If you’re dreaming of a Zanzibar holiday, you’re not alone. This East African island is widely known for its great natural beauty, idyllic beaches, warm azure waters, friendly locals, and laid-back vibes. For South Africans, Zanzibar offers a rewarding destination that is not too far from home, with plenty to offer in the way of sights, sounds and experiences.
Things to Avoid on a Zanzibar Holiday
While there is certainly no shortage of things to do in this part of the world, it is worth noting that there are also a few things that you should certainly avoid on your Zanzibar holiday to ensure that nothing gets in the way of true tropical bliss.
Some of the things to stay clear of on your Zanzibar holiday include the following:
Forgoing anti-malaria medication
Although the risk is not as high as other parts of Tanzania, Zanzibar is still within the malaria belt. There is a risk of malaria at all times of the year, which means that anti-malaria medication is essential. Your doctor will prescribe Mefloquine, Doxycycline, Atovaquone or another trusted medication before you leave home. Follow directions to the letter and also take precautionary measures throughout your trip. Wear long sleeves and trousers where possible, sleep under a net and use a good insect repellant. If you notice any symptoms within 12 months of your return, seek help immediately.
Ignoring local customs and religions
As welcoming as Zanzibaris are, it is good to remember that the country is predominately Muslim, with a number of local customs in place. You will need to show consideration by dressing modestly and showing respect. Swimwear, short skirts and revealing clothing should be limited to Zanzibar resorts, hotels and beaches. In public, men and women should keep knees and shoulders covered, avoid massive displays of affection outside of holding hands, avoid drunken behaviour, avoid foul language, and any other activity or behaviour that may offend. Mosques are considered sacred and non-Muslims should only enter by invite.
Taking photographs without permission
It is not permitted to take photographs of prayers from the entrance of mosques. Taking photographs of locals without permission is also not a good idea. Some locals may not mind if you ask them if you may take a photo, but others may not want to be photographed. This applies to villages as well as beaches and landmarks. Always ask to be 100% sure that your subject is happy with their picture being taken. If you are unsure whether certain buildings may be photographed, it is best to err on the side of caution and ask a local before taking any pictures of government buildings or official buildings.
Just like any other destination in the world, Tanzania’s tropical island requires a bit of respect and thought. Put a bit of consideration into your dress and actions and you should have no trouble during your Zanzibar holiday.