Zanzibar is warm and sunny all year long. The temperatures drop slightly in April and cooler evenings, yet still no less than 22°C (72°F), may occur until late July. During this time, a sweatshirt may come in handy. The best overall choice are thin, breathable fabrics. For women, the best way to go are colourful sarongs which are tied over a bathing suit. Topless sunbathing is prohibited. For men, loose-fit shorts, thin cotton t-shirts and linen shirts will work best. Outside the area of the hotel and the beach, knees and elbows should be covered. The best all-round footwear are flip-flops. It is advisable to wear wet shoes in the water; in some areas you may encounter sea urchins, and low tides may uncover a rocky seabed. Straw hats or baseball caps are recommended to protect your head during walks.
Tanzanian shilling (Tsh). Many places accept US dollars. Current exchange rate (April 2019): 1 USD = 2350 Tsh; 1 EUR = 2600 Tsh.
There are only a few ATM in Zanzibar, mostly in Zanzibar City – the capital and only town. Recent additions include a machine in Paje (south end of the island). Cards (mainly Visa and MasterCard) are only accepted in hotels, upmarket restaurants and tourist shops, with a markup of up to 6%. The best place to exchange money is Stone Town; there are no cash exchanges outside of town and the hotels that offer this possibility have a less favourable exchange rate. The best rates will be achieved by exchanging 50 and 100 dollar bills; lower denominations will get a less attractive rate. It is advised to have a few dollars in small change for minor expenses and tips. Make sure these are in post-2006 bills. With the exception of 1 dollar, older bills are not accepted. Dollars are more popular on the island than euros.
In the event of trouble, it is best to contact the nearest embassy or consulate of any EU member state. Dar es Salaam hosts embassies of nearly all European countries; moreover, Zanzibar is home to honorary consulates of Sweden, Germany, Norway and Denmark http://www.embassypages.com/tanzania
Zanzibar is a Muslim country. 98% of its residents profess Islam – after Christianity, the world’s second largest monotheistic religion. The holy scripture of Islam is the Quran and its revelation is the final and unchangeable message of God to people. Islam is based on five rules and obligations: faith in one God, five prayers per day, fasting during Ramadan, almsgiving and a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
Being in Zanzibar, out of respect for the locals and their culture (as well as for your own convenience) it is advised to observe a few basic rules: with the exception of the beach, cover your elbows and knees (applies to both women and men), do not sunbathe topless (also within the hotel area), do not drink alcohol or publicly display affection. These rules must be observed particularly strictly over the course of the Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and a holy time for all Muslims. Each Muslim above 10 years of age is required to observe a strict fasting regime for 30 days from sunrise until sunset. No food, drink, tobacco or sex are allowed. A lot of time is to be spent on prayer. The last meal before the next day of the fasting is eaten before dawn. When the call for morning prayer sounds, they refrain from eating or drinking until sunset.
During Ramadan, life on the island slows down even further. It is difficult to get any matters handled by local administration, also shops tend to close early. All street stands with food and drinks are closed until sunset. A number of restaurants also close, and those still open will only offer food inside, with no eating in gardens or on terraces. Locals do not look gladly to tourists who eat or drink in the street during Ramadan and it is not advised. In the event of a necessity, you can always hide in the car or e.g. a changing room in a shop to drink some water.
Ramadan starts on a different date each year. In 2019 it will be 6th May, and 24th April in 2020. The end of Ramadan is widely celebrated over the course of a few days.
Zanzibar is largely a safe place. Still, as anywhere else, petty theft occurs from time to time. It is not recommended to leave your personal items unattended; the same applies to electronic equipment, wallets and jewellery lying in plain sight. Money and valuable items are best stored in the hotel safe. After sundown, it is best not to tempt fate by walking alone and returning from night-time parties in large groups is recommended.
Official language: Swahili, English
Timezone : GMT+3
AC: 220 - 240 V, 50 Hz (same as Europe)