My Five Day Escape to the Land of Spices. Jambo, Zanzibar!

Updated: Jan 17

Jambo!! You will hear this a million times during your trip. The warm smiles and the welcoming nature of people in Zanzibar is an entire VIBE. Visit and find out for yourself.

If you read about our Maldives trip, you already know it was one hell of a relaxing vacation (not how we are used to traveling). I had people asking me on IG if the two trips were similar - yes & no. Though both have beaches aplenty, there are differences. I also planned for Zanzibar to be far more active than our Maldivian escape. Keep reading for my final verdict on the two trips.

I am not big on island getaways.. at least until the weird year that was 2020. Not only did I do touristy island trips within 15 days of each other, I actually enjoyed it. Who woulda thunk it, eh?

Here is my guide for planning a five day trip to the small island off the coast of Tanzania.

COVID preparation:

There are still measures in place as I write this. Here is a summary of requirements for residents of Dubai to fly to Zanzibar (and Tanzania):

1. A Negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to flying out of UAE. Note that Tanzania does not require you to have a negative test to enter but the UAE does. Check your countries requirement prior to booking.

2. A Negative PCR Test taken 96 hours prior to flying out of Tanzania/Zanzibar.

The test costs $80. The process to get tested there is slightly complicated since the information provided is confusing. The testing can be done at Global Hospital or North Valley Hospital in the morning. However, we were advised by a local person to head straight from the airport to the Migombani testing centre in Stone Town. The center is located at previously CPS building opposite Military Camp & NMB Atm. This is effective from 21st December, 2020.

Testing Tip: If you are staying a good resort please be sure to get in touch with them before you travel to see how they can help you simplify this testing process. The locals know best. The test results take 72 hours to turn around - so leave enough time between. You will pay extra but it will spare you the headache of running around like a headless chicken.

What you will need for testing:

Copy of the passport (note that testing cannot be done on Sunday but you can still pick up your report on a Sunday)

You will have to have the original stamped certificate in hand to depart the country - no print outs or scanned copies accepted.

3. Note that masks are not mandatory at the Zanzibar airport BUT always wear them when outside in crowds.

Flights and Visa

I flew direct with Fly Dubai. The flight was 5 hours and 45 minutes.

Visa is on arrival for most nationalities. It costs $50 per person. No other documents needed. Best if you have cash. Note that you CAN also apply submit your visa application online before you travel.

Safety and hygiene - a word of caution!

The Tanzanian government have stopped reporting cases to WHO. They seemed to not care that there was a raging pandemic in the rest of the world.. life here goes on as usual with gathering, no masks. I would like to stress that this is NOT a judgement of any kind. You choose the place you travel to. Please do your research ahead of time instead of arriving in a country and being appalled by callous behavior. I knew from constantly following travel forums on tripadvisor that majority of the COVID rules were not place in Zanzibar. If you are uncomfortable about people not wearing a mask, you can request politely but the choice is theirs. Bottom line - YOU follow every precaution to keep yourself safe.

Best time to visit

June to October is best due to the slightly cooler weather. December to February works as well since it will be dry but I definitely felt the afternoon heat hit me hard.

Language and People

Everyone is helpful and pretty fluent in English.

Travel and Medical Insurance, Currency

Travel Insurance is always recommended. USD accepted at all resorts.

How to get around in Zanzibar - COVID edition