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Updated by Joanna James on Nov 10, 2019
Headline for Things to Know Before You Go to Zanzibar – The key to exotic East Africa
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Things to Know Before You Go to Zanzibar – The key to exotic East Africa

Zanzibar is technically a part of Tanzania but the people on this archipelago believe otherwise and their religion and culture is truly distinct from that of the mainland. The influence of traders from India, Persia is still evident in Zanzibar.


Zanzibar isn't like the mainland

Unlike the mainland where many religions are practised, the people of Zanzibar are primarily Muslim, mainly due to Sultanate of Oman having had the rule over this archipelago for centuries. Nearly all aspects of life such as politics, culture and food are distinctly different from the people of the mainland.


Time is different

This can be very confusing at first but you'll get used to it. The time is counted differently in Zanzibar; The Swahili people begin counting time from sunrise. So instead of the day beginning at midnight, it begins from 7 am.


The high-speed ferry

You can get to Zanzibar by ferry or plane, either of which can be arranged ahead of time with any of the luxury Zanzibar resorts. The upscale resorts in Zanzibar will truly make you feel like royalty, The Residence Zanzibar offers one of the best stays in the whole region. The plane flight lasts for merely half an hour but is far from pleasant. The boat ride, however, is a thrill though it will take a bit longer and don't be tricked by tour services the boats are modern and safe.


Greetings matter

Swahili is easy to pick up and is quite a fun language. As you walk through the streets of Zanzibar it might seem that people greet you to try to sell some trinket but the greetings are a part of the culture and 'Jambo' back is highly appreciated.


The wonders of Stone Town

This ancient city was declared as a UNESCO Heritage site in 2000. Finding your way around this maze of streets is an adventure, don't worry it is very safe; the locals are nice and helpful. There are street names which no one uses and directions are given with hand gestures and nods, it's quite otherworldly.


The slow-paced life

Time moves at a slow pace here, so take a cue from everyone around you and sit back and don't fret. Your order might take a while but when you get it, it will taste amazing. Getting things done is quite hard and tedious in Zanzibar but you're here to relax so it's okay.


The two rainy seasons

From March to May is the time when the heavy monsoons hit, you'll want to avoid this. From December to November another monsoon, though not as intense as the ones at the beginning of the year hit Zanzibar. It's best to plan your trip avoiding these times of the year if possible.


Taste the world

Zanzibar probably has the best food culture in all of Africa. Throughout history, many rulers have governed Zanzibar and the city has had trade with all across the known world. Indian, Chinese, Arabic and Portuguese influence can clearly be seen in the cuisine.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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