Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago off the coast of Tanzania consisting of Zanzibar Island (locally, Unguja), Pemba Island and many smaller islands. Zanzibar Island itself is approximately 90km long and 30km wide.
In 1896, Zanzibar was the location of the world’s shortest war, surrendering to Britain after 38 minutes of naval bombardment.
- Stone Town – the vibrant and somewhat enchanting capital
- Nungwi – a popular small resort town on the northern tip of the island
- Kendwa – a small fishing village a couple of miles from Nungwi, a great place for reading on the beach or scuba diving.
- Matemwe – a small traditional village in the North East.
- Paje – a small village on the East coast known for excellent kiteboarding conditions.
- Jambani – a small fishing village on the southern coast.
- Uroa Village – a small fishing village on the east coast with resorts on the northern and southern side.
There are several good buses for a low budget purpose that can take you from Arusha to Dar es Salaam to catch a boat.
There are many ferries and catamarans that can take you between Dar es Salaam and the Island. Most ferries schedules allow you to do the return trip the same day. For instance, leave Dar es Salaam ay 07:30 and return from Zanzibar on the 16:30 ferry. That leaves plenty of time to explore the Stone Town, the museum and have a nice lunch. The trip is beautiful and lasts about two hours approximately. However, if the weather is bad it can take much longer and the trip can be very unpleasant. If you suffer from seasickness you are advised to take some anti-seasickness pills prior to boarding. Then onboard personnel hands out free sickness bags at the start of the journey.
You may be able to hire a private boat for cheaper, but the trip will take considerably longer and unless you know something about boats, you could be on a vessel that is not equipped for bad weather conditions or an emergency. Remember: you get what you pay for.
Although Zanzibar is part of the union it maintains its own immigration service and you need to have a valid passport to enter, even if you come from mainland Tanzania. This farcically means you must fill out a Tanzania arrival card for your arrival in Stone Town, and a Tanzania departure card when you leave.
There are several flights from Arusha to Zanzibar. Air Excel, Regional Air, Precision Air, Zan Air, Coastal Aviation, and Fly540 etc.