Zanzibar is a beautiful archipelago surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean. This island destination is one of Tanzania’s most popular tourist locations and one of the best places to visit in the central east region of Africa.
Both water sports enthusiasts and history buffs will find plenty to keep them entertained on this unspoiled island paradise. Explore the stunning turquoise waters and shallow sandbars by snorkeling or scuba diving. Then, resurface for some water-top fun on some water skis, a windsurfer, or a kayak.
When you’re ready to dry off, head to one of the several fishing villages for an enthralling cultural experience or get lost amongst the fascinating alleys, mosques and bazaars of Stone Town – the old section of Zanzibar city.
The diverse and irresistible appeal of Zanzibar ensures this stop is a guest favourite on a variety of cruise line itineraries, including those offered by Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Silversea Cruises.
Cruise ships dock at Zanzibar Port, located in the middle of the island’s west shore and just a brief walk away from the town’s centre. Useful facilities and sites, as well as Stone Town, can be found just beyond the port. Taxis are typically easy to find at the pier.
The port has several facilities and anything else you may need can be found very close by.
Facilities at the port or just outside include:
A bar and restaurant
Malindi Fish Market
Tour guide offices
Hotels and inns
The Institute of Marine Sciences.
How To Get Around
Much of Zanzibar can be discovered by walking or boarding a boat from Stone Town. If you want to explore further inland or are bothered by the warm, humid weather, taxis are readily available; just be sure to settle on a price before departing.
Travel times from the port:
It is a 2 minute journey to the Old Dispensary
It is an 8 minute journey to Stone Town
It is an 8 minute journey to Old Fort
It is an 8 minute journey to the Forodhani Gardens
It is a 10 minute journey to Darajani Market
It is an 18 minute journey to the Peace Memorial Museum.
It is a 4 minute journey to the Peace Memorial Museum
It is a 5 minute journey to Stone Town
It is a 25 minute journey to Cheetah’s Rock
It is a 39 minute journey to the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre
It is a 43 minute journey to Uroa Bay
It is a 46 minute journey to Jozani Chwaka National Park.
Currency – The currency used in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS), which is divided into 100 cents. Banknotes come in 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 shillings denominations. The coins you will commonly find in use are the 50, 100, and 200 shillings coins. Some establishments, such as hotels, will accept foreign currency and credit card, but expect to pay with Tanzanian cash for most things. Note that prices are written in the format ‘[Shilling value]/[Cent value]’ and that a value of zero can be represented by either a hyphen or equals symbol. For example, ‘2,000/=’ would indicate that an item costs 2,000 shillings and no cents.
Time Zone – Zanzibar runs on East Africa Time (EAT), which is 3 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – The climate in Zanzibar is typically hot, humid and sunny – perfect for immersing yourself in the exotic culture and diving into the refreshing waters. Regular sea breezes do keep temperatures from becoming too overwhelming. Average temperatures vary from 24 degrees Celsius in July to 28 degrees Celsius in January. Throughout the year, temperatures can often climb into the low 30s around the middle of the day.
Stone Town – Transport yourself back in time as you explore the old part of Zanzibar Town. There are plenty of shops and fascinating mosques to discover as you marvel at the ruin-like buildings and alleyways. Don’t miss important sites including the Old Fort, the Darajani Market, the Forodhani Gardens, the House of Wonders, and the Hamamni Persian Baths.
Islands and Beaches – Embark on a guided ride to one or more of the exotic and breathtaking beach islands that are only a short boat trip away from Stone Town. Delicious seafood, exciting water activities, and stunning scenery await you at Prison Island, Nakupenda Beach, and others. Some of these spots only exist during gaps between high tides, meaning they are truly a wonder to behold.
Cheetah’s Rock – An ever-popular attraction for visitors, Cheetah’s Rock invites you to experience something that is not really a zoo yet not quite a wildlife sanctuary either. Prepare for an interactive and up-close introduction to some amazing animals, including a zebra, white lion, and cheetah. To ensure the experience is as personal as possible, Cheetah’s Rock strictly limits itself to one small group of guests per day, so you’ll need to book well in advance.