What you need to know about Zanzibar…
The combination of eastern and African influences adds an intriguing twist to this island experience. In the capital, Stone Town, crows rise in flocks every sunset as the call to prayer echoes through the still warm air. Be respectful of Islamic beliefs and customs and you’ll discover a people that are friendly and welcoming. While the island is poor, there is much to offer tourists, from diving and kite surfing to spice tours and ocean safaris.

Check out these activities
Walk Learn about the island’s fascinating history on a Stone Town tour.

Eat Pop into Mercury’s (named after legendary Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury who was born in Stone Town) and try their delicious wood-fired pizza while watching local kids play soccer on the beach. At Stone Town’s night market, chefs tempt you with piles of exotic seafood. Just be sure to settle on a price before ordering!

Sense Sign up for a Spice Tour and discover the tastes and smells of exotic fruits and plants.

Seek Hire a boat and driver to take you out to Prison Island where you’ll meet the giant tortoises, some as old as 135 years, who were introduced from Mauritius to boost their dawdling numbers.

Explore Sail from Fumba, just south of Stone Town, through the Menai Bay conservation area on a wooden dhow. Snorkel in the azure waters, then take a stroll to ancient baobabs on a nearby deserted island. Round off the day with a sumptuous feast of seafood.

The basics
What South Africans travelling to Zanzibar (or mainland Tanzania) for up to 90 days, no longer need a visa.

When The best months to visit are during the dry season, from mid-June to October when temperatures and humidity are at their lowest.

How For cheap flights directly from Johannesburg and Cape Town, to Dar-es-Salaam or Zanzibar International Airport, contact Checkout Travels.

Be health wise
You’ll need to go for a few vaccinations before travelling to this East African island. Be sure to contact your local travel clinic in good time as some of them need to be administered in advance. (A yellow fever vaccine is no longer necessary).

Zanzibar is a malaria area so speak to a doctor about your options. Even when on malaria prophylaxis, it’s a good idea to protect yourself against mosquito bites by using insect repellent, sleeping under a net and wearing long sleeves and trousers in the evenings.

As is normal practice when travelling to underdeveloped areas, only drink bottled water (including when teeth brushing) and don’t eat uncooked food, such as lettuce. A tip is to peel raw vegetables and fruit to make them safe to eat (some are grown or washed in unhygienic conditions).

Be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated to avoid sunburn and heat stroke.

When in Rome
Dress Be respectful of Islamic customs and dress conservatively. Women should cover their knees and shoulders, and men should wear T-shirts at all times.  People are more relaxed at the beach resorts, but expect that some will stare if you are minimally dressed.

Affection Keep kissing and hand holding to the privacy of your hotel.

Alcohol Booze isn’t often served in restaurants in Stone Town, but you will find it at resort restaurants.