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The Jewel of the Indian Ocean
“I NEVER KNEW OF A MORNING IN AFRICA
WHEN I WOKE UP AND WAS NOT HAPPY.”

- Ernest Hemingway

ZANZIBAR
ISLAND

The small Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar, partner state to the United Republic of Tanzania, is a cultural melting pot of African, Arabic and Indian cultures.  It is renowned for its spice and slave trades - at one stage being controlled by the Arab Sultans, and later the Portuguese explorers.

The island  is easily accessible by ferry or a short scheduled flight from Dar es Salaam.  In addition some international carriers fly directly to Zanzibar.

Known as the "Spice Island" Zanzibar and its nearby neighbour Pemba, grow almost 80% of the world's supply of cloves.  An enticing variety of other spices are also produced which can be seen on fascinating tours to the spice farms.

In Stone Town the historic Arabic influence is revealed in the narrow streets and characteristic architecture.  Visit the Zanzibar Museum, the Arab Fort, the Sultan's Palace and don't miss the craftsmanship on the many beautifully carved wooden doors.

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In addition to the attractions of Stone town, Zanzibar is well know as a beach paradise with fine white sand and warm seas.  Zanzibar's spectacular turquoise ocean is full of marvellous marine life and exquisite coral formations. The scuba diving off the coast is spectacular and is often the draw card for many visiting the region.

JAMBIANI
VILLAGE

Welcome to Jambiani on the south east coast of Zanzibar, 100km from mainland Tanzania.  

Jambiani is one of the oldest fishing villages on the island and one of the best places to appreciate the relaxed and easy-going attitude of the friendly islanders.
  
The picturesque coastline stretches for about 20km - a white sandy beach fringed by coconut palms overlooks the Indian Ocean with it's amazing colours, blending gently from pale to deep turquoise all the way to the horizon.

The village is home to 5,000 people, most of whom are fishermen or farmers who cultivate seaweed, coconut, banana and cassava.

After a daytime trip in a dhow or snorkelling on the reef,  amble through this traditional village where smiling children will run to greet you with a friendly chorus of "Jambo Mambo!" whilst the women will be busy collecting the last seaweed washed up by the waves.

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Stunning sunrises, bicycle rides, happy faces, fishermen and boats, unmistakable Masai figures and delicious seafood will be the memories you take home.  And don't forget to look out for the endemic red colobus monkey as you pass by Jozani Forest on your way to Jambiani.

THE PRACTICALITIES

Just like elsewhere on the globe, whilst crime is not a big issue, it is advisable to be aware of your belongings at all times and to avoid walking alone on the beach at night.

Make sure you have copies of all your travel documents with you and keep your valuable items in a safe at the hotel.

1.
CLIMATE

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Summer temperatures range from 20°C/68°F to 30°C/86°F (November to March) with very high humidity. 

Winter temperatures range from 19°C/66°F to 25°C/77°F (June to August).

June to October is very dry with warm days and cool evenings.  Late October through to mid December is hot with small thunderstorms possible.

Rainy season (heavy rains) is mid-April to mid-May.

2.
MONEY

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The unit of currency in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh) but US$, Euro and other major foreign currencies are usually accepted in most establishments in Tanzania.

Visa and MasterCards are accepted at all upmarket hotels and lodges.

Banking hours are 9:00am to 16:00pm, Monday to Friday.  Zanzibar does not have any international banks, however local banks will readily exchange foreign currency.

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

3.
INTERNET & PLUGS

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All the major hotels and resorts provide internet connectivity.  Smaller, out of the way lodges do not always offer connectivity.  There are internet cafes in Stone Town.

Zanzibar uses 220V.  Most hotels have adaptors on loan but it is wise to bring your own to ensure your specific plug configuration and quality of the adaptor.

Zanzibar uses British Standard 3-pin plug points.

4.
CULTURE & LANGUAGE

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Swahili is the official language of Zanzibar but English is vey widely spoken throughout the island.  Arabic is also spoken.

Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim and thus dotted with mosques.  There are a few churches and temples for Christians and Hindus.  Please do not enter any mosque if you are not Islamic.

Out of respect it is unacceptable to wear skimpy and revealing clothing in public, and particular attention to modesty is expected during the Holy Month of Ramadaan.  It is also iladvised to display physical affection or to smoke in public.

Always ask permission before taking photos of people.  Please do not take photographs of sensitive areas such as military, naval, government and police buildings and procedures.

5.
VISAS & MEDICAL

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Before visiting  Zanzibar you should check with your local embassy regarding the required visa and travel documents.  Depending on your nationality you may be able to get a visa in Zanzibar or you might have to apply for it in your own country.

A Yellow Fever certificate is definitely required - you will not be allowed entry into Tanzania without it.  Malaria precautions are also strongly advised.

Make sure to consult your doctor regarding any immunizations you may require for your trip.

If you require specific medication, please bring an ample supply as the hospital services are not up to international standards.

Drink bottled water only.

6.
PACKING

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Zanzibar is an island destination, so you only need casual and semi-casual clothes.  It is advised to bring something warm for early mornings and the evenings.

In public places men should not go around without a shirt, and women should cover their knees and shoulders.  However inside resorts and on the beach women can wear shorts, swimwear etc., however nudity is definitely not accepted.

It is advisable to pack light cotton trousers, skirts and shirts, shorts, comfortable shoes and sandals, sun hat and sunglasses, bathing suit, insect repellent and sunblock.