Zanzibar

Resting approximately 40 kilometres from the Tanzanian coast, this idyllic archipelago consists of Zanzibar and Pemba islands as well as numerous smaller islets.

Zanzibar Island is characterised by exquisite white sand beaches fringed by palm trees and lapped by turquoise waters lined with coral reefs brimming with an abundance of exotic marine life. This underwater paradise is a mecca for watersport enthusiasts who flock here for the excellent scuba diving, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, kayaking, kitesurfing, and sailing on traditional dhows.

The island’s old city, Stone Town, features a maze of narrow alleyways lined with boutiques, bars, restaurants, lively bazaars, mosques and ornate Arab houses. Don’t miss the chance to relax in the lap of luxury on the exclusive private island of Mnemba, lying just 3 kilometres off the coast of the main island.

Casual and informal.  Cool summer clothes and beach wear for the coast plus something smarter for the evenings;  shorts/swimsuits are usually not allowed in hotel dining rooms. A good hat and sunglasses are essential. We will provide you with a full packing list prior to departure.

Zanzibaris are predominantly Muslim and have a strict dress code. Please be sensitive to this when you are in the towns/villages and ensure your chest and shoulders are covered as well as your legs above the knees. The locals are generally too polite to comment but you will cause offence if you are underdressed.

Proflight flies from Lusaka to Mfuwe (South Luangwa), to Livingstone and the Copperbelt and also does charters.Various air charter companies will fly to any of the many airstrips around the country and most of the areas worth visiting are accessible by air.

Public Transport

There are many taxis available. Prices are negotiable. There is a good bus service to Chipata, Livingstone, the Copperbelt and Harare, but they don’t always follow strict schedules. The main bus terminus is in Dedan Kimathi Road in Lusaka where one can inquire about timetables. Other private bus companies offer more reliable services to Livingstone, Harare and Johannesburg.

Travel by Bus

Long range buses frequently leave from Lusaka to all the main towns. The intercity bus terminal can be found one road up from Cairo Road at the station.

Minibuses and taxis, local transport – all painted blue – can be jumped on at pretty much any juncture. They’re not expensive and you can always find a minibus that won’t cost too much to buy all the seats in it to get your own private minibus to wherever you want to go but you’ll have to negotiate.

Travel by Road

Zambia has 38,763 kilometres of roads, about 10,000 kms of which are tarred and another 8000 kms are gravel road. The rest range from reasonable to bad dirt roads.

If you’re doing a vehicle trip through Zambia it is a good idea to carry a range of tools and essential spares with you.

Be really careful, especially if travelling at night for road markings are usually non existent. Do watch out for animals in the road, vehicles without lights, pedestrians, unannounced roadworks, bad drivers and broken down trucks with no warning triangles. If you see a tree branch in the road, slow down immediately – these are improvised warning triangles and there’s bound to be a truck or car in the middle of the road up ahead.

Be sure to have all your vehicle papers on hand as you’re bound to encounter a few roadblocks.

Not surprisingly Zanzibar’s specialities are centred around what is available locally, so take full advantage of the variety of spicy seafood dishes on offer. Lobsters, kingfish, prawns, octopus, crabs and squid are just a few of the many types of seafood on offer on Zanzibar Island. Coconut also features in many dishes.

While predominantly a Muslim community, small bars can be found everywhere in Zanzibar. Try the ginger beer – tangawizi. The sugar cane juice and fresh coconut milk are not to be missed.

Tap water in Zanzibar is not recommended for tourists, and most travelers try to stick to mineral water, which can be found in town as well as at most hotels and camps.

Just south of the equator, Zanzibar’s weather pattern follows that of Tanzania very closely – although always tends to be a little more humid – and occasional rain in the dry season is less uncommon than in the heart of the mainland Tanzania.

Generally the main rainy season, or the ‘long rains’, last during MarchApril and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which can be heavy on any of the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.

The long dry season, when rainfall is fairly unusual, lasts throughout JuneJulyAugustSeptember and October. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it’s usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – it’s a great time to visit Zanzibar. During November and December there’s another rainy season: the ‘short rains’. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable.

If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months, January and February, which is Tanzania’s ‘short dry season’, before starting to rain again in earnest in March.

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