Last week I posted Part One of this Ultimate Zanzibar Travel Guide so if you missed it make sure you check it out before reading Part Two! It has details on getting to Zanzibar, where to stay and so on, so don’t miss it! Let’s get into part two where I’ll share about things to in Zanzibar, an idea on wha to budget, food, nightlife and more! so let’s get into it shall we!
Things to Do
There are MANY activities to get into and this ultimate Zanzibar travel guide is gonna give you some of them AND costs! There’s a lot to do from dolphin spotting, snorkelling to kite surfing, cycling and so much more. You can look online for activities or you can just as easily ask the staff at your hotel or the taxi company that get you from the airport.
This is probably the most recommended activity in Zanzibar and rightly so! It combines a few things in one day like Dhow boat ride, snorkelling, swimming in the blue lagoon and more, into one amazing day! I think I’ll do a dedicated post to this day with details because it was absolutely awesome and all that awesomeness is too much to write in one paragraph. It was definitely one of, if not the best day of our holiday. We booked through Nicolas Zanzibar tour (I found his out when I was researching) and our guide was Amis (aka. Michael Angelo haha). Amis was THE best, such a great character and the nicest guy; he made the tour even better!
Cost = $50
Rent a Bike
Renting a bike is a great and easy way to explore your part of the island. Ride on the beach, down the coast, take in the views and interact with the locals which will undoubtedly stop to chat with you. You’ll probably be able to rent a bike through your hotel as we rented ours from our hotel for the day.
Quad Bike Village Tour
Now I never knew I was so horrible at driving quad bikes but wow, I’m abysmal! But it was such a fun way to interact with the village locals, understand village life, have fun with the children and generally enjoy the simplicity of village life. It was such a nostalgic experience because it reminded me a lot of my parent’s villages in Nigeria. If you’re sharing a quad (which is way cheaper), one of you will need to show a driving license, doesn’t need to be international and then both of you can drive it.
We booked this your through our hotel (Zanbluu) and it was with two local brothers in their dhow boat. We went to the coral reef and saw all kinds of marine life in their natural habitat. Then we went snorkelling and I can’t swim but the tide was high so I could stand in the water on the corals at the bottom haha. It was such a relaxing activity, I absolutely loved it.
Spice Tour– Take a fragrant walk through a guided tour on a spice plantation farm. Learn about Zanzibar’s spice trade history and the different spices grown that earn Zanzibar the name, the Spice Islands.
Walking tours are such a great way to get to know a city and it’s no different here. Take a walking tour around Stone town, go to the markets and see Omani architecture still prevalent in the town.
Tip- When booking activities/tours, don’t book online, instead wait till you get to Zanzibar and book with locals or through your hotel. It’s definitely a significant cost saving as there’s room for some negotiation, unless you’ve come up with a way to haggle with a computer haha! All the tours/activities we did were booked through our contacts at the hotels.
What to Pack/Wear
As I said in my last Zanzibar post, Zanzibar is a majority Muslim Island and as such a lot of the local women wear covered up, even when entering the water. There aren’t any clothing restrictions per se, on the beach of course you can wear you bikini or swimsuit, I certainly did haha! When I went into the village for a quad tour I wore shorts and a baggy top over it and I didn’t get stared at crazy. Topless sunbathing, however, is illegal so don’t do it!! I don’t imagine you’d want to know what the inside of a Zanzibar cell looks like haha.
In Stone Town, I definitely covered up a bit more. I wore a maxi dress one day and trousers & a t-shirt the next day. Ladies, I would suggest not showing too much skin here because it’ll make you feel uncomfortable with the stares and attention you’d get. Just generally be aware and respectful of the religion there and you should be fine.
Also Insect repellent is extremely necessary, those insects do not play!!
Food in Zanzibar
Zanzibar is called the spice island for a reason and as such you should look forward flavourful food from a mix of cultures that the island is known for. Expect a lot of coconut milk curries (the looove coconut milk here!), samosas, chapattis, corn and more.
In Stone town, there are a number of great places to eat but one not to be missed is Forodhani Night Market in Forodhani gardens, if for nothing else for the experience. It’s full of street food carts serving “Zanzibari Pizzas” (Chapattis stuffed with eggs, spices and chicken or with fruit or Nutella), Shawarma, fresh pressed sugar cane juice, seafood and more. We ate Shawarma from Alibaba Shawarma and wooow!! My friend said it was one of the best she’s ever had so look for it! I also had a Zanzibari pizza from Mr Mango while he told us how he inherited the table from his dad.
Big Tip: Weirdly enough people told us to avoid seafood here and so I’ll pass on that word of warning to you too. Apparently they’re not very fresh and lots of venders will try to get you to come to their stalls, telling you they have the freshest seafood in the market but remember you don’t have to go! Take your time and make your decision, don’t feel pressured and look out for the stalls that have lots of locals & tourists around buying food, they’re most likely the best place to eat.
Lukmaan’s Restaurant is another one that’s popular with both tourists and locals. It’s like a great big canteen with a massive variety of local food to choose from, most of the names I can’t even remember haha. I had heard/seen really good things so I was super looking forward to it but for me, I found the food just okay, nothing special at all. It’s super cheap so definitely still give it a try and make your own mind up, you won’t have lost much money if you don’t like it.
In the villages, there are lots of local restaurants that serve fresh food for really great prices. Also, most hotels or guest houses have really good restaurants attached to them so you could try them out.
The Rock restaurant is the only place I regretted not going to in Zanzibar! So picturesque, you’re literally eating on a rock in the Indian Ocean with the most beautiful views and the best seafood.
As it’s a majority Muslim island, alcohol isn’t readily available in the villages, unless it’s from your hotel, but it can be easily found in Stone town.
Zanzibaris love to party and so they’re nightlife is popping! We went out twice I think in Zanzibar, once in Bwejuu village and once in Sone town. Our first night there, after we got to our hotel we got a driver to take us to get some food and after he took us to a local party across the road haha! There are so many more but I’ve just kept it to these few to get you started.
In Nungwi, Gerry’s Bar is a perfect place to enjoy a laid back evening with good food and cocktails watching the sunset. They also host beach parties and live entertainment and it’s really a vibe.
10 minutes away from Nungwi, there’s a full moon party usually on the first Saturday (but not always) of every month in Kendwa called Kendwa Rocks. It’s one of the biggest parties on the island and every other Saturday they also host a beach party with grill, live performances and dance till sunrise. Its costs 20,000 TZS (approx. $9-$10) for entry to the full moon party and it’s free for residents of the Kendwa Rocks hotel.
In Paje, there’s the Jambo Beach Party every Friday hosted at the Jambo Beach Bungalows and costs $5 for admission.
There’s also the B4 Beach Bar in Paje that offers the ideal place to chill out in the evening with lunge chairs and cushions and dig into their incredible burgers and excellent milkshakes (which they’re famous for btw). They have a movie night on Friday and host an electronic/deep house beach party.(
In Jambiani there’s Coco Blue Night Club in Jambiani village and they organise live music events on Fridays and parties with a DJ on Saturday.
In Stone Town, check out the Africa House hotel that serves cheap beer and affordable food as you enjoy the sunset from the patio while the music plays in the back.
How much should I budget?
Not sure how much to budget for your trip, then the Ultimate Zanzibar travel guide to the rescue! BUT it’s quite a difficult question to answer haha because it depends on your disposable income and the activities you’re interested in. However I’ll go based on my experience because I’m not yet balling like that to be splashing the cash anyhow (I claim it though! Hallelujah somebody!!).
You could budget about $40-$50 per day to spend on food, taxis and little activities. Trust me you won’t spend that much in a day depending on the activities you want to do. For food, you could budget about $10-$20 per day, again this depends on where you stay; food in Paje is half the price of food in Kiwengwa for example! Eating local will definitely save you a lot of money. Eating local is a great way to keep costs low. You could budget about $170-$200 for activities for a week (based on the activities I did and then some change).
Book hotels that offer breakfast included in the price, you get to save money on breakfast. Apart from breakfast, I usually had one other meal later in the day.Almost every price in Zanzibar is negotiable, so sharpen your negotiation skills before you come! We were able to negotiate the price of our blue safari from $70 to $50!
Is it safe for tourists in Zanzibar?
The answer is yes! Rest easy knowing that the island is actually quite safe for tourists. Although it’s safe, common sense still applies so be cautious and avoid walking round at night, especially avoid walking on the beach when it’s dark and leave your valuables in the hotel. Be aware of pick pockets and be alert at all times! Avoid drinking tap water as it’s not safe to drink. If you have a sensitive stomach, be careful about eating fruits on the street or general street food; make sure it’s piping hot when you get it. You don’t want to spend half of your holiday with food poisoning puking your guts out.
Phones and Internet
I would say yes get a sim. If you’re spending a night in Stone town then you can probably get one when you go into the city, otherwise, you can get it at the airport. If you’re going direct to your beach resort then get your sim at the airport because you would be hard pressed to find one when you’re in the villages.Main reason for getting a sim is to be able to call or contact taxi drivers when you’re away from the hotel. It’s easy enough when you’re at the hotel but when you’re out and it starts getting dark, you would really need it.
Money & Other Things
For information on money, religion, hotels vs Airbnb’s, booking tours and more, please read my “Know before you go to Zanzibar” post for those very useful details.
These are all questions I asked or things I wondered about before travelling to Zanzibar and I hope it helps you whether it’s your first time travelling or you 100th trip!
If there are any questions you have or things you would like to add, this will be a live blog posts so it will be updated periodically so send them in, leave a comment on my Instagram, send me a DM or leave a comment below!
Until next time Biscuits,