What Not To Do in Zanzibar

  • Don’t say yes to the first price, however good the deal sounds, I am pretty confident in saying you will find better
  • Don’t forget sunscreen, buying sunscreen on Zanzibar usually means you’re buying someone elses old suncreen bottle filled up with god knows what. Better to bring your own.
  • Don’t forget cash – There is NO ATM unless you’re in Stone Town or Paje, if there is some petition one could sign to get one in Nungwi please send it our way.
  • Don’t pay the corrupt cops, I can only speak from our experience, but if you know you are in the right and you have done nothing wrong. Stand your ground and eventually they will give up. There might be some threats of holding your passport and putting you in prison, but if you’re not easily intimidated please do not let them get away with corruption. In the long run it’s not just bad for you, but for the economy and the overall tourist experience. This is not what Zanzibar should be remembered for.
  • Don’t step on sea urchins. There are a lot of them in the south, so be careful if you’re walking out to explore the sea life in Kizimkazi. Alternatively do like Nysan and eat them for breakfast.
  • Don’t do group tours. Okay, some of you might love the group tours, so by all means go ahead, but for those of you with a little bit of adventure in you; Try to find your own way. Rent a boat in the harbour (with a captain obviously) and get yourself out to the sandbar before anyone else in the morning, go to the local fish market at 5-6 am, find your own way around Stone Town and in Paje, rent a motorbike and just go explore! You won’t be disappointed.
  • Don’t forget to interact with the locals. It’s very easy to be caught up in the Zanzibar tourist scene, but make an effort to see what goes on behind it. The people of Zanzibar are extremely kind and willing to show you their way of life if you just show a little bit of interest.
  • Don’t do the dolphin tours in the South. We love the ocean and the life in it, so please do not support tours that from everyone were described as dolphin hunts rather than tours. We stayed in the south for awhile, and the locals told us that the dolphins used to come all the way into shore, but now they are scared. Wouldn’t you be? 30 + something boats chasing them around every morning, and then random tourists almost jumping on top of them to try to snorkel with them or get that one perfect GoPro shot. Really, there are better ways to see wildlife.
  • Don’t stay in a budget hotel in Stone Town. Doing Zanzibar on a budget is no problem at all, but if you decide to have a night or two in Stone Town, spend a little bit of money and get a decent hotel. AC is very much needed in Stone Town, and having a place where water doesn’t run out ever 5 minutes will have you feeling a million times better than any of the budget options we tried out. Looking for a recommendation check out Kisiwa House, in our mind the perfect place to explore Stone Town from.
  • Don’t spend a lot of time at the airport. The airport in Zanzibar is one of the worst we have been in anywhere in the world. It gets hot! There is some attempt at AC but unless you’re sitting right in front of it, it really just does not work. In our month in Zanzibar the sweatiest and most annoyed we were was when we were waiting for our flight to leave. So do not plan on spending a lot of time there. The airport is tiny, so there’s really no point in being there early.