We chose to go to Zanzibar, Tanzania two years ago, totally on a whim. We had an issue with our visas in South Africa and had about 15 minutes to book a flight out of the country, so we pulled up Google Maps in search of a little East African island, and Zanzibar was the first we spotted, so off we went. We’ve now visited three times, and spent a total of six months frolicking around and we’re so far from finished with it.
Zanzibar Travel Tips – Why Zanzibar
Zanzibar is by far our favorite place out of the 40 countries and 100+ cities we’ve visited. It has everything we’ve ever wanted from gorgeous white sand beaches, to incredible food, to friendly people, to loads of colorful culture and history. In my opinion, there’s no better place than ZNZ. You can easily have your “vacation in a box” and chill at insanely gorgeous resorts day in and day out, OR you can dive into the nitty gritty that is this little African treasure trove.
Zanzibar Travel Tips – The Best Time to Go
The best time of the year to go is anytime of the year. We’ve been there three times, twice during rainy season in March-May (November is also a rainy time of year) and once in Oct-Nov and every trip was fantastic. Rainy season is actually quite nice because the rain comes and goes quickly, everything is green and lush, the temperatures are slightly cooler, and there are far less tourists around.
Zanzibar Travel Tips – How to Get There
Getting to Zanzibar via plane can be a bit pricey, so we suggest flying to Dar es Salaam and taking a ferry from Dar to Stone Town, Zanzibar. It’s a pretty chaotic experience, but fun if you like chaos! For most visitors, you can get your Zanzibar visa upon arrival for $50. There’s a number of inexpensive hotels and hostels on the island. No shortage of places to stay for budget travelers!
Zanzibar Travel Tips – Getting Around
The best way to get around the island for day trips is via motor cycle taxi AKA boda-boda. We prefer boda-boda over regular car/bus taxis (Dala dala) because it’s way cheaper and it’s much more fun than being in a hot bus packed full of people. The only issue with boda-boda is they appear to get stopped by police more which can be a hassle, but the police won’t bother you as a passenger.
Zanzibar Travel Tips – Be Modest
There’s one thing I can’t stress enough and that is modesty. Zanzibar is a conservative Muslim island, so don’t be THAT tourist, and be respectful of the local culture. Cover your shoulders, chest, and thighs when not on the beach. You and everyone else around you will feel much more comfortable!
Zanzibar Travel Tips – What to Eat
Dining in Zanzibar is pretty inexpensive, but there isn’t a ton of food diversity. One thing you absolutely cannot miss is urojo. Urojo is a local brothy lemon / mango / coconut soup, filled with boiled potatoes, fried potatoes, fried lentils, and then topped with a few skewers of freshly grilled chicken or beef, lime juice, and local crispy potato chip crumbles. Add one or two mystery, spicy chutneys to your liking. The best place to get it is from a street cart next to the Fort in Stone Town. If you can’t find it, ask anyone and they’ll point you in the right direction.
The Rock Restaurant
The famous restaurant, The Rock, has a very literal name. It’s perched up on a huge rock/coral in the water, just off the beach. You can walk to The Rock during low-tide or you can take a tiny little rowboat during high-tide. The food is pretty good, but it’s very overpriced, so we recommend that you go for a beer or glass of wine and enjoy the view. It’s a must!
Other good eats in Stone Town
Great Indian food at Silk Route, Six Degrees South is on the water with great people watching and excellent African fusion cuisine. They also have a good scene at night on their roof deck. Livingstons has a chill vibe, sometimes with live music, and the food is consistently good.
You can get great pizza at Taverna. Hurumzini Movie Café is a fun little spot with funky seating, a projector where they play movies, and awesome eats. Their fish tacos are bonkers! Most importantly, the local curries are fantastic. I couldn’t tell you a single restaurant name because many of them are unmarked, but just pop into any door that looks even remotely like a restaurant and you can’t go wrong!
Zanzibar Travel Tips – What to Do
There are endless activities on the tropical island, such as exploring the Coral Caves, Jozani Forest and the Prison Island where you’ll find 75+ giant tortoises walking around. I shall cover the MUST VISIT attractions during the next post. Stay tuned!
Thoughts from Chloe
Have I told you that Adrienne and Andrew is the coolest couple on earth? I first encountered them on Instagram and was immediately intrigued by their photos. They are the funkiest couple, taking the most exotic trips I’ve ever seen. When they travel, they go deep into the culture, often taking very off-beaten paths that few travelers will take. If you haven’t seen their journeys, follow them on Instagram at @byebyeadrienne & @heyheyandrew and check out their biography here. I’m sure you’ll like them right away too.