It’s hot here most of the year. You should drink at least one big bottle (1.5 ltr) of water a day. Tap water is fine for brushing your teeth but not suitable for your stomach. You get bottled water at the hotel or anywhere else on the island.
Try a fresh coconut, it is rich in antioxidants. What you most probably know as coconut milk is in the freshly opened fruit actually more coconut water, delicious though, and the white “flesh” inside is very soft and easy to eat. Anyone in the village will climb up a coconut tree for you and get you a fresh coconut, opens it chop chop (I still haven’t mastered that) and you drink it. Give them Tzs 1000 or Tzs 2000 for it.
Beer drinkers will love this: Tanzania was a German colony. There must have been a few Bavarians amongst them since we have excellent beer in Zanzibar (and yes, I originally come from Munich!). The most popular brand is the “Kili” (Kilimanjaro), followed by Safari, Serengeti (the purest of the beers, without cornstarch), Tusker (all in 500 ml bottles but more hotels seem to stock nowadays the 350 ml bottles) and the “gourmet” Ndovu (350 ml). The locals drink beer “moto” (warm) – iiiieeehhhh! Locals will love it when you order your beer in Swahili: Kili moja baridi (one cold Kili) or “baridi sana” (one very cold Kili). Numbers: 1 = moja (“modscha”), 2 mbili, 3 tatu, 4 nne, 5 tanu, 6 sita, 7 saba, 8 nane, 9 tisa, 10 kumi. Please do not drink and drive!!! Strictly forbidden here.
Wines and bubbly are mostly imported from South Africa. Depending on the hotel or resort you stay, there may also be French or Italian brands. You MUST try the cocktails! Either with alcohol or virgin. There is also a large selection of spirits available. The locals drink Konyagi (sort of Gin but purely chemical, better stay away from it). The fruit juices at the hotels are usually freshly made, simply delicious.
Food: The fish you eat at dinner most probably still swam in the ocean in the morning. It ain’t get fresher than here. Look out for “catch of the day” offers. Octopus is cooked in any variation, as well as prawns and lobster. Beef is imported from Tanzania, Kenya or South Africa, the same applies to chicken. Potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, green peppers, cabbage, onions etc is mostly grown in Zanzibar. All of these are served with the typical Zanzibar Pilau rice or any other way conceivable that rice can be cooked, or potato chips/French fries/pommes (for the Germans, jawohl). If you have a chance, try to eat goat. The Zanzibaris know how to cook it, yummy!!!
And then there is the fruit: bananas, sweet (not acidy) pineapples, paw paw, jack fruit (“Durian” – you find them in Stone Town at the fruit market of Darajani, cut into pieces – they are delicious, the soft part tastes almost like custard), passion fruit, oranges etc etc – fresher than you most probably ever had them before. If you buy fruit at the market, the motto “peel it, boil it or avoid it” applies.
Please refer to the chart below for the seasons of our delicious fruits.