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Is Zanzibar safe for tourists?

Is Zanzibar safe for tourists?Is Zanzibar safe for tourists? If you have concerns about the safety of Zanzibar, you can be reassured that the island is generally considered safe for tourists. Since tourism is the main economic activity, the authorities prioritize the safety of visitors. However, it’s still important to exercise caution. We’ve prepared some travel tips for your Zanzibar trip.

Our tips for your safety:
  • Leave your valuables at your accommodation
    It is advisable to store your valuable items, such as jewelry, watches, bracelets, and your wallet, in the safety deposit box provided at your hotel or accommodation. As a tourist, you may be perceived as wealthier by the locals, so it is important to take precautions. It is recommended to only carry a small amount of cash with you when going for a walk, and avoid walking on the beach or empty streets at night.
  • Show respect for local traditions
    Zanzibar is mainly inhabited by people practicing Islam, and their dressing is conservative. If you plan to vacation in the region, it is advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting remote areas. It is recommended that you cover your knees and shoulders and refrain from wearing short skirts and shorts. Public displays of affection are not commonly accepted.
  • Visiting religious institutions and historical sights
    It is advisable to be cautious when visiting religious sites, particularly in crowded areas and during religious demonstrations, especially on Fridays in and around Stone Town.
  • Enjoy the local cuisine, but safely!
    It is strongly advised to avoid drinking tap water in Zanzibar due to safety concerns. The majority of the drinking water is imported from the mainland. Additionally, it is recommended to exercise caution when consuming food and fruits sold on the streets, as these may not be suitable for those with a sensitive stomach.
  • Behavior in public
    Zanzibar is largely a Muslim community. Although locals are familiar with Western ways, tourists should always be respectful. This means not displaying too much public affection, making an effort to cover arms and legs and being discreet when consuming alcohol. This is especially relevant during Ramadan, the month of fasting when daytime eating and drinking should be done with respect. Keep in mind that as a traveler, you are also an ambassador of your own home country.
What do I need to know about crime in Zanzibar and street vendors?

Visitors should be mindful of their unfamiliar surroundings and stay alert at all times. In Zanzibar, many locals pose as tour guides for various activities such as historic tours in Stone Town or swimming with wild dolphins. These street vendors and so called “beach boys” can be persistent and pushy, so it’s important to politely inform them that arrangements have already been made. It’s best to book such activities through reputable tour operators or local hotels in Zanzibar.

  • Beach boys & beach vendors
    Keep in mind that many of them are trying to make a living from this as a result of lack of alternatives. They will try to approach you and tell you all kind of stories to get your attention. It is advisable not to respond and to not believe in their stories and not to follow them into unfamiliar places. 
  • Local Police
    If you’re wondering about the safety of Zanzibar, it’s worth noting that most police officers are generally friendly and willing to assist tourists during their visit. However, there have been incidents where tourists have been fined for minor offenses without receiving a formal ticket. If this happens to you, be sure to request a proper ticket, as this may result in the fine being waived.
General Safety Tips:

A few safety tips you might find useful while traveling to Zanzibar:

  • Keep your passport, jewelry, and other valuables in the hotel safe.
  • Stay alert for pickpockets and keep your money hidden.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash.
  • If you’re robbed, don’t resist.
  • Avoid walking alone at night and exercise caution in isolated areas and on beaches.
  • If you’re staying in a residential property, lock all doors and windows at night.
  • If police fine you for an infraction without providing a ticket, ask for one.
  • To avoid bag-snatching, keep your distance from the road and keep your bag close to you.
  • In case of an emergency, dial 112.
  • Gay travelers should be aware that homosexuality is considered illegal in Tanzania and public displays of affection can lead to arrest and imprisonment.
Safety travel tips for solo travelers in Tanzania and Zanzibar:

If you are a solo traveler, Zanzibar is generally considered to be a safe destination. However, it’s advisable to avoid drawing unwanted attention to yourself. 

  • Try to blend in and immerse yourself in the local culture as much as possible. 
  • It’s also recommended that you don’t go out alone at night and avoid drinking alcohol to prevent getting into trouble. While no place is completely free from danger, it’s important to be mindful of your behavior and surroundings when traveling alone. 
  • Seek advice from your accommodation and let them know where you plan to go, and ask them to arrange your transportation. 
  • Purchasing a local phone card and obtaining the phone numbers of local taxi and bajaji drivers can also be helpful in communicating with them directly for pickup.
Safety travel tips for female travelers in Tanzania and Zanzibar:

While Zanzibar is considered a safe destination for travelers, it’s essential to take extra precautions as a female solo traveler to ensure your safety. Below are some safety tips to keep in mind when traveling solo as a woman in Zanzibar:

  • Do your research: Familiarize yourself with the culture, customs, and laws of the area before you travel.
  • Stay in a safe area: Choose a hotel or guesthouse in a well-lit area and avoid staying in isolated areas or walking alone at night.
  • Dress modestly: Avoid wearing revealing clothing to avoid unwanted attention from locals.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Trust your instincts and leave immediately if you feel uncomfortable in a certain area.
  • Avoid traveling alone at night: If you must, make sure you have a trusted companion with you.
  • Use cards instead of carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Stay connected: Keep a working mobile phone with you at all times to stay connected with family and friends and call for help if needed.
  • Use a reputable taxi service if you need to get somewhere.
  • Keep an eye on your drink: Never leave it unattended to prevent being drugged and robbed.
  • Stay in touch with your family and let them know your whereabouts to ensure your safety.

We hope that those tips will help you to fully enjoy your Zanzibar vacation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further information. We are happy to assist you.

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