Zanzibar is an island partner within the United Republic of Tanzania, located in the Indian Ocean about 35 km off the coast of mainland Tanzania at six degrees south of the Equator. Zanzibar is made up of many islands, the main two being Unguja (sometimes called Zanzibar) and Pemba. The land is divided into three main areas, the plantation area, the coral rag area and the indigenous forests. The highest point is 390 feet above sea level. The population is estimated at around 1 Million, including Pemba and Mafia islands.
About 95% of the local population is Muslim. The remainders are Hindu or Christian and some with traditional beliefs. As well as many mosques, Stone Town hosts an Anglican and Catholic Cathedral and Hindu Temple.
Zanzibar experiences ideal holiday weather for most of the year, with
the exception of April and May, which are seasonally subject to the long
rains. Short rains can occur in November but are characterized by short
showers, which do not last long.
The heat of summer is seasonally often calmed by windy conditions,
resulting in pleasant sea breezes, particularly on the North and East
coast. Being near the equator, the islands are warm all year round, but
officially summer and winter peak in December and June respectively.
Zanzibar is blessed with an average of 7-8 hours of sunshine daily.
The population of Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim with a rich Swahili
culture. Because of religious and cultural traditions, dress code is
important, and men and women should dress appropriately when away from
the beach, covering shoulders and legs too below the knees. Beachwear on
the beach is fine, although nude or topless bathing is not tolerated.
When in villages or in Stone Town wears beach wear would (and does)
cause offense so try to wear loose-fitting, non-transparent clothing
when in public.
Zanzibar people are generally very warm, open and hospitable, and your
respect for permission before taking photographs or filming local people
is appreciated. Do not take photos or film at sensitive government
sites, including the State House, seaport, airport or military sites. If
uncertain, it is always better to ask.
Public consumption of alcohol is not permissible, except in hotels and
tourist areas, bars and some restaurants, where it is no problem.
Public displays of affection such as kissing are not customary and
generally considered offensive, unless behind closed doors.
Local customs should be respected. Mosques are sacred places and there
is generally no entry to non-Muslims, unless accompanied by a person of
the faith who can show you around except during the times for
congregational prayer, which are five times daily.
When offering or accepting things, try and remember to offer and receive
with your right hand. This is the hand which should also be used for
EXCHANGE OF CURRENCY
Banks, bureau de change and most hotels exchange cash travellers checks.
USD and GBP are preferred; however, other convertible currencies are
8.30am - 4.00pm MONDAY-FRIDAY
8.30am - 2.00pm
BUREAU DE CHANGE
8.00am - 6.00pm MONDAY -FRIDAY
9.00am - 1.00pm MONDAY-SUNDAY
9.00am 6.00pm MONDAY-SUNDAY
USE OF CREDIT CARD
Most Hotels, and some curio shops accept major credit cards i.e.
VISA, MASTER CARD
The official language is Swahili, but English is widely spoken.
95% of the population follows the Islamic religion; we therefore
request you to dress accordingly in public.
Bottled mineral water recommended.
is on the left. A valid international driving license is necessary to
Malaria is endemic in AFRICA and we stress the importance of taking
prophylactics prescribed by your Doctor and should be continued during
and after your visit; appropriate clothing to assist in covering arms
and legs to avoid bites is advised in the evenings.
JANUARY 1, JANUARY 12, GOOD
FRIDAY, EASTER MONDAY, MAY 1, PROPHET MOHAMMEDS BARTH DAY AUGUST 8,
DECEMBER 25, IDD-EL-FITR, IDD-EL-HAJ.
Zanzibar is no different from other parts of the Africa/World. Excessive
displays of jewelry or money will tempt undesirable elements. Do not
leave valuables lying around, use the facilities provided by the hotel.
Walking around in unfamiliar streets of the Stone Town during evening
hours with a camera is not recommended.