Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania in East Africa. It is composed of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometers (16–31 mi) off the coast of the mainland, and consists of many small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, referred to informally as Zanzibar) and Pemba. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja. Its historic center is Stone Town, which is a World Heritage Site.
Zanzibar’s main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. The islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. For this reason, the islands, together with Tanzania’s Mafia Island, are sometimes called the Spice Islands (a term also associated with the Maluku Islands in Indonesia). Zanzibar is the home of the endemic Zanzibar red colobus monkey, the Zanzibar servaline genet, and the (possibly extinct) Zanzibar leopard.
Getting from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar
By ferry: www.azammarine.com is the ferry of choice! Ticket cost $35 – $40. Please check their website for departure times and any other information. The ferry takes about 90 min to 2 hours to reach Zanzibar.
Close to the entrance of the Zanzibar Ferry Port is KCB Bank (on Malawi Road) – the ATM is free for foreign cards (other banks 8000+) and maximum withdrawal is 900,000 (other banks 400,000).
By plane: Several local airlines offer flights from Dar to Zanzibar (the flight time is 20 minutes): www.fastjet.com (best offer), www.precisionairtz.com, www.zanair.com, www.coastalaviation.co.tz, www.tropicalair.co.tz, www.flightlinkaircharters.com, www.fly540.com, to mention a few. A departure tax is charged for domestic flights only from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam.
Passport. 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.
Taxi : There are a number of taxis waiting for passengers when you exit the terminal. Despite having a “list” of prices for the various tourist destinations on the island, prices are negotiable. Although you can arrange a pick up at the airport with your hotel or tour company, even a little negotiating will get you a better price than the inflated one quoted by most hotels. However, some Stone Town hotels do offer free shuttle service from the airport.