Stone Town is famous for its narrow alleyways, massive carved doors and covered balconies.
This is a wonderful place for just wandering around. There are some fabulous markets and shops. You will lose your bearings here
for sure, but getting lost in Stone Town is normal, fun and harmless. All roads eventually lead to the waterfront, so you won't stay lost
for long, and the local people, adults and children, are used to helping visitors find their way. This is a safe place to wander during
the day - but best avoided at night.
Respect local custom by keeping your knees and shoulders covered when not on the beach.
This applies to men and women.
If you want to take photographs of local people - ask their permission first. This is an Islamic country, and it is extremely disrespectful
to take photographs - especially of women - without asking their permission.
Spices, kangas, antiques and local crafts are the things to buy here. Tinga-tinga paintings, woodcarvings and woven goods make far
better souvenirs than the usual rubbish on sale in most tourist resorts. Gizenga Street is a good place to start, but the entire town is
filled with excellent shopping opportunities.
Kangas, the local cloth worn by women over their dresses and covering their heads, are a popular purchase.
They are available in every possible colour, and they always have a Swahili Proverb written on them.
Spice baskets are another "must buy" - This is after all The Island Of Spices.
The local currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TSh) and it can be used for all transactions and local purchases. Us Dollars are also
widely accepted. Credit cards are OK at large hotels and restaurants. Cash Points (ATMs) allow cash advances - but at a poor rate
and with an additional charge. Travelers Cheques are accepted at large hotels and restaurants and can be exchanged for local
currency at Bureaux de Change - you'll need your passport as ID.
Wherever wealthy tourists and poor locals mix - there is a potential for crime.
Zanzibar is a low-crime area. Nobody will trouble you in a crowded place - thieves are badly beaten or even stoned by the locals if
they are caught. But precautions should be taken nonetheless. Do not flaunt your superior wealth by displaying valuable
possessions. Do not "flash your cash" where everyone can see it.
Do not walk around Stone Town at night. Observe these precautions and you will have no problems.
As well as the obligatory Yellow-Fever vaccination, it is a good idea to take precautions against Malaria. Consult your doctor about the
best malaria prevention tablets. Make sure you have sufficient medical insurance - hospitals here are none too good, and if you get
sick you may need to be flown to the mainland or even all the way home - this is expensive! Take plenty of mosquito-repellent and
use it - especially at night.
Top Ten Africa Vacations
Zanzibar is a small group of islands in the Indian Ocean, around 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast.
Just 6° south of the equator, this is a truly tropical destination.
The main island - Zanzibar Island (known locally as Unguja) is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide.
It is a place of stunning sandy beaches, colourful coral reefs, warm turquoise waters, turtles, whale sharks, tiny fishing villages,
traditional African sailing dhows, coconut trees, banana groves, and the irresistible aroma of exotic spices.
Stone Town - the oldest town in East Africa, is a joy.
All visitors entering Tanzania or Zanzibar require a visa. You can obtain a visa on arrival at Dar-es-Salaam or Zanzibar airports. At the time
of writing, a visa costs around $50 US, and must be paid for in cash.
You will also need proof that you have enough money for your length of stay, and a ticket for your return journey.
A Yellow-Fever vaccination certificate is also essential if you are entering from an infected area.
Your passports should be valid for at least six months from date of entry.
When To Come
Apart from the monsoon season (April to June) Zanzibar is an all-year destination.