Weather & climate
Zanzibar has a hot, tropical island climate. The coolest months are June to September with temperatures averaging 26 degrees. December to March temperatures can soar beyond 30. Short rains are in November, long rains April to June. All rainy seasons see showers in morning or afternoon with sunshine intermittent throughout.
Passports & visas
Like Tanzania, you will need a current passport with two blank pages and six months’ validity from the date you return home. You’ll also need a return air ticket and a tourist visa. Visas can be obtained in advance online here: https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa. Alternatively you can get a visa on arrival, however this is long process, taking in excess of two hours.
Consult your GP or a travel doctor at least six weeks before you travel. You may be required or recommended to get vaccinations for yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A & B, among others. Malaria is present in Zanzibar so malaria prophylactics are recommended. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for anyone entering Zanzibar from Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and South America. You may be denied entry into Zanzibar if you don’t have this proof of vaccination, so please carry your certificate with you and present to immigration.
Zanzibar has one airport, located approximately 15 minutes south of Stone Town. You can fly to Zanzibar on commercial international flights, or on light aircraft flights from neighbouring Tanzania and Kenya. We generally recommend spending a night or more in Stone Town on arrival.
There are a number of ways to get around Zanzibar. Private road transfers are best when going between accommodations and long distances, but keep in mind road conditions can slow you down. The streets in Stone Town are very narrow and not all can accommodate a vehicle, so sometimes your driver may need to park a little way from your accommodation and walk with you the rest of the way. When in Stone Town the best way to explore is on foot, wandering the winding streets, or by bicycle. A sunset dhow cruise is the perfect way to relax and admire the Zanzibar coastline.
Currency & language
The local currency is the Tanzanian shilling, and the US dollar is also accepted at many places. Credit cards are also accepted in hotels, but cash (shilling) is best for local markets and stalls. Swahili and English are the two official languages in Zanzibar.