This is your first travel holiday since you started working for a corporate company eight years ago. You never really thought you’d be able to afford a trip more exotic than that tent on that campsite in the neighbouring town, when one day your partner says to you, “Let’s go to Zanzibar!” You couldn’t possibly afford that, could you?
Truth is, it is totally possible, all you need is motivation and time to plan and save. Set your sights on 12 months from the day you decide Zanzibar is your next holiday destination. This leaves you with adequate time to plan. There are a few things to consider, let’s take a look at travel first.
You have a few options, you can fly straight to Zanzibar, or you could fly to Dar Es Salam and catch the ferry to Zanzibar. If you fly, you will arrive on Zanzibar sooner, but the ferry would be an added adventure to your holiday. If you are planning to travel all over the island, you might consider hiring a car (for which you will need a permit to drive) as the taxi prices are quite costly, unless you are willing to drive in the heat of the cramped but exciting and colourful “dala dalas”.
When it comes to accommodation, you could look at all-inclusive packages, or you could choose to find a place just to lay your head, eating at little restaurants or markets and experiencing Zanzibar through the local’s eyes. If you are planning to incorporate beach activities, like kitesurfing or stand up paddle boarding, it may be best to stay on the eastern side of the island. The western side hosts the spice tours, markets and tourist attractions. If you are planning this trip yourself make sure to check all the reviews before deciding on accommodation. Take the negative reviews with a pinch of salt, unless the same complaints appear a few times.
The currency on Zanzi is a mix of American dollars and Tanzanian shillings. The island isn’t one of great wealth, so ATMs and card machines are pretty rare. Hotels will have these facilities, but for the markets, taxis, snorkelling trips and little shops cash is suggested.
Do as the Roams Do
When in Rome do as the Romans do, try to learn a few phrases, the friendly locals will love it if you greet them with an enthusiastic “Jambo”. Swahilli is their official language, you might have heard the term “hakuna matata” made famous by a chubby Disney warthog and his meercat sidekick, and yes, it really does mean “no worries”. “Asantasana” means thank you very much, you may remember a wise baboon chanting this in the very same animation.
So take your time, pull in the reins, save your pennies, plan your trip well and learn a few Swahili terms. This will make your dream holiday all the more memorable, one for the books, as they say.