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Zanzibar east coastline. 
Photo by Sherrie Wenzel

Zanzibar Facts

Political Climate
The United Republic of Tanzania (Tanzania and Zanzibar) has been a Republic since 1964. The system is quite similar to that of the United States.

Zanzibar forms part of the East African nation of Tanzania. It consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, sometimes informally referred to as "Zanzibar"), and Pemba. Zanzibar is a beautiful, evergreen island, covering an area of 1 464 sq. kilometers, situated 36 kilometers away from the Tanzania coast in the Indian Ocean and is 76 kms from Dar es Salaam. It is known for its spectacular architecture, meandering lanes, luscious tropical fruits, aromatic spices and charming friendly people. The breathtaking beauty of its coastline and the magnificence of the historical Stone Town makes Zanzibar one of the world's famous touring destination.

Capital ~ Zanzibar City/ Stone Town
More information and tourist office: http://www.zanzibar.com/Zanzibar.html

The main language is Kiswahili. Also, English is widely spoken. Other languages may include Arabic, a little French, and a little Italian too.

Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh)

There are no international banks in Zanzibar, only local banks. US Dollar cash is widely accepted and can be easily exchanged for the local currency. ATM machines are available for access of local currency from your international account.
People & Population
Approximate population: 1,000,000. Zanzibar's rich history has been influenced by the Arabs, Persians, Indians, Portuguese, British and local tribes from the African mainland and this shows in the architecture. Stone Town is a place of winding lanes, ornately carved wooden doors, circular towers, raised terraces and beautiful mosques.

Entry Requirements
All visitors require a passport, valid for the duration of their stay. US Citizens require a Visa before arrival at Zanzibar International Airport. Nationals of some countries do not require visas, so it is advisable to check with your nearest Tanzanian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate prior to visiting. All visitors arriving from any country in which yellow fever is endemic will need to show proof of vaccination on arrival. If in doubt please check for more information on the Tanzania visa links above or directly with your nearest Tanzanian consulate.

Zanzibar is a malaria area and you should take advice from your doctor at home regarding what malaria tablets to take. It is also a good idea to bring a mosquito repellent for use in the evenings.

Telephone, Fax and mobile service is available from Zanzibar, as is internet connections from the major hotels. There are a wide choice of places in Zanzibar Town to make calls. Some are properly equipped bureaux, others are just a dusty phone in the corner of someone's shop which is nevertheless proudly touted as an 'international communication centre'.

Another option for international calls is to buy a phonecard from the international telephone office (they are also sold at some shops and hotels) and use this in the direct-dial phone booth outside.

Mobile service is available and you consider making a minor investment in a Tanzanian SIM card which would give you a local number for incredibly low costs for local/international calls and text messages to anywhere in the world.

Power system is 220-240 volts ac, plugs 13amp usually square pin.

Climate and Best Time to Travel
The climate of Zanzibar is determined by the Monsoon winds which blow from the North East from November to February and from the South West from April to September. The beginning of each new season brings rains. The heavy rains run from late April to early June and this is not a good time to visit Zanzibar, the light rains are in November but usually are brief outbursts between large stretches of sunshine. The hottest season is January and February but there is usually a refreshing sea breeze and Zanzibar is rarely overpoweringly hot. Daytime temperatures usually vary between 26 and 28 degrees centigrade. December to March and July to October are the best times to travel to Zanzibar.