Zanzibar

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Zanzibar Money-Saving Tips

Necessary Docs

Get your Tanzanian visa on arrival at the Zanzibar airport or, better, in advance at a Tanzanian embassy. If you're arriving after a stay in Kenya or other yellow-fever areas, you'll also need a yellow fever vaccination card.

Hakuna Matata

The Swahili spoken on Zanzibar is considered one of the most pure forms of the language. Most hotel staff know English, but learning a few Swahili phrases makes Zanzibar travel more fun.

Buzzing Around

Zanzibar's tropical temperatures are conducive to mosquitoes and, unfortunately, malaria. Arrange anti-malarial medicine with your doctor before traveling and sleep under the nets provided by most hotels (be sure to pull them closed!). No nets? Air conditioning can minimize bites.

Ramadan

Most Zanzibaris are Muslims. During the holy month of Ramadan many restaurants close, and it's respectful not to eat or drink in public places. Since the holiday follows the Muslim lunar calendar as opposed to the western Gregorian calendar, exact dates vary from year to year – in 2017 the holiday occurs from May 27 to June 25; in 2018 it takes place from May 16 to June 14. Year-round, many establishments on Pemba and some on Zanzibar shut for Friday mid-day prayers.

Hassle Free

Planning a trip to Stone Town? Hire a guide through your hotel to minimize being hassled by touts (locals call them papasi, or ticks).

Prickly Topics

When walking on the beaches, watch out for sea urchins, which deliver painful, slow-healing cuts.

Cover up

Rays on the equator are intense. Wear high-SPF, waterproof sunblock, drink plenty of water, and stay in the shade at mid-day.

Festivals

Stone Town is the place to be - in February for the Sauti za Busara music festival (www.busaramusic.com), and in July for the Zanzibar International Film Festival (www.ziff.or.tz). Book accommodations well in advance.

Taking a Break

Take time out for a spiced coffee at one of Stone Town's many coffee houses. Our favorites: Zanzibar Coffee House (www.riftvalley-zanzibar.com) in the Hurumzi area and Archipelago (Shangani St.), with views over the harbor.

Taarab Music

Taarab is the signature music of the isles. Head to the terrace of the Zanzibar Serena Inn on Friday evening for a sampling, or stop by the Dhow Countries Music Academy for information on upcoming concerts (www.zanzibarmusic.org).

Zanzibari Cuisine

Cuisine in this crossroads of cultures is a delight — with Arabic, Indian, and African influences. Local specialties typically feature seafood and fresh tropical fruits flavored with coconut and a potpourri of spices.

Dhow Trips

The archipelago is famed for these graceful sailing vessels, and a sunset cruise offshore from Stone Town is a must. Sort things out with your hotel or a travel agency.

Travel Advisories

Keep abreast of the latest travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State, but don’t let them scare you away from a visit.

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