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About Zanzibar, Unguja

With Churchill Tailored Safaris

Unguja, also known as Zanzibar Island, is the main island in the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar. Stone Town, part of Zanzibar City, is an old trade center, with mosques and winding lanes. The 1883 House of Wonders is a former sultan’s palace with a clock tower. It is composed of the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 25–50 kilometres (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 Island. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja. Its historic centre is Stone Town, which is a World Heritage Site. Zanzibar is the home of the endemic Zanzibar red colobus, the Zanzibar servaline genet, and the (possibly extinct) Zanzibar leopard. The main island of Zanzibar, Unguja, has a fauna reflecting its connection to the African mainland during the last Ice Age. Endemic mammals with continental relatives include the Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii), one of Africa’s rarest primates, with perhaps only 1,500 existing. Isolated on this island for at least 1,000 years, this colobus is recognized as a distinct species, with different coat patterns, calls, and food habits from related colobus species on the mainland. There are no large wild animals in Unguja. Forested areas such as Jozani are inhabited by monkeys, bushpigs, small antelopes, African civets, and, rumour has it, the elusive leopard. Various species of mongoose can also be found on the island. There is a wide variety of birdlife and a large number of butterflies in rural areas.

Official languages: Zanzibar Swahili: Zanzibar; Arabic

 

 

Practical Information Before You Travel To Zanzibar

Before you make your journey to the amazing Zanzibar Island, use the information featured in this section to plan your trip and make the most of your time here, from entry requirements, safety tips, how to get around to weather conditions, currency and accommodations. Your trip planning starts here and we’ve got you covered! Read our updated  FAQs to learn more.

CURRENCY
ENTERING ZANZIBAR
TRAVEL INSURANCE
HEALTH
WEATHER
FLIGHT INFORMATION
LUGGAGE AND IMPACT TRAVEL
SAFETY TIPS
ACCOMMODATION AND TRANSPORT
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY
CONSULATES/ EMBASSIES
NATIONAL/PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
NATIONAL PARKS AND TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
CURRENCY

Local Currency: Tanzania Shilling (TZS). Approximately Tanzania Shilling 2,314.1 = 1 US Dollar (January 2019)

ENTERING ZANZIBAR

To enter Zanzibar, you have to present your identification documents, like your ID card or passport. And, depending on your country of origin, a stamped visa. The visa documentation / permission MUST BE DONE in advance of your arrival irrespective whether you fly or drive there.

, ZanzibarIt is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your passport is valid for a minimum of six months and has several clear pages for visas prior to departure. It is suggested that you check your status as regards visas prior to travel with your agent or Wild Frontiers; they change on a regular basis, and some of these states embassies will INSIST you get one prior to travel, whereas they may be freely available on arrival.

Most nationalities require entry visas when traveling to Uganda. Visas can be purchased on arrival at the airport for $50, or can be issued by Tanzanian/Zanzibar High Commissions in countries where they are represented or applied for online in the comfort of your sits (this part may be strenuous though). The fees for visas issued at Tanzanian high commissions abroad are generally more. USD notes have to be dated 2006 or newer and be in good condition with no tears or marks.

EAC nationals will be issued with a 6 months’ visitors pass (renewable) at entry points with no fee.

For more information about entering Zanzibar, visit https://visas.immigration.go.tz/

TRAVEL INSURANCE

It is a strong recommendation that you are covered by some type of medical insurance before you grab that flight to come and experience the Zanzibar Tour. Talk to your travel consultant about this. Should you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us. Minimum cover should be $80 for medical and related expenses.

HEALTH

Yellow Fever inoculation is required should you travel between East African countries, and should you be flying into SA after visiting East Africa. This must be done no later than 10 days prior to your departure. If you have a history of liver disorders (hepatitis etc.) you must consult your physician first.

Typhoid may be requested from the authorities when crossing into Zanzibar, although it is unusual for it to be requested. This can be done by your local GP or through a travel clinic. There is also the tablet form available – only available from certain pharmacies.

Tetanus is also recommended, as is Cholera, but are not compulsory.

Hepatitis inoculation is at the discretion of the traveler.

Malaria prophylactics are a must and can be purchased from your local pharmacy. Please consult your pharmacist/doctor. It is also a good idea to bring some insect repellent with you to spray on yourself in the evenings and early morning when mosquitoes tend to be about.

Diarrhea /Giardia etc. Good personal hygiene and control over the quality of your drinking water should avoid this, bottled water is readily available throughout the country, but take along some medicine in case, particularly if you are planning to spend some time traveling alone and not with a tour. We recommend that guests either buy bottled water, or take along water purification tablets and look after your own drinking water.

As with all medical requirements, your doctor or travel clinic will provide the most up to date information; the above is a guide only.

 HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Be ware  of wildlife highly susceptible to human diseases including flu and colds. If you are participating in a island walks  then you need to be free of any visibly contagious diseases and this is checked at the start of the by the Tourism Authorities. If they are in any doubt of your condition, they reserve the right to prevent you from continuing on the tour. Our advice is that if you feel you are worried about this aspect, you please inform your safari guide as soon as possible, and he will seek advice as to the best way to manage the situation.

 

WEATHER

Live updates on weather in Zanzibar are available here: Zanzibar Weather

FLIGHT INFORMATION

Live updates on flights in Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, Zanzibar are available here: Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport Live Data from Airline

LUGGAGE AND IMPACT TRAVEL

Due to space limitations in the vehicles it is imperative that luggage be kept to a minimum. We suggest a barrel or soft bag (15 kg maximum) for your main gear, plus a camera bag or smaller ‘day pack’ for inside the vehicle. Samsonite / hard bags / suitcases, etc. are not suitable as it makes packing very difficult. If you are travelling internationally with one we suggest you repack Churchill Safaris Tour items into your soft bag, before the safari, and then leave your hand suitcase at your return point e.g. Zanzibar Hotel to collect later.

CHARTERS LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE

If you are traveling on a light aircraft within Uganda, then the luggage restriction is dependent on combined client and luggage weights and varies from plane to plane and routing but usually only up to 10kg per person in soft bags and this is strictly adhered to for safety reasons. Please check your personal allowance on confirmation of itinerary and aircraft.

SAFARI CLOTHING

On a trip through Tanzania/Zanzibar you can experience all four seasons. It will also be necessary to take some wet weather gear as it does rain in the raised areas of Tanzania on a regular basis. We suggest lightweight rain gear for the hike to view the beautiful wildlife.

During your safari, depending on the style of trip chosen, dress code may vary slightly. Women are advised to cover knees and shoulders when in a rural village or market. None of the lodges/hotels insist on any formal type of dress – ties, jackets etc. The norm would be casual or smart casual depending upon the level. In towns and cities, and at certain of the more up-market lodges and hotels then long pants and shirt / golf shirt would be more appropriate (especially in the evenings), or ladies may wear a skirt of course!

Bush gear i.e. hard wearing clothes, no bright colors, e.g. greens, khaki and similar neutral clothes are recommended. In the day time on safari, generally shorts or lightweight trousers, t-shirts, hat, sunblock etc. are recommended as it is generally fairly warm (25-35 degrees C average).

We suggest you take something warm e.g. tracksuit, fleece or sweater for the mountainous areas. It is at a higher altitude and will therefore be cooler in the evenings. – a rain jacket/anorak is also suggested as it rains, regularly in the in the rain forest areas, even in the drier months. Long trousers and long sleeved shirts are also recommended for general evening use to assist in the prevention of mosquito bites and also as it’s generally cooler than during the day.

While on your safari walk, you will need a comfortable, hard wearing, pair of walking shoes or boots. Conditions are generally very muddy/slippery. There are uphill sections which may be quite steep and strenuous. It is also advisable to wear a long sleeve cotton shirt and lightweight long trousers to protect yourself from the undergrowth, stinging nettles and biting ants. (Tracksuit pants often get caught on bushes, thorns, etc. and jeans can get very heavy when wet). Gloves are also highly recommended– this will prevent your hands being scratched when holding onto vegetation for support, through dense parts of the forest. Tuck your long pants into your socks/boots to avoid biting insects. Your clothes will in all likelihood get very muddy and may not recover to their original state – therefore take old clothing for the Safari.

IMPACT TRAVEL

A suggestion from past Tour guests is to mention that if people want to help the poor Tanzanians  they could bring old clothes etc. with them to give to appropriate organizations/places.

If you are interested in this option you should advise Churchill Tailored Safaris before travel as we can set up times/days on safari where you can visit an orphanage, or school, assist or give a donation for “something specific”. Or Tanzania Tourism Board can refer you to various organizations that we work in conjunction with for various community assistance and uplift programmes we can monitor and ensure that the appropriate funds are received by the right people! Handouts of money (except as genuine tips) sweets, pens etc. is to please be avoided. It creates a system of begging and invariably causes fights amongst the children when there is not enough to go around.

SAFETY TIPS

Your personal safety and well-being is our prime concern. Please take care of all your personal possessions at all times. DO NOT TEMPT petty theft, pickpockets, etc. with displaying large amounts of money, especially when near markets or in the center of Zanzibar .

If you come to Zanzibar, here are some tips that will help you have a safe and pleasant experience:

  • When visiting the country, and just like in every other major city in the world you must look after your bags and suitcases to avoid theft and have a safe experience in East Africa.

  • Carry copies of all your important documents including your passport.

  • Avoid walking alone at night on the outskirts of towns.

  • Valuables: When leaving the vehicle in towns, please ensure all the windows are shut and that you take your valuables and cameras with you for safe keeping. Don’t carry flashy valuables while walking on the street. (especially cash, travelers cheques’ and credit cards should be kept on your person at all times. A “moon bag” or “body belt” is a useful item for storing cash and other valuable small items.)

  • Always carry a map with you and the address of the place you’re staying at.

  • If you travel to places away from cities, carry a first-aid kit with you and the names of the medication you may need, in English.

  • When at lodges / hotels we recommend you either keep your money and valuables with you or utilize the safe keeping facilities provided at the various establishments. Please also be sure to check your room and ensure you have everything packed before moving on to a new place.

Your personal safety and well-being is our prime concern. Please take care of all your personal possessions at all times. DO NOT TEMPT petty theft, pickpockets, etc. with displaying large amounts of money, especially when near markets or in the center of Zanzibar. If you come to Zanzibar, here are some tips that will help you have a safe and pleasant experience:

  • When visiting the country, and just like in every other major city in the world you must look after your bags and suitcases to avoid theft and have a safe experience in East Africa.

  • Carry copies of all your important documents including your passport.

  • Avoid walking alone at night on the outskirts of towns.

  • Valuables: When leaving the vehicle in towns, please ensure all the windows are shut and that you take your valuables and cameras with you for safe keeping. Don’t carry flashy valuables while walking on the street. (especially cash, travelers cheques’ and credit cards should be kept on your person at all times. A “moon bag” or “body belt” is a useful item for storing cash and other valuable small items.)

  • Always carry a map with you and the address of the place you’re staying at.

  • If you travel to places away from cities, carry a first-aid kit with you and the names of the medication you may need, in English.

  • When at lodges / hotels we recommend you either keep your money and valuables with you or utilize the safe keeping facilities provided at the various establishments. Please also be sure to check your room and ensure you have everything packed before moving on to a new place.

ACCOMMODATION AND TRANSPORT

Depending on the class or style of your Churchill Tailored Safaris Tour, your accommodation may range from high end class to medium class. There are many different styles of accommodation in Tanzania/Zanzibar varying from large hotels to smaller more intimate lodges and tented camps. Please consult your personalized itinerary for full details of each place you will be staying on your safari or check out Accommodation.

Should you stay in the more modest local hotels/guest houses you will have the use of showers and toilets, hot water cannot always be guaranteed. The hotels/guest houses themselves are very basic and generally clean, the staff are friendly and helpful. These hotels/guest houses are mainly utilized by local businessmen as not many tourists pass through these areas. They can be fairly noisy, especially on weekends but the atmosphere is friendly and accepting. Food is generally good, hearty African fare, sometimes there are European/Western items available.

SAFARI ROAD CONDITIONS

While travelling through Tanzania/Zanzibar, you will be mostly on tarred roads and they are in reasonably good condition by African standards. There may be some VERY LONG days in the vehicle, but the interesting and diverse scenery generally makes up for it! There are however, some really bad sections of dirt road, especially in the more mountainous areas. In these areas travel will be slower, quite bumpy and there could be a lot of dust experienced en route. There are options for scheduled or charter flights for the longer routes – please enquire for prices and feasibility of this.

The Churchill Tailored Safaris Vehicles you will be traveling in are customized 4×4 vehicles which have been converted for local conditions; they have good leg room and seat between 4-7 persons, depending on the seating configuration, and have opening roof hatches for optimal game viewing. They are a little slower on the road than a saloon vehicle or a smaller ‘family’ 4×4 and do have air conditioning.

Your safari vehicle is generally used throughout the safari for traveling between destinations as well as for game drives and other activities at the lodges and within the National Parks.

PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY

There is no charge for personal filming of tour sites during the Churchill Tailored Safaris Tour and other scenes with personal video cameras, e.g. digital, slr etc. in Tanzania or Zanzibar.

Professional photographers, film makers or media should advise us at the time of booking as special procedures are required as well as costs to be incurred for photographing and filming.

Most lodges operate on solar power and so have limited facilities for charging batteries and some none at all, so come prepared with extra, just in case and charge up where ever it is possible en route on your safari – do not wait until down to your last battery!

Do not photograph any government buildings, police or military posts. Ask permission before photographing local tribesmen. For gorilla photography, a 35 – 70 mm zoom, or 50 mm fixed is usually sufficient, but you may want to carry a longer lens but remember you may well be in low light conditions. Take fast film if using film (200-400 ASA plus), as you are not allowed to use a flash. Please check your camera beforehand to ensure you know how to turn it off manually.

Game & bird photography obviously longer lens would be recommended 80-300mm ideally.
Do not spend all your time with the gorillas trying for the classic photograph, look around you and observe and enjoy these gentle animals.

CONSULATES/ EMBASSIES

Follow the link to the list of all Embassies & Consulates in Zanzibar

NATIONAL/PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

Follow the link to all National/Public Holidays in Tanzania and Zanzibar

NATIONAL PARKS AND TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

The Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is a 50 km2 (19 sq mi) national park of Tanzania located on the island of Zanzibar. It is the only national park in Zanzibar.

The Zanzibar red colobus, Procolobus kirkii (its population count is about 1000) found in the park, a rain forest species (unlike the black-and-white colobus found in other regions of Africa), is also known as Kirk’s red colobus, named after Sir John Kirk, the British Resident of Zanzibar who had first brought it to the attention of zoological science. It is now adopted as the flagship species for conservation in Zanzibar, from the mid-1990s. Other species of fauna found in the park are the Sykes monkey, bush babies, more than 50 species of butterfly and 40 species of bird The nocturnal Zanzibar tree hyrax, which has four ‘toes’ on its front feet and three on its back, is said to be the first hyrax species that has acclimatized to the forest. As part of the tourism circuit, the park attracts 10% of the over 100,000 visitors to Zanzibar every year. Wild life attractions of Zanzibar also include dolphins apart from deep sea fishing for tuna, marlin, and shark.Another animal in the forests of the Unguja Island unequaled elsewhere is the Zanzibar leopard (Panthera pardus adersi

 

You Are Now Equipped With The Important Travel Information! There is so much to see in Zanzibar, from the beautiful sunset scenery, to the amazing ocean, island creatures, historical buildings and majestic birds. The list goes on!

Let's Go!