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Tips on Zanzibar Island Warnings or Dangers – Stay Safe!

Zanzibar Island Warnings and Dangers

Zanzibar is a beautiful island located off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. It’s a popular tourist spot for history lovers and beach lovers alike, and like any other tourist hot spot there are warnings and dangers that travelers need to know about.

Health Concerns on Zanzibar Island

Before visiting Zanzibar, you will need a Yellow Fever vaccination. In fact, you won’t be able to get a tourist visa for Tanzania without it. Also, malaria is quite common in this area of the world so be sure to take the proper precautions. Take anti-malaria medication and avoid mosquito bites by using bug spray, covering skin with clothing at dusk, and sleeping under a mosquito net.

The sun is strong in Zanzibar. Wear plenty of sunscreen and avoid extended exposure out in the sun. You will be tempted to frolic in the water for hours and laze on the beach in your bikini, but keep a shirt or cover up with you and seek out shade whenever possible. But, when seeking out shade try to avoid coconut trees, as the coconuts can fall without notice.

Crime and Aggressive Salespeople, Especially Guides

There is crime in Zanzibar so you will have to keep your wits about you and use common sense. Be sure to lock up valuables like money, jewelry you’re not wearing, and keep your passport in the hotel safe. Pickpockets can be a nuisance so be aware of where you keep your money and whether or not a pickpocket can get to it. There have been isolated instances of violent crime on the island where tourists were robbed at gunpoint. However, this is the rare exception.

The overnight ferry back to Dar es Salaam chugs along at a leisurely pace and while you are asleep in first class, some passengers might be plotting how to steal your valuables. If you take the overnight ferry, be sure you can keep your stuff safe while you get some shut eye.

From historic tours of Stone Town to early morning tours swimming in the ocean with dolphins, many Zanzibar residents offer their tour guide services to visitors. However, take caution that some guides can be pushy. Politely tell them you already have plans.  There are plenty of tour operators to choose from on the island. Consult with your hotel for a good referral.

Police in Zanzibar

Overall, the police are friendly and helpful on the island. However, some have been known to cite tourists for minor infractions and demand payment without writing a ticket. It’s up to you if you want to pay or ask for a formal ticket to be written, which will usually settle the matter.

Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers on Zanzibar Island.  

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