A Comprehensive Guide to the Zanzibar Island

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Zanzibar is a stunning island located in East Africa, where tourists can find beautiful flora and fauna, breathtaking landscapes, and a rich culture and history. In 2021, the glorious Zanzibar archipelago is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The region offers serenity, natural beauty, and a range of exciting, adventurous, and fun filled experiences that can allow travellers to enjoy an unforgettable trip! Here is a comprehensive guide to Zanzibar that can help you plan your trip, and explore the island. 

  1. Covid-19

Zanzibar is generally safe for visiting, because many areas are secluded and remote, and busy areas follow strict precautions. Wearing masks is compulsory in public places. Tourists must also sanitize and wash hands frequently, and it is a good idea to wear gloves. Most locations have regulations regarding social distancing. Although getting tested is not required to visit, tourists can get tested in centres at Pemba, Migombani, and Lumumba, for USD $80. The centre can deny the test if visitors do not have a valid appointment, so they can book appointments online at https://zanzibarcovidtesting.co.tz/app/home. 

  1. Language

Although many locals know English, especially in Stone Town and popular tourist spots, it is advisable to learn a few basic words and phrases of Swahili. As Swahili is an easy language, tourists can learn greetings and important questions. As most locals are Muslim, they can also learn to say Selam!

  1. Time

Many residents of Zanzibar use Swahili time, which tourists might not be used to. This means that they count time from sunrise, instead of midnight. To avoid confusion, guests should specify whether it is morning, afternoon, or evening, when setting up meetings and timings with the locals.

  1. Dress

Because Zanzibar is a conservative region, with most of its population being Muslim, it is important to dress modestly. Tourists should not wear revealing clothes, and should try to be as covered as possible. Respecting local customs is essential in having an enjoyable and enriching trip. At mosques, women should cover their heads, and bathing suits are only allowed at beach destinations. By following the dress code, travellers can avoid offending the locals.

  1. Locals

One of the best things about visiting Zanzibar is interacting with locals. The residents of the island are down to earth, friendly, and helpful, so interacting with them to share knowledge, and to learn about their culture is a great idea. Tourists should be respectful towards them, and should not photograph them without permission. They should not approach children, or give food or items to them without asking their parents for permission first. 

  1. Food

The local cuisine is a beautiful mix of African, Arabic, Turkish, European, and Indian influences, so it caters to all sorts of tastes and preferences. Tourists can enjoy delicious food items such as biryani, Zanzibar pizza, octopus curry, plantain soup (Mtori), date nut bread, chapati, coconut bean soup, kebabs, porridge (Uji), fried cassava, donuts (Mandazi), and Kuku Paka (spicy curry)! 

  1. Where to go?

Zanzibar is home to unique and breathtaking tourist destinations where visitors can enjoy a range of exciting and unforgettable experiences. 

  1. Nungwi Beach: One of the most beautiful and serene beaches of the island, Nungwi is an excellent beach destination where tourists can enjoy the scenic views, swim in the cool water, or enjoy a unique and unforgettable spa holiday at the Zanzibari hotel. 
  1. Mnemba Atoll: The heavenly Mnemba Atoll allows tourists to enjoy the extraordinary experience of snorkelling amongst the colorful coral reef. Tourists can enjoy the magical experience and spot marine creatures such as white moray eel, flounders, sea stars, octopuses, rays, pufferfish, and dolphins!
  1. The Rock: The Rock Restaurant is one of the most famous and unique locations in Zanzibar, as it is located on top of a rock in the middle of the ocean. Tourists can enjoy the extraordinary view, and eat dishes such as ravioli, Swahili spaghetti, fried calamari, grilled fish, prawns, lobster, shrimp, chicken skewers, crab, beef fillet, stir fry fish, curry, squid, and octopus salad!
  1. Jambo Spice Farm: As Zanzibar is also known as the Spice Island, it is a great idea to visit a spice farm, such as Jambo Spice Farm, where tourists can taste, smell, and observe spices such as cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, cumin, vanilla, green, white, and black pepper, coriander, and lemongrass. 
  1. Stone Town: Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where tourists can visit the Old Fort, built by Omani Arabs against the Portugese, or enjoy street food at Forodhani Night Food Market. Tourists can observe the architecture and visit historic landmarks.
  1. Prison Island: Tourists can take a relaxing dhow trip to Prison Island where they can spot giant tortoises, explore ancient ruins, and learn about the rich culture, and heritage of the region.
  1. Kizimkazi: At Kizimkazi, tourists can swim with bottle-nosed and humpback dolphins, in the crystalline waters. Tourists can also explore the Miza Miza Caves, which are believed to be enchanted!

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