On the pages of our beach travel offer, we hope to have already answered most of your questions. In the following, however, we have collected some answers to the questions we are frequently asked. If you would like to discuss other topics with us, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.
- The best season to travel Zanzibar and Tanzania’s coastal region
- Types of clothing and equipment to consider for beach vacation in Tanzania and on Zanzibar
- What to do on Tanzania’s coast or on Zanzibar
- Languages spoken on Zanzibar and Tanzania’s coastal regions
- Why do I need a visa to enter Zanzibar if I have already been in Tanzania?
- Which are the best means of transportation on Zanzibar and to get to the coast of Tanzania?
- Costs and tips
The best season to travel Zanzibar and Tanzania’s coastal region
Zanzibar is an archipelago located in the Indian Ocean on the east coast of Africa. The climate is equatorial and characterized by two rainy seasons, a major one in April and May, and a smaller one in November. The same applies to Tanzania’s coastal regions.
Tanzania’s coastal regions and Zanzibar can be visited year-round; however, we recommend avoiding April and May due to rainy and stormy weather. Whereas a safari during the rainy season can be a nice and refreshing experience (we have done so and would recommend it to anyone for several reasons), a nice day on the beach usually requires sunny weather. November can bring about some rainy days, however, can still be a nice period to discover the region.
Types of clothing and equipment to consider for beach vacation in Tanzania and on Zanzibar
The climate on Zanzibar and Tanzania’s coastal region is tropical year-round. Consequently, we recommend adapting your clothing to mostly warm and humid climate. During rainy season it can get slightly chilly at night, however, temperatures usually never drop below 15 degrees. You should rather expect to sleep under thin sheets when temperatures stay above 20 degrees Celsius also during the night.
Fine and light clothing which dries quickly is especially recommendable. That means, make sure to take enough shirts, shorts, swimming gear and sun-protection such as hats and sunglasses. During the rainy season we recommend taking some water-repellant clothes in addition. Whenever in doubt about how to dress, simply imagine you spend a nice and warm sunny summer day by the beach or lake next to your place. Besides flipflops and sandals, do not forget to also take solid shoes and a sweater to stay warm during your trip (inside airplanes it can be chilly).
Finally, make sure to bring band-aid against small injuries, creme against blisters (depending on how comfortable you are walking with wet feet in your sandals) and mosquito repellant.
What to do on Tanzania’s coast or on Zanzibar
We have put together a program which we believe is diverse and has something to offer for different types of travelers. You can find our travel propositions here. There are, however, other things to do which we have not explicitly considered in our proposals (e.g. kitesurfing or diving lessons). Should you wish to engage in one of these activities and cannot find them on our website, please do not hesitate to contact us – chances are, we can help you out!
Especially Tanzania’s coastal region is comparatively safe, as cities are smaller than in other parts of the country and less touristy. You will not have to worry too much about safety issues when relaxing on Ushongo Beach, which is a remote place and home to local fishermen. Be respectful with and move consciously though nature, however, as you might encounter unknown animals and also coconut trees can pose a serious threat when dropping their fruits.
Zanzibar is considerably more touristy than the coastal region of Tanzania. Hence, the type of tourism is different. Small crimes like pickpocketing are more common. Despite those, however, you can generally move safely around the island.
Languages spoken on Zanzibar and Tanzania’s coastal regions
Languages spoken on mainland Tanzania and on Zanzibar are largely similar. Swahili is the official language of both Tanzania and Zanzibar. English is spoken especially in touristy regions. Contrary to central Tanzania, on the coastal regions and on Zanzibar Arabic is spoken more often due to the stronger Arab influence during the past centuries. Consequently, most of the population in coastal regions is Muslim.
Why do I need a visa to enter Zanzibar if I have already been in Tanzania?
Because, despite the two states being closely connected, each has its own jurisdiction and president. Therefore, people entering Tanzania or Zanzibar need a visa for each of the two. Especially the visa procedure for Zanzibar is usually uncomplicated and are visas issued at local seaports or airports. Visa requirements for each of the two destinations are closely linked, so once you have completed the visa procedure for one destination, it will be easy to get the visa for the other.
Which are the best means of transportation on Zanzibar and to get to the coast of Tanzania?
There are different possibilities to get to Tanzania’s coastal cities such as Tanga or Pangani. Travelers arriving from international destinations are usually first flying to Zanzibar or Kilimanjaro international airport. From the major cities and airports in the country you can either travel to the coast using a small propeller-driven airplane (taking around 2 hours, depending on where you start and where you go) or a Jeep (around one-day drive from Arusha). Coastal Aviation is a good and reliable partner.
To get from Pangani to Zanzibar you can either take the boat which takes around 1.5 hours, or a propeller-driven airplane which takes around 20 minutes.
On Zanzibar, the easiest for tourists is to take a taxi. Prices are low compared to European standards (make sure not to agree to pay fixed prices or compare if you do so) and they are generally reliable means of transport. There are also specialized agencies that move tourists upon request in taxies or buses across the island. The local “dala dalas” (small busses that seemingly take ages to go from one place to the other and stop anywhere someone would like to get on or off) are another means of transport, however, which we recommend only to adventurous tourists.
Costs and tips
The costs for traveling Tanzania’s coastal regions and Zanzibar vary sharply according to the standard you are looking for and the activities you plan to undertake. If you are a budget traveler, you can easily find accommodation for around 10-15 USD per night on Zanzibar and live on 30 USD a day. However, a budget traveler will find it more difficult to get the same standards on Tanzania’s coast. Places are more remote, thus trickier to access and less touristy. They are thus more interesting for those who can afford to pay higher prices. Costs for activities also vary considerably depending on the type of activity and can range from USD 15 per person for village visits to more than USD 100 per person for safaris or sailing trips. Tipping is an important part of the salary of people working in the tourism industry. Unlike for safaris and climbs of Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru, however, they are less fixed and more depending on the goodwill of the traveler. When thinking about tipping, best consider the total cost of the activity and the average salary of people in the region which is usually less than USD 10 per day on average.