Confidence Guarantee - Read more

Practical information about Zanzibar

Practical information about Zanzibar
Practical information about Zanzibar

Practical information about Zanzibar

Best time to travel

Zanzibar is close to the equator and therefore warm all year round. There is an average of 7-8 hours of sunshine per day. When it’s winter in the UK, Zanzibar is at its hottest. The sea breeze often takes the edge off the summer heat. On the east coast, there is a big difference between the ebb and flow. The rainy season lasts from the end of March to the middle of May, and again from November to December.

Average Temp
Average precipitation mm
Night Temp


Water Temp

In Zanzibar, the tide is part of nature. You can experience this fantastic phenomenon on the east coast of Zanzibar. At high tide, the water comes right up to the hotel’s protective shoreline defences, and at low tide, you can walk 5-800 metres out onto the seabed and enjoy Zanzibar’s wide beaches to the fullest.

In the 12 or so hours between high tide and low tide, you have plenty of opportunity to swim in the wonderful Indian Ocean. And if you’re lucky to be there when it’s low tide in the evening, the hotels regularly organise dinner on the beach itself under the open sky – an absolutely amazing experience.

The tides can also be experienced on the north coast, though not to the same extent as on the east coast, where the effect is somewhat less dramatic. This also means that the water at the beaches typically gets deeper faster, and you should be aware of this when swimming – especially with children. But the north coast beaches are also lovely.

Passport & visa

It goes without saying that you need to bring your passport with you.

British citizens need a valid visa to travel to Tanzania. The visa application should be completed online here

Before you proceed with the visa application itself, we recommend that you read the step-by-step application guide carefully. You will find the guide here.

When you start your visa application, you should have the following to hand:

  • Your passport
  • A digital passport photo in JPEG or PNG format, not exceeding 300 KB
  • A copy of your passport in JPEG or PNG format, not exceeding 300 KB
  • A copy of your itinerary (you’ll need the name and address of your hotel. If you’re staying at several different hotels, simply write the name and address of your first hotel)

You should apply for an “ordinary visa (single entry visa)”.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after departure from Tanzania, and there must be two blank pages in the passport for entry and exit stamps.

You should expect it to take 14 days for your visa to be approved. We recommend that you regularly check the status on the website above, as you will not always receive an email to inform you of your visa approval. Once your visa is approved, you should print it out and bring it with you to Tanzania.

It is also possible to apply for a visa upon your arrival in Tanzania, but we recommend you apply for it from home to save time at the airport.

The visa fee is USD 50, regardless of whether you apply online or on arrival in Tanzania.

Children travelling alone or with an adult other than their parents must bring the written consent of their parents in the form of a letter of attorney as well as the child’s birth certificate (in English).

The visa regulations can be checked on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.

We also recommend that you double check the above visa rules, as they may change at short notice. Please contact the Tanzania High Commission in London.

If you are a British citizen and you have booked a combination tour including both Tanzania and Kenya, you are required to have a visa for both countries. We refer to our Practical Information on Kenya for information on how to apply for a visa to Kenya.

Travel documents

Before your departure, you will be sent some travel documents containing important information, which we recommend that you print out and bring with you on your tour. You will, for example, receive your travel itinerary as well as the telephone numbers of our local partners at the destination, allowing you to get in touch with them if you need help along the way.

We recommend that you download the WhatsApp app to your smartphone and add the phone numbers of our business partners. You can send messages and call them for free using the app when you have a Wi-Fi connection.


We recommend that you contact a medical specialist, your GP or an authorised vaccination clinic for information about vaccinations. You can also read more about the rules regarding travel vaccinations here.

Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another country where yellow fever is present. Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. Your vaccination certificate should therefore always be carried with you in your hand luggage when you travel.

NB: You are required to present a printed version of your vaccination certificate when entering Tanzania.


There is currently no Covid-19 vaccination requirement for entry into Tanzania. However, these rules may change at short notice. It is your responsibility to check these rules before departure.

Please note that certain Covid-19 rules may apply at the stopover airports on your way to/from Tanzania. It is also your responsibility to check this before departure.

You’re always very welcome to contact us if you have any questions about this.

Travel terms and conditions

Please read our general travel terms and conditions carefully, as these are part of the agreement terms for tours purchased at TourCompass. Tours purchased from us are covered under the “Package Travel Act”.

Click here to read our travel terms and conditions.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it.
Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate click here.

Travel insurance

We always advise you to obtain comprehensive travel insurance when heading off on your dream holiday. It is also highly recommended to acquire cancellation insurance for extra protection. 

Click here to proceed to our page on insurance, where you can read more about our recommendations.

Currency, price level & tipping

The Tanzanian currency is called the Tanzanian shilling (TZS).

Tanzanian currency may not be imported or taken out of the country. We therefore recommend that you exchange to shilling at the airport or withdraw some cash on your arrival in Tanzania.

Payment can also be made in USD in Tanzania. We recommend that you carry a small amount with you (1–5-dollar bills), as this is most commonly used at markets, or for payment of tips and the like. You can also withdraw cash from cash machines using Visa and MasterCard, and pay by card in some places.

Please be aware that the hotels in Zanzibar charge a hotel tax of USD 5 per person per day. This will be charged to you when you check out.



In Tanzania, it is customary to tip guides, waiters and other service personnel.
Tips are therefore expected, but it is, of course, up to you how much you wish to pay.

As a rule of thumb, you can reckon on the following:

  • 10-15 USD per person per day to the guide
  • 2 USD for luggage which the porter carries for you
  • 10% in bars and restaurants
  • 2 USD a day for maids

We recommend that you tip your guide/driver at the end of your tour – preferably in a sealed envelope.

Food & allergies

At the vast majority of our destinations, we are able to take allergies, as well as allergens or preferences into account when it comes to food, however it is important that you inform us of this when you book the tour.


Telephones, Wi-Fi & electricity

Most hotels and lodges receive electricity from their own generators, which are normally turned off after midnight. So, remember to bring a small torch with you on holiday. The voltage is 240 V and 3-pin plugs are used.

In the hotel descriptions on our website, you can see whether Wi-Fi is available at the hotels. Please note that the connection may be unstable.

What to pack

Make sure you pack all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, vaccination cards, travel documents, insurance documents, credit cards, money, computers, mobile phones and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.

We recommend that you pack your things in soft bags when going on a safari holiday. It’s easier to pack the safari cars with soft bags than suitcases. Hardcase suitcases are particularly difficult to fit in to the safari car. So, if possible, avoid using suitcases with hard edges.

Bring light summer clothes, long trousers and long sleeved shirts that protect against mosquitoes after sunset and, if necessary, against the sun during the day. Avoid bare feet and legs in the evening due to the mosquitoes.

There are mosquito nets in most of the rooms (or the area will be sprayed for mosquitoes), but it’s also a good idea to bring mosquito spray and antipruritic agents with you from home

If you head outside the hotel, we recommend that you cover yourself up, as very short shorts/skirts, strappy tops, etc. can be seen as offensive and in the worst case, you may even incur a fine.

Please note that all use, import and production of plastic bags, such as those we know from supermarkets, etc., is prohibited in Tanzania. We therefore recommend that you avoid using plastic bags when packing your luggage. Use fabric bags instead, or bags made of a waterproof material other than plastic.

Bringing plant products into the UK

Visitors are not permitted to bring plants, seeds, fruit and other plant products into the UK from their travels outside the UK, unless they are accompanied by a plant health (phytosanitary) certificate. These rules also apply to smaller quantities of plants and plant products.

Read more about the rules here.

Travellers with impaired mobility

Please note that this tour is not generally suitable for people with impaired mobility. Please contact us for information about your options in relation to your specific needs.

Airline tickets

Most airlines have electronic tickets (e-tickets).

It is important that you check your name for spelling errors, as the name on the reservation must be exactly as it appears on your passport. If your name needs to be corrected, please contact us as soon as possible. Please note that this may incur a fee from the airline.

Seat reservation

The airline will assign you a seat on the plane at check-in. If you have specific wishes regarding where you sit on the plane, you can make a seat reservation yourself on the airline’s website or in their app. Please note that most airlines require payment for a seat reservation.

It varies when airlines open for seat reservations, but as a general rule, you can book seats from the time of booking and up to 48 hours before departure.

We also point out that the airline has complete control over all seats on the plane and that they are therefore entitled to make changes to the reservation at any time.
If you do not make a seat reservation before departure, the airline will assign you a seat at check-in.


Your passport and your booking reference, which appears on your itinerary, are required to check in.

We recommend that you download the airline’s app on your phone. In the app, there is an option for online check-in, which typically opens 24 to 48 hours before departure. The app also allows you to stay informed of any flight changes and other important information about your flight.

Please note that the flight times may have changed in relation to those listed on the travel itinerary you received when you booked your holiday. It is always the flight times in the airline’s app or on the airline’s website that apply.

At the airport

We recommend that you arrive at the airport to check in at least two hours before departure. It is a good idea to check the airport’s website for the latest updates.


We use many different airlines for our destinations. You can check the exact rules for hand luggage and checked baggage on the airline’s website or in their app.

If you are taking a domestic flight in Tanzania, you should be aware that the maximum baggage allowance in the checked-in suitcase is 15-20 kg and the maximum hand luggage allowance is 5 kg. Please note that you are not usually permitted to bring a trolley bag as carry-on, as the planes do not have space for them in the overhead compartments above the seats.

If, for example, you are visibly carrying hand luggage in plastic bags upon your arrival in Zanzibar, you will be asked to hand them in. This also includes plastic bags from “Duty Free”.

Delayed baggage

If your baggage is delayed, please contact the staff in the baggage reclaim area to report your missing baggage.

It is important that you have your baggage receipt when completing your PIR (Property Irregularity Report).

Please note that you must not leave the baggage area at the airport until you have completed the report.

In the event of delayed baggage, we ask you to contact our partner, who will ensure that your guide/driver waits for you.

Flight delays or cancellations

Should any changes occur in connection with your flight reservation before departure, we will of course contact you to let you know.

Should your flight be delayed after check-in, the airline is responsible for rebooking your flight. They will typically book the next possible flight and arrange any meals and accommodation if necessary.

Our partner checks for any changes in arrival times and will naturally still wait for you, even if your flight is delayed.

If, due to a delay or cancellation, the airline books you on another flight number after you have arrived at the airport, please contact us on TourCompass’ emergency number.

Immigration & Customs


When you arrive at your final destination, you will go through immigration, where your passport and any entry documents and visas are checked. In many places, you will be required to provide fingerprints, and a photo of your face will also be taken for biometric recognition. You may also be asked questions about your travel plans in the country and possibly where you are staying.


Once you’ve cleared immigration and picked up your luggage, you will head through customs. If you have nothing to declare, you can go through “nothing to declare”. If, on the other hand, you have something to declare, it is important that you go through “declare”. It’s your own responsibility to check the customs regulations that apply in the country you are travelling to.

On your arrival at your end destination, you have to go through immigration, where your passport, visa (if applicable) and any other entry documents are checked. You may also be asked questions about your travel plans in the country and possibly where you are staying. In some places, both your photo and fingerprints are taken.

You will be required to complete arrival and departure forms in Tanzania.

Under the section where you have to fill in your address in Tanzania, you should enter the name of the first hotel/lodge where you will be staying.


When you come out into the arrivals hall at the airport, you will be met by a guide/driver holding up a TourCompass sign with your name on it, who will make sure you get safely to your hotel.

In the unexpected event that you cannot find your guide/driver, please contact our partner on the emergency number which appears on the travel documents.

Hotel check-in and check-out

Normal check-in is typically from 2 pm, and you cannot therefore count on getting your room earlier. If you’d like to check in early, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

When you check in, the receptionist will generally register your credit card and may reserve an amount. This is not an additional fee, but customary at hotels to ensure payment of any consumption from the minibar and the like. When you check out, the amount will be automatically released if you have not made use of this.

It is very normal for hotels to take a copy of your passport. In some places, this is a requirement of the local authorities.

Check-out is normally by 10 am. If you’re not travelling until the afternoon or evening, you can have your luggage stored until it’s time to leave. If you would like a late check-out instead, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

Please be aware that the hotels in Zanzibar charge a hotel tax of USD 5 per person per day. This will be charged to you when you check out.

Type of tour and transport

In the event of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, blocked roads or otherwise, it may be necessary to change the order of sightseeing tours and attractions in your itinerary.


Need for help during the tour?

We have a 24-hour emergency hotline so that you can always get in touch with us should anything unforeseen occur during your tour. You will also be sent the telephone numbers and emergency telephone numbers of our partners at the destination. In some cases, it may be easiest and fastest to contact our partners due to time differences, if, for example, you find yourself in a situation where your pick-up for an excursion or transfer is more than 15 minutes delayed.


Our livelihood depends on satisfied guests, and we would therefore very much like to hear from you after your return home. Send us an email at or call us on tel.: 01279 704 135.

Catriona Hodge

Catriona is passionate about helping other people fulfill their travel dreams, as she knows how much travel has only improved her life for the better!

Opening hours
Monday-Thursday 9-15
Friday 9-13