Zanzibar, Tanzania

Old Aug 1st, 2004, 08:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 15
Zanzibar, Tanzania

I am planning a trip to Zanzibar in Jan. 2005 Would appreciate any info on this area. Just how safe is it for two Caucasian Christian women? Good hotels, must see etc.
redintherainbow is offline  
Old Aug 1st, 2004, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 456
I can't answer your questions, but I do have some observations. I had planned to go to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar in November, 2004, and purchased recently Annabel Skinner's Tanzania & Zanzibar (Cadogan Guides, 2003). Subsequently, my plans changed and, now, I'm planning to go to the Kenya coast (Mombasa, Lamu) and maybe Pemba (if the ferry is running from Mombasa to Pemba) in December. I heartily recommend Ms. Skinner's book. Through inter-library loan at my local library, I've just gotten the Bradt travel guide to Tanzania, with Zanzibar, Pemba & Mafia (4th ed., 2002). It has a good chapter on Zanzibar. I believe that these guides will give you assurance of your safety, presuming appropriate deportment, and plenty of information for an enjoyable visit. ZZ P.S. I'm a Caucasian woman traveling alone. Z
Zambezi is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 03:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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I really do not want to scare you, and I would go anywhere including Zanzibar but.....Saftey is a big issue in Zanzibar. My father has a home in Tanzania and visits Zanzibar sometimes. His opinion of the place is not a good one. When I put it on my list to visit with my husband, Dad requested that I only visit dressed in Muslim garb (long black dress - everything covered - including face and hair) and accompanied by a local he would send with us.

My father is a white American living with local Tanzanians (a few Catholics but mostly Muslim and Tribal religions). Not much alerts him, but his exact words to me concerning Zanzibar were "the place is filled with freaks, healers (witch doctors) drugs and AIDS". Just please be very careful and maybe arrange for a guide.

Dar Salaam on the other hand is a lovely place, well worth a visit.
LilyLace is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Before someone decides to take issue with my previous comments, please know that I am only telling you what I know of this place. I hate to be critical of any place and am always open to adventure, rarely worrying too much about safety unless my government (US, in my case) forbids travel there I'll go!

I would however make sure to stay in a very reputable hotel.
LilyLace is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Dear redintherainbow,
I was in Zanzibar towards the end of 2000. When we arrived in Dar-es-salaam (having travelled overland) the travel agent didn't want to make hotel reservations for us because there had been riots and several deaths very recently and there was soon to be another election.

We told her all the places we had been on our trip (Mali, Zimbabwe, Senegal etc) and she eventually booked us in to Emerson and Green (for a very reasonable price because all of the tourists seemed to have left!) Anyway to cut a long story short everything was fine. The violence was not directed at tourists.

It's certainly recommended to dress in a respectful manner which is just polite. Perhaps my information is out of date but I wouldn't have any hesitation returning to Zanzibar...although I think right now I'd be more interested in seeing Lamu which I've heard is great.

As for Lily's concerns I often find those living locally are more conservative in their advice and this applies to the US and to Africa.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 04:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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A friend and I (both "Caucasian" women, early 30s, American) spent nearly a week on Zanzibar following a safari on the mainland just a couple of weeks ago.

People are very relaxed on Zanzibar, and they're happy to see tourists. It's a pretty tolerant place, as far as I could tell. That said, I dressed respectfully (for a tourist): kept my shoulders covered, no shorts, skirts past my knees, etc. Plenty of people didn't, however, and no one seemed to hassle them.

I really liked Zanzibar the longer I stayed. At first Stone Town sort of frayed my nerves after being so well taken care of on a safari (guide with you all the time vs. people constantly trying to become your guide as you walk around). Then I just got used to it and had a fabulous time.

p.s. I took a spice tour and thought it was a bit disappointing. But Zanzibar is great, very beautiful, with an incredibly interesting culture and history. The East Coast is fantastic!
Leely is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2004, 11:14 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 15
To all who replied to my question, Thank you. We are going on with our trip and I think the info regarding dress is a good suggestion, but I'm not going so far as burkah. (not sure I spelled that correctly)
redintherainbow is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2004, 12:35 PM
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redintherainbow - You've visiting Zanzibar not Saudi Arabia. No need to cover yourself from head to toe. It's just a matter of being respectful, and it's interesting, from my experiences, that Americans tend to adhere to this very well, so am sure you will also. I've been to a number of Muslim countries, and being respectful - whether when walking the streets or entering a Mosque are easy enough to do.

A pair of slacks, or skirt below the knees and no bare arms is all you have to consider. It's also a good idea to have a scarf in your bag should you be entering a mosque; remember you have to remove your shoes here also.

I notice your specific reference to being Christian women, and wonder why you didn't just mention you were Caucasian (white); therefore, strongly recommend that you not discuss or promote your religion or bible while visiting here.
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