G, the standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

♦ Time zone: UTC+03:00

Immunization recommendations and requirements: There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Tanzania. However, it is recommended to get travel vaccines and medicines for tetanus, hepatitis B, typhoid, hepatitis A, rabies, cholera, yellow fever, and malaria. To prevent malaria avoid mosquito bites. The government of Tanzania requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival if you are traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (this does not include the US). Currently, Zika virus is a risk in Tanzania.

Prison island Zanzibar info

Health and safety tips:

You should always make sure to follow the usual travel safety precautions:

  • Leave your jewelry and other valuable belongings in the hotel safe.
  • Keep your emergency cash apart from the rest of your money.
  • Dress comfortably and carry only the items you will need for the day.
  • Don’t carry a lot of money.
  • Always make sure to lock your room before leaving the hotel.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Try to maintain a low profile and do your best to fit in.
  • Carry a travel wallet/money belt/money pouch for carrying money and documents safely.
  • Avoid contact with potential scam artists.
  • Avoid showing off valuable belongings (like cameras) in public.
  • Don’t count your money in public.
  • Keep an eye on your belongings at all times.

For other common safety concerns in Tanzania, check out Lonely Planet’s safety tips. For common health concerns check out Lonely Planet’s health tips.

To stay healthy while traveling, check out our health travel tips.

Tap water in Tanzania is not safe to drink. Drink boiled, bottled or filtered water instead.
* Always make sure to reuse a water bottle to cut down on waste.

• Zanzibar is very close to the equator and the sun is very strong. Therefore, always make sure to use sunscreen.

Happy tropical beach

Local Customs: Tanzanians are polite, respectful, and usually welcoming to foreigners. In tourist areas, touts are often somewhat pushy. When meeting someone personally a friendly handshake is customary; greetings between men and women depend on the nature of the relationship – a bow or a nod may suffice. Avoid wearing a bikini elsewhere than on the beach. In the rural regions and in Zanzibar revealing clothes (shorts and tank tops) and sloppy attire are frowned upon. Women are expected to dress modestly (skirts below the knees and shirts with sleeves). Bargaining is acceptable and sometimes even necessary. Tipping is expected and welcome in hotels, restaurants, and especially on safaris and expeditions to Kilimanjaro.

Check out top things to see and do in Zanzibar, as well as top romantic experiences and adventures here.