Tanzania and Zanzibar Travel Tips
This post is about what to see and do in Tanzania and Zanzibar, in particular.
In my opinion (see author bio at the end), Tanzania is the most beautiful African country. It combines everything – from the white beaches of Zanzibar, the beauty of the national parks Ngorongoro and Serengeti, through the mighty mountain Kilimanjaro to the unique mixture of local tribes amongst which the most significant one is the tribe of the Maasai people.
Tanzania and Zanzibar Travel Tips
Many people want to visit Tanzania and Zanzibar. But what they need to know about it before the trip?
Zanzibar is an autonomous region of Tanzania and inherits a previous country with the same name. It is situated on the Zanzibar Archipelago in the western part of the Indian Ocean. Includes two large islands – Zanzibar (or Unguja) and Pemba as well as several smaller islands.
Zanzibar is a very touristic destination and everywhere you can pay with US dollars. However, it is more beneficial to use the local currency that is Tanzanian Shilling.
The local people who are involved in the tourist industry speak English and Italian.
Zanzibar’s Unique Culture
Zanzibar’s culture is unique because of the mixture of the different sub-cultures. A combination of European (British and Portuguese), Arabic (Oman Sultanate) and, of course, the African, make the place interesting for a visit. All these cultures are beautiful and intriguing but what you need to keep in mind is that this is a previous British colony. So, the driving is on the right side.
What to Do in Zanzibar
Zanzibar is great for boat tours and snorkelling as well as spending your vacation leisurely on the beach or next to the pool. If you like partying, you should check for the beach parties as well as for the Full Moon Party.
Here’s the moment to mention that the hotels and the guest houses in Zanzibar are stunningly beautiful with their traditional architecture. But outside their magical spaces, don’t be surprised to see extreme poverty and people live in shacks.
Stone Town, the Heart of Zanzibar
We toured the Stone Town for a day. You will find it in the so-called Zanzibar City, and it is magnificent to visit. It special appearance comes from the colonial architecture with different influences. Here you will find the home of Freddy Mercury, the frontman of Queen, who lived here as a child with its family, immigrants from Iran.
Stone Town is the historical centre of the Zanzibar City. It is, without a doubt, an interesting and picturesque place with significant importance in the past of East Africa. Zanzibar was the capital of the Zanzibar Sultanate, which was part of the Portuguese Empire. Later, it was ruled by the Sultan of Oman and much later, was part of the British Empire.
Visit the Zanzibar’s Local Market
During the 19th century, Zanzibar flourishes as a trade port, especially because of the export of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and other spices, ivory, and gold. It also becomes the main hub for the trade with African slaves. Here, I want to clarify something important. It is not the white people who have started the awful slave business; it was the people of Africa themselves. It was a tradition for the various warring tribes to sell the captives for a ransom. So, this was the beginning of the slave trade.
We visited the local market. It is a crowded place but there you can find very interesting goods like teas and spices at acceptable prices. But you have to be good in bargaining! People on the market were very kind and friendly but be aware that shopping there is not like in a mall! It is an exhausting experience, especially because of the heat.
Nature Reserves and Activities
Visit the incredible Prison Island where you can see giant turtles that are unique for the place. Today, the island is a natural reserve for the terrestrial turtles whose original homeland was Seychelles. Some of the turtles are two hundred years old and eat 50 kg of greenery a day.
Another interesting place is the Jozani Forest Reserve. There you can see the Zanzibar red colobus, a monkey that is found only here.
Something funny and memorable that you can do in Zanzibar is to swim with dolphins. You can rent a boat with a local guide. He will bring you to the place where the dolphins gather to eat and play. Be fast to jump in the water before they go away.
Dar es Salaam
There is a luxurious ferry connecting Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, the unofficial capital of Tanzania. It is the economic centre of the country and a starting point for visits to the national parks Serengeti, Mikumi, Saanane Island and Lake Victoria.
Dar es Salaam has beautiful houses, churches, and mosques. The Masaki Suburb, popular with expats, is a pleasant part of the city. For people enjoying nights out, the city has what to offer.
Warning: Crime Rate is High
In Dar es Salaam you can use bajaji, a vehicle similar to the Asian tuk tuk. You can reach every place in the city with it.
This is the place to mention that the crime rate in Dar es Salaam is high. Hide your money to protect them from pickpockets. In case you are attacked, give the money to the racketeers to prevent further escalation.
In case you decide to visit Dar es Salaam, you need yellow fever vaccination. For Zanzibar, you do not need such.
Tanzania is one of the best destinations for the adventurous traveller who wants to know and see more from Africa. It is the best if you can spare at least 20 days to fully enjoy what Tanzania and Zanzibar have to offer. The must-see spots are Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam and the parks Kilimanjaro and Serengeti.
ADD TO PINTEREST
Sunny Stefanova. She is an avid traveller who dares to travel to countries that not many women are ready to visit. Sunny has many practical tips to share with the female travellers on this site.
Read another of her articles:
Go on a traditional or cycling safari, visit the villages of Tanzania. Follow the spice route in Zanzibar, go on a walking tour in the Old Stone Town and more …
Check the available tours and transfers on Viator.
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