Safety in Zanzibar

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Feb 7th, 2005, 10:43 AM
  #1
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Safety in Zanzibar

We are planning a safari in Kenya/Tanzania and then a beach week at Breezes Beach resort on Zanzibar. But I am getting bad vibes about the crime/safety situation in Tanzania and particularly in Zanzibar. We are assuming it is safe inside a beach resort, but what about walking in the neighbourhoood (east coast) and what about in Stonetown? We don't want to be prisoners in a 'whites only' ghetto. Has the situation deteriorated in the last few years? I would like to hear from someone who has been recently. Many thanks Daphne
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Feb 7th, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Hi Daphne

No way!!!

There are no reports of any organized crime against visitors in Tanzania.

On Zanzibar and in particular Stone Town, the basic rules of caution apply which I don't need to repeat here. At night, be particularly careful.

There are hundreds of visitors using public transport back and forth across Zanzibar every day. Young girls, young couples, older couples.

Nungwi in the crowded North had an insulated report lately of robbery when tourists walked between resorts.

At Breezes, there is really no reason to wander far except up and down the beach.

Actually, I was there just a few months ago could not help staring at the numerous new resorts being built. The first thing up is the big wall to keep the locals out - and they import Maasai guards from the mainland to help with security! Theft is certainly an issue.

Be street-wise, don't wander far away from the crowds and check with several locals before going somewhere on your own.
Eben
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Feb 7th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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Daphne,

I am by no means an expert, but a friend and I visited Zanzibar last summer and had many of the same concerns as you. We found a lot of what we had heard was greatly exaggerated (perhaps in our own minds).

The "trapped in a white ghetto" thing: there is an element of that, yes. It's up to you guys to break out of it. Sure, there may be some people who want to rip off tourists, although personally we didn't encounter a single soul like that. People want to make a buck, sure, but of course they do.

Befriend the staff at Breezes and see what happens, what they recommend. We ended up going to a beach party in another village with the entire staff of our guest house (except for security) one night. We certainly stood out but we were NOT in a "white ghetto."

Of course, take normal safety precautions, and ask people what to watch out for.

I found Zanzibar (and mainland Tanzania) extremely interesting. Eye-opening.

Oh, and beautiful beyond description too!

Have great time.
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Feb 8th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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Hi Daphne,

My husband and I just got back from a month in Tanzania and Zanzibar... and there was absolutely no problem! Keep in mind that we were on a private tour while on the mainland, and so we always had locals with us... But on Zanzibar, we were on our own. We spent about 3 days in Stone Town, staying at the Tembo House Hotel (which I highly recommend) and then 3 nights at Pongwe Beach Resort in the east. We never had a problem. We walked around freely on the streets and in the markets of Stone Town (not at night of course), taking only the usual precautions (such as not flaunting expensive camera equipment, dressing appropriately, etc.) and on one of the nights, we even walked back along the main road from having a few drinks at the local bar, and we had no problems. The touts can be bothersome I think only if you seem interested, because if you answer initially that you've already booked a tour and you're not interested in what they're selling... we didn't get hassled at all. And then on the beach, there were no problems! (and the Breezes resort seems much more expensive than where we stayed even...) Ours was on the east coast, and it was on a public beach, meaning that the locals came from town on the weekends and passed by - they didn't stay, but we certainly interacted with them. This was great and we never felt any security issues at all - in fact, the staff didn't even have keys to our rooms - they had to ask for ours if they wanted in to make up the rooms. The only place where you maybe should be extra cautious is Dar Es Salaam, which is known to be fairly unsafe in terms of crime (oh, and you may want to check if your trip coincides with the October 2005 elections on Zanzibar) ... other than that, Tanzania was wonderful, be cautious and you'll have a wonderful time!
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Feb 8th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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Alwaysafrica,

I'm eager to hear how you liked Pongwe. It was our first choice but they were fully booked for the time we were visiting Zanzibar.

What did you think? (I'm trying to arrange another, longer trip without going broke or getting fired.)

And Daphne, I meant "have A great time." I'm certain you will.
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Feb 10th, 2005, 01:41 AM
  #6
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Many thanks for your inputs. It has been difficult to assess the risk factor because people who have had trouble may be few but it spoils their holiday. Also the British and US governments's websites are pretty off-putting.
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