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Jambiani beach

- © Becker Stefan / Shutterstock
Zanzibar
Zanzibar

Zanzibar, the emerging pearl of the Indian Ocean

Zanzibar in short

Often combined with a safari in mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar remains a destination in its own right. Known for its dazzling white sand beaches and majestic coral reefs. The archipelago is a haven of beauty and peace for nature lovers. It's a destination to suit everyone.

aerial view of a beach in Zanzibar

- © MOIZ HUSEIN STORYTELLER / Shutterstock

The archipelago is made up of 3 islands, Unguja the main one and two smaller ones, Pemba and Mafia. A dream destination, the island is overflowing with magnificent spots, and there's something for everyone! In fact, you can't talk about this island without mentioning its beaches. Here you can enjoy long walks on the beach, feeling the warm sand crunch under your feet. Whether you just like to swim and bask in the sun, or if you're a thrill-seeker dreaming of the perfect spot for a kitesurfing session, Zanzibar has something for everyone.

Jimbiani Beach

- © Becker Stefan / Shutterstock

The Indian Ocean is a vast expanse teeming with treasures. The coasts of Zanzibar are no exception. The seabed is limpid blue, with tropical fish, multicoloured coral and colourful starfish. It's not unusual to come across pelagic species such as sharks, manta rays, turtles, dolphins and the majestic whale sharks and humpback whales. This is why the archipelago is considered one of the best destinations in East Africa for scuba diving. And if scuba diving doesn't appeal to you, snorkelling will give you the chance to admire a host of wonders.

coral reef

- © blue-sea.cz / Shutterstock

Numerous small islands line the coastline, some of which have been taken over by hotels looking to make your stay unforgettable. The small, secret island of Chapwani can be reached by small boat in just 30 minutes from Stone Town. A private island with a Robinson Crusoe feel, it's a real call to zenitude and simplicity. Surrounded by a magnificent coral reef and fringed by a beautiful white sandy beach, all adorned with majestic palm trees. You will have the opportunity, indeed the privilege, of staying in one of the five charming bungalows of the island's only resort, Chapwani Private Island. A stopover on Chapwani Island is guaranteed to take you away from the hustle and bustle of Stone Town. Take advantage of this timeless getaway to disconnect for a few days with your family or loved ones in true Swahili "pole pole" style.

© MOIZ HUSEIN STORYTELLER / Shutterstock

But there's more to this destination than sparkling beaches and azure blue lagoons. The archipelago has a rich cultural and historical heritage. Stone Town, the island's capital, is the place to discover a delicious blend of Western and Eastern culture. This is where the journey begins and the spicy charm of Zanzibar unfolds. You'll discover emblematic places and prepare your taste buds for the country's many flavours. Wander the narrow streets and admire the historical heritage. Spend a day or two in Stone Town and you'll be sure to stroll through an authentic, colourful town and discover 1001 well-hidden wonders.

majestic house in the streets of Stone Town

- © LMspencer / Shutterstock

Finally, don't forget to explore the heart of the island, including the Jozani forest, a protected nature reserve with an exceptional ecosystem. The site offers beautiful walks in the shade of a luxuriant canopy. A true emblem of this primary forest, the island's endemic primate, the red colobus monkey, has made this verdant expanse its favourite playground. It's the ideal place to observe them on a peaceful stroll. As well as the monkeys, there's plenty to discover here. There are several signposted trails where you can explore the vegetation in greater depth and discover some fascinating flora. There are also varieties of exotic trees and a beautiful mangrove swamp. And the youngest visitors will be fascinated by the hundreds of butterflies that inhabit the forest. This reserve promises a great escape.

Red Colobus monkey from the Jozani forest

- © o.terenteva / Shutterstock

How to get there?

From Paris, it takes less than 9 hours by direct flight to reach the capital of the Zanzibar archipelago. However, it is rare to find direct flights and, depending on the airline, you can often expect a stopover in one of the East African countries. In this case, you should allow at least 11 hours' travel time. If you book in good time, flights regularly cost less than €500 per person.

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Where to stay?

Zanzibar is an archipelago, so you'll find plenty of beachfront hotels to help you unwind and relax. Whether you're looking for a honeymoon, a luxury hotel or a small bungalow, you'll find the ideal accommodation in Zanzibar to make your stay idyllic. And we have selected for you the top 10 most beautiful beachfront hotels in Zanzibar.

Practical information

Zanzibar is over 7,000 kilometres from Paris, but the time difference is slight. There is a difference of 2 hours with Paris in winter and just 1 hour in summer. Stone Town, the archipelago's capital, is just 6 kilometres and 10 minutes from the airport. Taxis cost €12. Buses cost a maximum of €1. Buses are parked outside the car park and take you directly to the market square at the entrance to the town.

Formalities and visa

All European Union nationals require a passport valid for at least 6 months after your arrival in the country. Unless you are French, you will also need a visa if your first point of entry into Tanzania is Zanzibar. This costs $50 and is issued at the airport. You can also apply for a visa online via the Tanzanian immigration website. The price varies according to the type of visa requested: $30 for a transit visa, $50 for a classic visa, $100 for a multiple-entry visa and $250 for a business visa.

Security

The island has experienced some political tensions and demonstrations that have spilled over violently. However, there is little danger as a tourist if you wish to visit the island. In Stone Town**, there is no problem** walking around during the day. However, after 10pm, the streets become deserted. So avoid walking around showing off your wealth (rings, necklaces, watches, etc.). However, Stone Town's beaches have a relatively bad reputation. Especially those between Kilimani and Mazizini. Once again, leave your valuables and passports at your hotel. There are no real problems on the island's other beaches, but as everywhere, be vigilant.

Religion

Tanzanians on the mainland are equally Christian, Muslim and animist. Zanzibar, on the other hand, is 98% Muslim, so be sure to dress decently when visiting places other than your hotels and beaches (shoulders and knees covered).

Health

In 2008, the yellow fever vaccine became compulsory again, in theory, for people who spend more than 12 hours in transit in another African city. In practice, however, proof of yellow fever vaccination is regularly requested on an indiscriminate basis. Proof of yellow fever vaccination can save you a lot of trouble. It is also advisable to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, DPT, typhoid and meningitis.

As in many tropical areas, it's best not to drink tap water. You should also avoid eating the skins of fruit and vegetables.

Tanzania has a very high incidence of malaria, while Zanzibar is much less affected. However, to be on the safe side, don 't hesitate to take anti-malarial medication throughout your stay. And remember to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Don't forget that in this part of the world, the sun's rays are very strong and prolonged exposure is harmful to your body.

The island has a good number of medical centres, but hospital cover is almost non-existent. Remember to take out insurance in case you need to be repatriated.

Electricity

220 V. These are three-plug sockets (two flat horizontal and one vertical). Don't forget your adaptor.

Currency

The Tanzanian shilling (TZS) has a very low value. 1 euro is worth 2335 TZS. There are 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 shilling notes. There are also coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 shillings. The dollar is also widely used in Tanzania. If it's easier for you, you can pay in dollars just about anywhere.

However, we advise you to take a large sum of cash with you, as there are very few ATMs.

Tips

Prices generally include VAT, but tips are appreciated. It is also customary to tip your taxi driver when you have finished your journey.

Language

Kiswahili and English are the most commonly spoken languages in Tanzania.

A basic glossary:

Hello - Jambo

Welcome - Karibu

How are you? - Habari gani?

Ca va bien! - Mzuri sana

Gently - Pole Pole

Bon voyage - Safari njema

Hotel - Hoteli

Sun - Jua

Beer - Pombe

Telephone

To call Zanzibar from France dial 00 255 24 followed by the number. To call Zanzibar from France dial 00 33 followed by the number without the 0.

lightbulb_outline Editor's tip

Zanzibar is a dream destination that's accessible whatever type of trip you choose to take. Whether it's a heavenly honeymoon, a quest for the world's most magnificent beaches, extraordinary scuba diving, a party with friends or a discovery trip with your children, you'll find what you're looking for here. So HAKUNA MATATA and set off on your adventure!

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