Whether you go to Zanzibar to see the home of Freddie Mercury to dive into a sea of aromatic spices or to relax true on the banks of the turquoise Indian Ocean, be prepared to fall in love with this island. Be prepared to want to go back there. We visited the island in January, during the short dry season or called “Summer” in Zanzibar. We were three friends, without a driver by an agency with us almost everything in advance we organize ourselves. No unpleasant surprises at the expense of culture shock, which (almost) be convened. When you talk to a local, you will understand that to be happy, the people there sometimes their long and a smile “Jambo”.
If you’re an emotional person, prepare for views of misery in the towns on the island. Prepare and beaming faces of local children who, by bike or mostly on foot, sometimes go a kilometers every day to go to school.
Visa formalities and Zanzibar airport
The airport on the island of Zanzibar is located about 5 kilometers south of the capital city of Zanzibar. When you land, you get off the plane and walk to target the airport building (do not expect minibuses). An important point when you enter is fill out a form which you will need to issue the visa on the spot. Themselves blanks were left in the lobby you will see them easily clustered in several places (has them in several languages, including English). Bring a pen, because there was no such general use.
When you’re done with that, you go to the checkout, where you will pay 50 USD. It is better to have your prepared amount in the bill on the whole, it is also important to wear and valid debit / credit card (preferably Visa, if you have), because we do not want to take our money cash and insisted to pay card. Arguing with the employee at the counter is difficult and is not recommended as it can finally to stay without a visa. When you pay, you go with your passport at the counter for passport control where you scan fingerprints and will prepare and put visa. When you pick up your luggage, do not pay attention to the guys at the airport who will want money to bring it to you. Give them a smile or give them a dollar – the choice is yours.
Airport in Zanzibar to your hotel
It is best to pre-arrange a transfer to your hotel. Most hotels in Zanzibar offer such a service. If you knew in advance before the airport you expect representative with a plate and get into seemingly old but clean and cool air-conditioned van. There will also be people who will want money to help with luggage – you know what to do.
Food in Zanzibar – what to try
Zanzibar is a destination for travelers, gourmets like me. Will otyadete of mango (most delicious freshly squeezed fruit I’ve ever tried!), Pineapple, Passion fruit, fresh coconut and whatnot. Seafood are amazing – lobster, crab, squid and all kinds of fish and sea creatures, which I can not pronounce the names. Unless you’re into that kind of food, you have two options: 1) not to visit Zanzibar in general; 2) to choose chicken or vegetable dishes as an alternative. From the drinks I tried several Tanzanian local beers that are light and pleasant. The wine is usually from South Africa and is wonderful. Cocktail with fresh mango and Tanzanian vodka or gin are obligatory for amusement to look at the ocean.
When to go to Zanzibar – a good time
– Dry season or “winter in Zanzibar” from June to October – sunny and dry weather (temperatures around 25 degrees)
– Season of “long rains” from March to May
– Season of “short rains” from November to December, and sometimes up to early January
– Short dry season or “summer in Zanzibar” – January-February to early March
Average temperature – about 26 degrees
Sightseeing tours of Zanzibar
I strongly recommend to plug in additional excursions on the island. They have several different and almost every hotel offering them. If you earn more willing for the same trip, the market price – it is quite normal practice in Zanzibar.
Tour Blue Safari (Safari Blue)
We joined the all-day tour Safari Blue, which I repeat and repeat myself. It is for lovers of boats, diving in lagoons to embrace one of the biggest baobab of the island, snack on seafood on the beach and sunbathing on the sand dune in the middle of the ocean.
Important: bring your money on this tour as the cheapest souvenirs can be purchased from the island where they will stop for lunch. If you love to dive, bring your own snorkel and goggles + flippers if you (there is also distributed free, but to me were great and diving was not very successfully); Put your pulled