Travel Info for Zanzibar & Mafia Islands

Best time to go to Zanzibar & Mafia Islands and how to get there

Zanzibar & Mafia Islands: When to Go

See also When to go to mainland Tanzania

Mid Jan – end Feb: dry, very hot and fairly quiet
March: cooler, occasional rain, quiet - considered best for diving
April – May: very wet, cool, many hotels are closed
June: progressively drier, hotels start opening
July – Oct: dry, warm, lovely - but busy, especially in August
Nov – mid Dec: unpredictable, with rain progressively likely
Mid Dec – mid Jan: usually dry, warm, very busy

Bear in mind that ‘cool’ and ‘dry’ are relative terms – it rarely drops below 25 Celsius and 50% humidity!

If you have a free choice of when to travel, our advice is to go in late June-July, in September-October, or, if you don’t mind the extra heat, in January-February.

23:16 | GMT + 3 Hours


Getting There

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See also Getting to mainland Tanzania


There are very few direct flights into Zanzibar – just a few charter carriers from Italy and the UK – which tend not to sell seat-only. So you’ll probably fly via Kenya or mainland Tanzania, which is no bad thing, especially if you’re intending to do a safari there as well.

From the UK: carriers include KLM, Kenya Airways, British Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.

Within Europe: try KLM and Emirates.

Getting Around

See also Getting around mainland Tanzania

INTERNAL FLIGHTS: carriers include Coastal Air, Precision Air, Zan Air.

BY BOAT: Crossings daily between Stone Town (Zanzibar) and Dar. There is a slow ferry from Stone Town (Zanzibar) to Mkoani (Pemba) Hotels situated on private islands or road-free coastline, such as Chapwani, Chumbe and Fundu Lagoon all have their own private speedboat or dhow to collect you from the road-head or your previous hotel. Bear in mind that you may need to get your feet and legs wet, and low tides may mean walking a short way over the tidal flats.

ROAD TRANSPORT: Most visitors use taxis to get around the island. All our hotels can arrange transfers, or you can make independent arrangements - this may work out cheaper, especially if there are several journeys involved. You can also brave a dala dala (crowded bus or lorry) which follow set routes and cost a fraction of the price of a taxi.

HIRE CARS are less popular, because of the bumpy roads, bad signposting and short distances involved, or see our car rental recommendations and ask for a 4x4.

BIKES are the most common form of transport for the Zanzibari.