I could describe Zanzibar using all the fancy adjectives that a girl can think of, but none of them will even come close to what experiencing it is like.
Good morning folks, I hope your weekend is off to a great start! Now I have received so many questions about my trip to Zanzibar. Well I did a video but it was just about our activities mostly (watch it here) but a lot of you guys have really expressed interest in the nitty gritties of making such a trip, on a budget.
So I will just share some tips for the sake of anyone who might want to pursue the same.
1. Get information about Zanzibar
This is the golden rule of wanderlust. You don’t want to show up in a foreign country with no effing idea of anything. Google is your friend, ask about accommodation options, ask about food, ask about activities. 2.Make a tentative itinerary.
There’s a rich bowl of information about Zanzibar on the internet and that includes things to do in Zanzibar.Remember each day counts and you don’t want to waste a minute wondering what to do next. I remember we arrived in Zanzibar at around four pm, checked into our hotel and immediately left for Prison Island which is about a 30 minute cruise from Stone Town. Every minute counts and everyday translates into expenses. So here are some things you could look into before you hit the road or while on your trip.
Tour the great Stone Town
Visit Prison Island
Visit the spice farm(Zanzibar is one of the biggest spice exporters in Africa)
Visit the spice market
Go for the Blue Safari. This is just like a ride in the Mara except in this case it’s a boat excursion. Moreover, you get to enjoy sea sport activities like snorkeling, diving etc not to mention savoring freshly prepared lunch on an island with a timeless view of the bluu bluu waters of Zanzibar. If you love sea food you’ll have a blast.
Enjoy street food. I will specifically put it to you that your trip will be incomplete without a taste of Forodhani Park. I cannot even begin to describe how thrilling it is, but if you love culinary adventure like I do, you gotta check it out
Immerse yourself in the sand. This wasn’t such a thriller to me cause I’ve been to a thousand beaches before and was prolly just looking out for something different.Nevertheless, Zanzibar has several sandy beaches and getting a little tanned up on the sand never hurt anyone (Well unless you forget to carry your sunscreen)
3. Purchase some dollars.
Despite Tanzanian shillings being the local currency in Zanzibar, It’s way cheaper to trade in dollars in Zanzibar than it is in Tanzanian shillings. As long as you are a foreigner, most of the services will be rendered to you in dollars and not in the local currency and in the conversion process, you’ll lose some shillings. A lot of shillings. Remember we are trying to avoid unnecessary expenses or losses. Whatever.
4. Travel by road.
There are several buses that ply the Nairobi Dar es Salaam route and they leave as early as 5.30 am. We tried both Dar express and Tahmeed Coach and I can confidently vouch for Tahmeed Coach. Comfortable chairs with sufficient leg space, a good (and working) air conditioning system, etc Comfort is key because it’s a 12 hour journey. Good thing is that there are several stop overs, so you can get to stretch your legs, pee, eat etc. Fares cost between 3200 and 4000 one way,depending on the bus and the class you choose to travel in.
5. Carry some snacks with you
Just like I’ve already mentioned, it’s quite a journey so you might want to munch something a long the way before the next stop over. It’s more convenient to buy your snacks before hand because one, you have several options to choose from and two, it’s way cheaper, just dash into a supermarket and get yo snacks.
Oh, and carry some water too.
6. Get the yellow fever jab.
Trust me, if you don’t you’ll have to part with some good amount of money in order to be allowed safe passage into Tanzania(Been rewatching Game of Thrones so perdoname). The vaccine is available in most City Council Hospitals for about 1500-2500 shillings. Charges could have gone higher, I got mine at the beginning of last year at a painful cost of 3500 shillings at JKIA because…emergency.So get yours in good time.
7. Pack light outfits.
A good part of Tanzania in general and Zanzibar is warm and humid, you don’t want to ruin your vacation with heat rash and all the discomfort that comes with it. And since you are traveling on a budget,you don’t want to incur unnecessary expenses by having to buy lighter clothes because you packed The Nairobi June weather typa clothes.The only things we are purchasing are souvenirs and food… and a place to rest our heads at night.
8. Travel in a group
This is the best traveling on a budget decision you could ever make. Talk about sharing costs and all that and the best part is being able to get awesome accommodation at awfully good rates. Most hotels are swiftly moving away from the traditional single bed in a room type of arrangement to even up to 4 beds in a single room.
Also, there’s Airbnb which if you book early enough is affordable as hell. With Airbnb you could get an entire apartment for way cheaper rates than those of hotels in the same locality. Most Airbnb’ ‘s also have the self catering option, if you like your food some kinda way. ( I don’t know about you but cooking on vacation is my least favorite thing to do) Nonetheless, choose wisely.
Finally….be armed with some swahili..lol just kidding but on the real though, it could get you some unbeatable deals!