GOOD TO KNOW:
- The water in Zanzibar is not safe for drinking and brushing teeth. Use bottled water.
- Tanzanian Shillings is the currency, currency exchange services are available around stone town or at the towns around the island. However to draw money, the ATMs are only in Stone Town.
- Credit cards are only accepted at major hotels travel agencies and restaurants, most shops and markets do not accept card payment.
- You can buy a SIM card from stores in Stone Town, costs about 10$ US for unlimited data for 30 days.
- From December to March the weather is hot and relatively dry, thats the high season.
- Electricity outlets, type G or D, see the picture.
It is very safe in the island. After arrival to my hotel, first the short wall drew my attention. On one side of this wall, one room costs around 70$ US, on the other side, people earn that money for a month. For such an harsh welfare system, the island is quite secure, as you can understand from the height of the wall.
HOW MUCH IN AVERAGE SHOULD I PAY FOR A PROPER HOTEL?
For about 50-70$ US, you can stay in a really nice hotel at the beach. No need to go over that value. However pay real attention to reviews on the portal you book your hotel. There are some badly organized and dirty hotels.
Many of the hotels are managed by foreigners: Japanese, Australian, Southafrican, İtalian, French. Which is a pity. Local people work at these hotels for really low salary which gives the impression of modern time slavery.
WHICH PART OF ISLAND TO STAY?
It depends. For swimming and parties, the north is good. Around Nungwi. For Kite Surfers east coast. I recommend to rent a jeep. It costs only 25 US dollars per day and it is big fun to drive through local towns, tropical trees. First I rented a real rubbish car, which was looking quite ok. but than caused lots of problems during the day. Be careful from whom you are renting. Below you see the contact of the one I was really happy about.
There is no paper work. You give the money and get the car and arrange per telephone how to give the car back at the last day.
ENGLISH IS ENOUGH?
Many English speaking people, even children speak English. For sure, some afford to learn local language is welcomed. Jambo (Hello) ! Habari (good morning) !. My first learned swahili words. Here are my teachers:
LOW TIDE/HIGH TIDE
The east coast of the island is under the influence of the Indian Ocean tides, caused by the effect of the moon's gravity against the mass of the ocean the east coast at low tide, the water is so shallow and far from the beach that you need to walk a while. You can rent a Vespa and enjoy the wide beaches.
One night in Zanzibar, at low tide, i saw fire in the middle of the sea, took my camera and walked there in shallow water, the fisherman was cleaning the hull of the dhow boat with fire. It was a peaceful moment, hearing only waves and fire...
TIPS FOR KITE SURFERS
High season is June-Sept and Jan and Feb, for kitesurfing (in December the wind is really low usually). You must stay at the east cost, especially in near to Paje and Jambiani, there are many kite schools where you can rent staff. You can also find nice trendy beach clubs, cafes.
You have to be careful about two points:
1) Due to low/high tide the level of sea changes a lot. So watch out where the people are kiting, do not risk any adventures alone in the beginning.
2) There are sticks in the sea (see picture), which are used by locals for gathering shell fish. Be aware that you can suddenly end up in a stick farm in the sea which might be quite dangerous.
For Kite Surfers I recommend "Red Monkey Lodge" in Jambiani and "Jambo Beach Bungalows" especially for famous friday night parties right at the beach. parties.
Ask a local about blue Laguna. It is about 20 minutes north from Paje.. It totally worths to go there and swim with the colorful fishes.