What language do they speak in Zanzibar

Zanzibar travel tips


The people of Zanzibar are of different ethnic origins, so many languages ​​are spoken on the island. English is the official language, but among themselves the people living on Zanzibar mainly speak Swahili, which is also regarded as the official language. In addition to the many different tribal languages, due to the history of Zanzibar, Arabic is also spoken in some areas. As a tourist you can get along very well with the English language.


Based on history, it is estimated that over 90 percent of the population are followers of Islam. Christians, Hinduists and followers of natural religions are also native to Zanzibar.

time shift

As on mainland Tanzania, CET +2 hours applies on Zanzibar. The difference to Germany is +2 hours in European winter and +1 hour in summer. There is no summer or winter time change in Zanzibar.

Eat Drink

It is not exceptional to have a nervous stomach at the start of your trip. This is a natural reaction of the body to climatic and hygienic changes. Take a small first-aid kit with you with the most important medicines, so as not to spoil your vacation. Please also note that tap water is not drinking water as in Germany. Always boil tap water before drinking it or using it to brush your teeth. You should avoid ice cubes in drinks despite the hot temperatures. Also, avoid raw fish and meat and let them cook well instead. Vegetables and fruits should be washed or preferably peeled before consumption.

The different cultures are not only found in language and architecture. The multicultural influences are also reflected in the kitchen. A lot of fish, vegetables and also chicken are used and often prepared in combination with coconut sauce and lots of exotic fruits. Tanzanian beer such as Safari, Kilimanjaro and Serengeti is very tasty. The wine is usually imported from South Africa and is therefore a bit more expensive, but accordingly very good.

In the Forodhani Gardens in Stone Town, vendors offer local delicacies from sunset. While high standards of hygiene generally apply in the hotels, the same cannot be said for these stands.

Power supply

As in all East African countries, the alternating current is between 220 and 240 volts. You need a three-pin adapter (British system) for the German plug, which is best organized before departure.

Internet communication

Many hotels now have internet, either in the form of an internet café or W-LAN access. Please note that power and grid failures can often occur in Zanzibar.

Shopping tips

In particular, spices from Zanzibar are extremely good souvenirs. Among other things, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, cardamom and pepper are grown on the spice plantations in mixed cultures with other crops and a visit is always worthwhile. Zanzibar was the largest producer of cloves in the world in the 19th century. The spices can be tasted and also bought. Real vanilla sticks are significantly cheaper than in Europe. But it is still worthwhile to always negotiate the prices! Carvings, jewelry and textiles are also good souvenirs.

For more information on Germany's import conditions, please go to the German Customs website.

Manners & Customs

Over 90 percent of the residents of Zanzibar are Muslim. They should respect their beliefs and follow certain rules of conduct. For example, you shouldn't go to a mosque in swimming trunks or flip-flops. Women should cover their shoulders and knees outside of hotels, and men should wear trousers that come above their knees.

Health insurance coverage

Since you are traveling to non-European countries, you should definitely take out travel health insurance for the duration of your stay in advance. Talk to your health insurance company, they will definitely help you. Alternatively, the Elefant-Tours team will be happy to offer you a corresponding international travel health insurance.