Visiting Zanzibar? Here Are 7 Things You Need To Know
Unlike other places in East Afrika, like Arusha Highland or the National parks, Zanzibar and the south of Tanzania are much warmer and more tropical than other areas.
The average temperature in Zanzibar is 26°C, with February being the hottest (on average 28°C) and July being the coldest month (24°C). Exceptions are the rain seasons, which are in March and April (the big rainy season) and November/December (little rainy season).
Here you find the tropical climate everybody is expecting when they travel to Africa. To help you prepare for your stay at this tropical paradise, we have put together a few things.
As mentioned before, here on Zanzibar it is hot throughout the year, with the relentless sun burning down. Keep also in mind that it is still better to wear light and loose fitting clothing and a hat, instead of relying on sunscreen alone. When choosing the right sun block, you can keep an eye on whether or not it contains certain ingredients, which are more harmful to the eco system surrounding you and the marine life when going swimming. As a start, you can check if the cream or spray contains the following substances and if possible, avoid them:
Oxybenzone / Benzofen-3 / bp-3
Octyl methoxycinnamate / octinoxate
So what ingredients are good for you? Generally you can look out for products that contain
Zinc oxide (preference for non-nano plastic particles)
With this website you can check if a certain product contains microplastics.*
2) Aftersun Cream & Aloe Vera Gel
After a long day visiting the markets and city, or a afternoon spending sun bathing and snorkelling, your skin has been exposed to the strong African sun. To protect your biggest organ, you should make use of some sort of aftersun care, for example an Aloe Vera gel. Not only does it feel amazing on your skin, it also has shown effective against radiation damage from UV rays, as well as a moisturizing effect.**
Tipp: For an extra kick, you can store the gel in the fridge, and enjoy the cooling sensatuion on your skin.
3) Mosquito Repellent
Usually mosquitos come with the rain. We suggest that you spray yourself every time you go outside.
4) Malaria Pills
It is recommended to take measures against malaria before stepping foot on the island. You should inform yourself and consult professionals about what sort of medication is best suited for you, considering, among other things, the type of accommodation, style of travel, individual health assessment, and medical history.
You can have a look at the CDC website (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to gain insight into malaria transmission and prophylaxis recommendations.
5) Bargaining with Street Vendors
If you want to buy a nice souvenir to remember your trip by, you can get all sorts of little memories from the street sellers. Negotiation about the price is normal and culturally expected, so don't be hesitant to do so. Try to not force a price that is too low though, as you as a traveller are more privileged than most of the locals there. When you come to a fair agreement you will be met with an open smile and an authentic and wonderful reminder of your trip.
6) Henna Tattoos and Braided Hair
When walking through the streets, you will most likely find hair salons or women braiding hair, as well as henna art being done. If you decide to let your hair get braided, bring some time with you and be prepared for some hair pulling, as most braiding is done very tightly and close to the scalp as to make them last you longer.
Another way have a beautiful reminder of your experience is to get an intricate henna tattoo. The elegant patterns are drawn on with a natural plant dye paste made from the henna plant. When dried, you can rub off the extra paste and be left with a beautiful reddish colour, that can last you up to two weeks, depending on how often you wash and scrub that body part.
7) Book Your Trips via Your Accommodation
A good way to get amazing deals on the trips you want to do is by booking these directly via your accommodation. Not only is this convenient, but most hotels and other places have deals with local guides and specialized people who grew up there and have immense knowledge on local wildlife, plants and culture. This way you are supporting and strengthening the local economy.
To round this up, always remember to be open to the other culture, although some things might seem very different to what you are used to. Now you're all prepared for an unforgettable time!