Zanzibar Facts & Info

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Zanzibar Island travel information

Zanzibar Island is known as Unguja by the locals and has only become a popular tourist destination in recent years. It has quite a troubled and tumultuous history. It was settled by the Arabs as early as the 9th century and by 1045 the locals had been converted to Islam. They were joined by the Persians some 400 years later though both were ousted by the Portuguese in 1500. The Omani Arabs reclaimed the country by 1700 and they were instrumental in the expansion of the slave trade to work on the clove plantations. The British opposed slavery vigorously and by 1873 it had been abolished in Zanzibar. 

The British exerted more influence and Zanzibar became their protectorate in 1890. Despite the mainland being controlled by the Germans, they ruled peacefully for over 70 years and Zanzibar was largely unaffected by both World Wars. Tanganyika did become independent in 1961 and Zanzibar followed suit in 1963. A few months later a union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was formed in 1964, leading to modern-day Tanzania.

Welcome to Tanzania! - Karibu Tanzania! Do you speak English? - Unasema Kiingereza?  Hello - Jambo!  No problem - Hakuna matata!  Thank you very much - Asante Sana  Elephant - Tembo  Cheetah - Duma  Lion - Simba 

Time Zone

GMT + 3Area

Total Area

2332 sq km 

Population

1.1 million

Currency

The Tanzanian shilling is freely exchangeable. Most major facilities accept major credit cards; Visa and Master Card are the most widely accepted.

Religion

Mainly Muslim, also Christian, Hindu and traditional beliefs.

Geography

Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania about 40km from Bagamoyo. It can be accessed directly from many international destinations and there are regular flights from Dar es Salaam.

Climate

Zanzibar has a tropical climate and can get pretty hot and humid during the summer though thunderstorms can cool things down. It experiences its rains from mid March to June. A short rainy season also occur from Sept to Nov.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs may be round or square three-pin, fused or unfused.

Language

KiSwahili is the official language, although English is widely spoken. The terms Swahili and Kiswahili are used interchangeably, though the term Swahili normally refers to the people while Kiswahili refers to the language.

Useful Phrases

Welcome to Tanzania! - Karibu Tanzania!
Do you speak English? - Unasema Kiingereza? 
Hello - Jambo! 
No problem - Hakuna matata! 
Thank you very much - Asante Sana 
Elephant - Tembo 
Cheetah - Duma 
Lion - Simba 

NB: Our consultants have been to Zanzibar countless times so they can answer all your questions like what to bring, what the health and visa requirements are - we will do our best to make your trip as easy as possible. Don't delay - contact us to plan your tailor-made trip!

Zanzibar facts and info - local man standing on the beach
Zanzibar facts and info - local school children
Zanzibar facts and info - panoramic sea views
Zanzibar facts and info - places to see in Zanzibar

Getting to Zanzibar

Zanzibar is well-connected to most destinations in East Africa. The journey is the destination in Africa so sit back and enjoy the ride! Some international airlines fly directly to Zanzibar but most travellers arrive in Dar es Salaam and hop a short flight or ferry across the sea.

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