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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 19, 2021
Headline for 5 Things to know before you go to Zanzibar – Get ready for Zanzibar!
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5 Things to know before you go to Zanzibar – Get ready for Zanzibar!

The Zanzibar Archipelago are a collection of several small islands that are well known for being gorgeous landscapes and filled with a lot of history.
The islands are also referred to as the 'Spice Islands' and for those visiting on holiday, they will be in for a real treat!


It's different from the mainland

Zanzibar is just a hop skip and jumps away from the mainland that is Tanzania. This relationship allows for Zanzibar to operate in a semi-autonomous manner and what makes this even more special is that despite being a part of Tanzania, the two do not share a lot in common in terms of politics, religion, culture and even food.
If you were to visit Zanzibar from Tanzania, you must prepare yourself to be a part of a new nation. With a long history as a hub for all the traders during the slave and spice trade, Zanzibar has felt the influences of the world on its shores.
The separation between Tanzania and Zanzibar is so much so that locals refer to themselves as 'Zanzibari' as opposed to 'Tanzanian'.


Time is not the same

While many parts of the world follow the typical 24-hour clock, the Zanzibari's have a different approach to telling time. For them, the calculation of time starts from sunrise to sunset. This means that if you are awake at 7 am in traditional time, you have woken up at 1 am in terms of Swahili time.
If you are staying at a Zanzibar beach resort such as The Residence Zanzibar and you are hoping to plan your itinerary and coordinate with the different vendors and services, it is best to enlist the help of the staff to ensure you are tracking the times correctly.


Don't fear the need for speed

When you are travelling to Zanzibar, you will likely have to option to select between a plane or a ferry to leave from Dar Es Salaam. It is recommended to opt for the ferry over the somewhat shaky plane ride. Many people feel that the alternative of the ferry is much more affordable than taking the plane, more enjoyable and runs multiple times a day.
People are sometimes concerned about the high speeds when taking the ferry but it should be understood that many of the travel advisories are typically exaggerated.


Explore a Stone Town

A UNESCO cultural heritage site since the 2000s this town is essentially a maze and the directions you get from the locals will be limited to gestures and nods, However, there is nothing much to worry about as the town is quite small and the adventure of making your way through the town and potentially getting lost is part of the experience.


Keep it upbeat

In Zanzibar, it is important to say hi! Whether you are visiting a new location or just walking on the road, do not hesitate to use the little Swahili you may have picked up on your journey. A simple hello will go a long way and do not be overwhelmed by people who approach you to say hi as well!