About Zanzibar

Matemwe Lodge Beach PicnicBeach Picnic at Matemwe Lodge
At one stage the island was controlled by the Arab Sultans and there was the time of the Portuguese explorers. Here you can enjoy the Turkish baths, view the Arab buildings in Stone Town or visit the Portuguese fort and gardens. Zanzibar is well known for water sports, the Spice Island Tours and a number of luxury hotels. Zanzibar covers an area of 1 464 square km.

How big is the Population of Zanzibar?

Zanzibar hosts just over 1,000 000 people on the Island. The population is 95% Black African people, with 5% being Asian, Arab and European.

Zanzibar time zone

Both Zanzibar and Tanzania are on GMT + 3.

Capital of Zanzibar

The capital of Zanzibar is Stone Town, a place where the past and present has mixed very well. Stone Town is an interesting mix of East African, Arab, Indian, Persian and European conquerors, traders and seafarers.

The city is filled with old buildings created in the different periods of time in Zanzibar. Being a small and busy island, the town does not provide the cleanest view, but it's interesting to see the markets, harbour, and mosques, and to dine at a few restaurants.

Climate and Weather of Zanzibar

Summer temperatures range from 20C/68F to 30C/86F, from December to March.

Winter temperatures range from 19C/66F to 25C/77F, from March to May. From June to October it gets very dry on the island with hot days and cool evenings. Late October through to mid December is pretty hot with small thunderstorms.

Local Currency

The unit of currency in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian shilling (Tsh).
Foreign currency is usually accepted in most establishments in Tanzania. Travellers cheques and cash are widely accepted.
Visa and MasterCard are accepted at all upmarket hotels and lodges.

Bank Business Hours

Zanzibar does not have any international banks. However, the local banks will readily exchange foreign currency. The banks are open from 9:00am to 16:00pm, Monday to Friday and closed on a Saturday and Sunday.

Tipping for Services

As in all other places in the world, at restaurants, the standard tipping is 10% of the bill.
For lodge and hotel staff, it usually is 10 - 15%.

Internet Connectivity

All the major hotels and resorts provide internet connectivity. Smaller out of the way lodges may not be able to offer connectivity.
But that the whole point of being on holiday anyway. To get away from "being connected" to reality. There are internet cafes in the town.

What plugs and power voltage is used in Zanzibar?

Zanzibar uses 220v, so you will need adapters if you are using a different voltage. Most hotels have adapters, butit is wise to bring your own, just in case.

Weights and Measures

Zanzibar makes use of Metric measurements.


Swahili is the official language of Zanzibar but English is widely spoken throughout the island. Arabic is spoken as well.

Cultures and Religion

Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim and filled with mosques. There are a few churches and temples for Christians and Hindus. Please do not enter the mosques if you are not Muslim.

Visa and Passport Requirements

When visiting Zanzibar, you should visit your local embassy to get details on your passport and visa. Depending on your nationality, you might be able to get a visa in Zanzibar or you might have to request it in your country.
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