Zanzibar is made up of two big islands, Unguja and Pemba, and some smaller islands.

Probably the name of Zanzibar derives from the Persian zanj, with which Persians indicated black people; zang-i bars would mean "Land of Blacks", another version tells that the name come from the Arabic zanjabīl, which means "ginger", one of the spices marketed by Zanzibar, but this version is not confirmed.

Zanzibar is known for many reasons. Because of the joint influence of the Arab, Persian and Bantu cultures, and of the frenetic commercial activity that linked Zanzibar to the Middle East and even to India and China, the archipelago is one of the most representative places of Swahili culture, whose language was for a long time the predominant one in trade between Asia and Africa.

The historical centre of the capital of Zanzibar, Stone Town, rich in architectural and historical evidence of Swahili culture, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Zanzibar is also a central place for slave trade in Africa, as well as the spice route, and even today part of its economy is based on the production of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and ginger. In the last few decades it has experienced a continuous development of the tourism sector, which exploits the natural, scenic and cultural heritage of the island.

About 97% of the population of Zanzibar is of Ibadi Muslim faith; the remaining 3% includes mainly Christians and Hindus.

Zanzibar is one of the most representative places of Swahili culture, born from the meeting of the Bantu populations of Central and Eastern Africa with the civilizations of the Middle East and Asia, and in particular of Oman, Persia, and India. The population speaks Swahili, but English is also widespread.

Much of the architectural, artistic and cultural heritage of Zanzibar is concentrated in the main town of Stone Town, where are located the ancient palaces of the sultans (including Beit el-Sahel and the Palace of Wonders), the fortifications of the Omani period, many mosques and other places of worship, and many other important examples of Swahili architecture. Stone Town is also the capital of taarab, the most traditional music genre of Swahili culture, which combines Swahili language texts and melodies, rhythms and instruments of Arabic and Indian inspiration.

Zanzibari cuisine is renowned for its unusual combinations of flavors, which reflect the eventful past of the island and the archipelago, combining and combining Arabic, Indian and European recipes, often modified to adapt to the typical local food products, linked to tradition coastal (fish and seafood) than to the agricultural production for export (spices, tropical fruit).

The equatorial geographic position causes a low temperature range during the solar year generating average temperatures around 25 ° C. The climate in Zanzibar is divided into two main seasons, two dry and two rainy. The dry seasons are from December to February and from June to October and are the hottest with temperatures reaching over 30 ° C, while rains cover the months from March to May (heavy rains) and the month of November (small rains) where storms, frequent and sudden characterize the wet seasons.


  • Documents and Visa

For EU citizens a passport with a residual validity of at least 6 months from the date of departure and at least two free pages for the stamp is required. To enter the island you must have an entry visa, you can buy it at Zanzibar airport, it costs 50 USD and it must be paid by credit card (the fare may be adjusted according to government and / or airport regulations).

If you travel with your children, they must have their own passport, regardless of their age.

  • Vaccinations and suggestion

No compulsory vaccination is required from EU, but it is always a good idea to take personal medicines with you and the most common medicines, easily available on the spot, such as intestinal disinfectants, broad-spectrum antibiotics, insect repellents and sunscreens. If you live in African countries, the yellow fever certificate will be asked by the airport customs on your entrance, even after your stay in Tanzania. Diphtheria, tetanus, polio, hepatitis A / B and typhoid are recommended.

To avoid sunburn, a very high protection sunscreen is strongly recommended.

  • Currency

The local currency is Tanzanian shelling but euro and dollars are also accepted. In Stone Town there are a lot of exchange offices. Banks are open from Monday to Friday form 8.30 am till 03.00 pm. Major credit cards are accepted by most of the business. In case of payment by credit card, a commission will be applied.


Please note that the Government of Tanzania has made an official note to travelers planning to visit Tanzania from 1st of June 2019, stating that all plastic carrier bags regardless of their thickness shall be prohibited from being imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in Tanzania. 

However, plastic or plastic packaging for medical services, industrial products, construction industry, agricultural sector, foodstuff, sanitary and waste management are not prohibited

Visitors to Tanzania are advised to avoid carrying plastic carrier bags or packing plastic carrier bag or items in plastic carrier bags in the suitcase or hand luggage before embarking on visit to Tanzania. Special desk is designated at all entry points for surrender of plastics carrier bags that visitors may be bringing into Tanzania


Plastic carrier items known as 'Ziploc bags' that are specifically used to carry toiletries shall be permitted as they are expected to remain in the permanent possession of visitors and are not expected to be disposed in the country.   

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P.O. Box 3085
Pwani Mchangani - Zanzibar