Zanzibar, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, boasts of a wealth of history and cultural heritage, reflected in over eighty-five identified heritage sites. Based on recent archaeological investigation, it was confirmed that Zanzibar was once a Stone Age settlement in the period between 30,000 – 3,000 BC. Heritage sites dotted across the two main islands of Unguja & Pemba are a relic of this distant period. From the beginning of the first millennium traders across Asia and the Arabian Peninsula had commercial ties with coastal communities in East Africa, and the dhow played a critical role in the development of trade routes that brought mainland Africans, Arabs, Indians, Chinese and Portuguese to the shores of Zanzibar.
The East African coast was involved in commerce in the Indian Ocean for at least two thousand years. It also served as an intermediate zone of exchange between various producing and consuming areas. It was through commerce that cultural interaction took place between the African interior and countries across the Indian Ocean. This led to the flourishing of what later became the Swahili civilization.
Zanzibar experiences a warm tropical climate, where temperatures are relatively high and with humid conditions almost throughout the year. The islands experiences two green season, with the longest and heaviest rainfall from March to May and the short rainfall from September to November.
Lying 6 degrees south of the equator, Zanzibar has an equatorial climate. Temperatures are high with an average of 25°c during the day and as high as 39°c in February and as low as 20°c in August.
It is humid throughout the year with the predominant south and north eastern monsoons. Due to its position along the coast, the climate is affected by the sea breezes making it more comfortable to visitors even during warm period
PACKING TIPS & DRESS CODE
Zanzibar is generally warm and humid throughout the year and as such it is advisable to wear light (cotton / linen) clothes. During cooler months, the weather conditions may be relatively cooler and sometimes windy especially along the beach.
As a predominantly Muslim country, modest clothing is encouraged:
- When in the towns and villages especially, shoulders should be covered, as should your knees.
- A long skirt or loose-fitting pants are good in the heat and will protect you from the sun.
- A pashmina or sarong is a versatile item that you can use for modest or sun protection.
- Swim wears should be restricted to the hotels or resorts and avoided in the public areas.
GOOD TO KNOW
All appliances run on 220/240 volt. Outlets are of the flat 3 pin-15amp type.
Money and currencies:
Tanzania uses shillings (Tanzania shillings) as its National Currency, which is in both, notes and coins. US Dollars are also widely acceptable. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the Bureaus, Banks and some Hotels.
Credit cards are acceptable in most hotels, restaurants & other tourist establishments, most common are Master Cards and Visa.