Zanzibar: What to do, where to go and things to see
Zanzibar; an island of tropical beauty, vivid colours, exotic wildlife and sensational history. This island in Tanzania is in East of Africa, and has a history spanning nearly 20,000 years. But, for many Zanzibar is the ideal holiday destination, scattered with palm-fringed beaches and nestled amongst the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. It doesn’t matter what your dream holiday is Zanzibar offers a slice of paradise for everyone, whether its enjoying a spice tour and trying different foods from local vendors to diving beneath the waves, to just lying back on a beach and watching the world go by. Are you ready to book your flights yet? Before you do we have some information on Zanzibar to help you navigate your way around this African-paradise.
Zanzibar’s native language is Swahili, and it's unlike anything you'd hear in Europe. But, it’s a language that is spoken throughout Tanzania. Luckily you don’t have to be fluent to visit the island of Zanzibar. In the highly popular areas most of the residents can speak English, however, if you stray into lesser visited areas, you may struggle through some very awkward conversations. Luckily, we have put together some helpful phrases to help you out of any potentially embarrasing situations.
- Hello = Jambo / hujambo / Salama
- How are you? = Habari gani
- Goodbye = Kwa heri / Kwa herini (more than one person)
- See You Later = Tutaonana
- Nice to meet you = Nafurahi kukuona
- Goodnight = Lala salam
- Yes = Ndiyo
- No = Hapana
- Thank you = Asante
- Please = Tafadhali
- Excuse me = Samahani
- You're Welcome = Starehe
- Can you help me? = Tafadhali, naomba msaada
- What is your name? = Jina lako nani?
- My name is = Jina langu ni ...
- Where are you from? = Unatoka wapi?
- I'm from ... = Natokea ...
- Do you speak English? = Unasema kiingereza?
- Where is the ... = ni wapi ...
- Airport = uwanja wa ndege
- Bus station = stesheni ya basi
- Bus stop = bas stendi
- Taxi stand = stendi ya teksi
- Train Station = stesheni ya treni
There are many different ways to travel around Zanzibar, the dala-dala are the most economically friendly way to see the island. The minibus service costs as little as £1.14 per person. You can also take a shared taxi to where ever you’d like to go, they cost around £10 per person and regular taxis will be considerably more. However, the best way to see the beauty Zanzibar has to offer is to rent your own car. It gives you the freedom to see everything on offer from the exotic monkeys scampering around, to the paradise-like beaches, there’s so much to see.
Zanzibar definitely has it all character, colour, delicious foods and picturesque scenery. It can’t get any better, right? Well, it can, as is far more affordable than you might think. The average price of a three-course meal for two people, including a bottle of wine will cost you around £20, a pint of beer is as little as 78p and a litre of petrol will cost around 70p.
Things to do
This Tanzanian island is home to some fascinating sights and there’s so much to see, it doesn’t matter what you want to see, Zanzibar offers a little something for everyone. Stone Town is the perfect day trip and it’s the hub of Zanzibar, a place to experience the true vibrancy of the country and wander through the winding, cobbled streets and Arabic-styled buildings. There's something new around every corner. But, if your fascination lies in the stunning surroundings, a trip to the Jozani forest may be for you. A vast and scenic woodland and the last indigenous forest located in Zanzibar. Or, you could try something completely different and take a trip to Prison Island, located half an hour from Zanzibar. It was a place once used for detained slaves and after slavery was abolished it became a camp for those with deadly diseases. Today it’s used as a reserve for giant tortoises and a reminder of Zanzibar’s dark past.
Food and drink
Be prepared for a variety of flavours, as Zanzibar’s cuisine reflects the islands multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nature. There are many influences on the food you’ll eat including Bantu, Arab, Portuguese and even Chinese. Food is a big part of the culture and expect to be served plenty of food with unique charm and flavour, unlike any you’ll find in the rest of the world. Expect to taste an abundance of fresh seafood, caught that morning and dishes spiced to perfection from locally grown chilli. You will find so many exciting flavours, including green coconuts, sold on the streets from bicycles, slashed open by a machete so you can get to the sweet, refreshing juice inside. But if you plan on dining in Zanzibar, there are a few things you should know. Many restaurants do not serve alcohol and, if you want to eat as the locals do, use your hands instead of the cutlery.