Getting around in Zanzibar might not seem so simple at first, but a bit of forward planning will make sure you’re prepared after your arrival and can then concentrate on enjoying your stay. Remember that a good hotel, such as Echo Beach, will always be happy to help arrange transportation for you!
Zanzibar has no official form of public transport, but dala-dalas are very common on the islands. Most of these are converted pick-up trucks, and can become overcrowded, so just be cautious if using these. A main ‘station’ can be found at Creek Road on the edge of Stone Town (part of Zanzibar city). Often the buses have letters or numbers on them that indicate where they are headed. The letters generally stand for locations within Stone Town, whereas the number s stand for farther afield – for example the number 9 will take you to Paje, or sometimes Bwejuu or Jambiani.
Official taxis can be recognised by having red plates with yellow numbers on them, but if you want to play extra safe, then get your hotel to organise the transport for you.
Car rental on Zanzibar Island is possible. Companies such as Zanzibar Car hire Ltd or Allykeys specialise in vehicle rental that includes jeeps and motorbikes, but it is worth browsing the web to find recommendations for any company you use, as things may not be quite as straightforward as you find at home. Also, remember that you will need an international driving license to use a vehicle on the islands – it’s not worth the risk of forgoing this as police stops can be frequent. If you’re travelling from the UK, can purchase one of these from the Post Office, like here: http://www.postoffice.co.uk/international-driving-permit
Also if you do rent a car, make sure to check the documents, and that there is enough petrol in the tank – not all companies provide it with a full tank as you would find at home.
During your stay in Zanzibar, you may well want to visit mainland Tanzania, where you can experience some of the most exhilarating safaris Africa has to offer. To get from the Archipelago to the mainland, your best bet is to take the Ferry. Fast Ferries is a company that organises excursions from the two main islands, Unguja (often referred to as Zanzibar island) and Pemba, to Dar es Salaam on the coast of mainland Africa, as well as trips between the two main islands themselves. Prices for tickets range between 20 to 65 US dollars and tickets can be bought from their website at: http://www.fastferriestz.com/booking/
Alternatively, if money is not such a tight subject, you can take a 45 minute flight between the islands for around a hundred US dollars, or if you want to visit mainland Tanzania, you can fly from Zanzibar to Arusha for around 250 US dollars. This flight is around one and a half hours. Arusha is much closer to Mt Kilimanjaro and its national park.
If you’ve stayed in Zanzibar recently and would like to comment on the local transport, please do so below.