How to get here / Visa / Zanzibar International Airport

Getting here from overseas

Direct flights to Zanzibar:
Emirates/FlyDubai combo, Condor, Ethiopian Airways, Kenyan Airways, Oman Air, Qatar Airlines, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Mango, South African Airways/Precision Air combo.

Getting from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar:
Insider info: The airport is on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam quite a distance from the Harbour/Ferry Port which  is in the center of Dar.  Traffic in Dar is horrendous, it can take you 2 hours or longer by taxi from the airport to the ferry port (the distance could be done easily in 30 min if there were no traffic). The taxi will cost anything from US$ 30 upwards to the ferry port.  Make sure you agree on the taxi fare before you get into the taxi!

By plane: Several local airlines offer flights from Dar to Zanzibar (the flight time is 20 minutes):,,,,,, to mention a few.

Zanzibar International Airport was supposed to be replaced by a new, much larger airport but construction work was halted more than three years ago, nobody really knows why. For the time being we are stuck with the old airport (see photo below), which in the meantime was upgraded a bit.
Immigration: Some airlines hand out forms on the plane to be completed. If not, you need to complete it in the arrivals hall. When you made it to the top of the queue at immigration,  your visa is processed and a photo of you as well as fingerprints are taken, this only takes a few minutes. After you got your luggage from the conveyor belts everything will be scanned. Please make sure you don’t have any plastic bags in your luggage, except zipblock bags, since they are banned on the island. In case you want to exchange money, you can do so while you wait for your luggage although you usually get better rates at the exchange bureau at the parking lot.
In order to avoid any stress at departure: check in well in advance, minimum is two hours before departure! After the initial queue to get into the departure hall, your luggage/bags are scanned. If the airport staff see anything suspicious on the scan they will ask for the suitcase to be opened and it will be throughly checked. Do not pack any aerosol sprays in your luggage, for example. They will be confiscated. Then you join the queue at the check-in counters. Fortunately, this hall nowadays has aircon. If needed, toilets are up the staircase on the 1st floor of the departure hall, at the far left of the restaurant. Then you proceed to another hall, produce your boarding pass and passport and fill in the immigration forms. Toilets are at the end of that hall. Around the corner you find the immigration counters and thereafter your hand luggage is scanned again. Now you made it into the boarding hall, which has aircon. Here you find a duty free shop and some kiosks where you can do your last shopping. At the end of the hall  (walk around the corner) you find a small kiosk for snacks and coffee, fridges with cool drinks and water. There are also toilets in that section.

Zanzibar airport

By ferry: is the ferry of choice! You can book online. The ferry takes about 2 hours to reach Zanzibar.

Since November 2018, a tourist visa can be applied for online  This is the official website and the only website you should use for your visa application – be aware!

NB: The new e-visa facility is still in its infancy. According to posts on Tripadvisor people still didn’t get their e-visa 2 weeks after applying and paying for it. Email queries are not replied to. It might be better for the time being to apply for your visa on arrival.

Visa exemptions for stays of less than 3 months: for a complete list of countries check above webpage, section “guidelines”

You can also get your visa for stays of up to 3 months on arrival at the Zanzibar International Airport*. They are equipped with cameras and laser fingerprint check. You need a valid passport and the completed visa form to apply for it.  The visa costs US$ 50 per person (adults and children), for US citizens US$ 100. Immigration is open day and night.

Payment for the visa is in cash or by credit card**. If you bring cash, they apparently only accept US$ 50 notes, new notes only (US$ notes 2013 or after). No other currencies are accepted, only US$!
**As per feedback received from tourists, sometimes the counter for the credit card payments is closed. And every other day, US$ cash is not accepted, only credit cards… Rather bring both, credit card and US$ cash, just in case.

Please make sure that your passport is still valid for 6 months from the date of departure from Zanzibar!

*Some rumours are floating around that visa can only be applied for online and that the visa facility on arrival at the airport was closed. This is not true. The visa application facility on arrival is still open! (October 2019)

37 thoughts on “How to get here / Visa / Zanzibar International Airport

  1. Hello Gaby, thank you so much for providing this great blog!
    My friend and I will be arriving in a few weeks to Dar es Salaam and eventually make our way to Zanzibar later in our trip. As we get our visas on arrival in Dar, I just want to verify that we don’t have to pay with cash and that we can pay with credit card instead?

    Thank you,



    • Hello Jacob,
      Great to hear you chose Zanzibar for your holiday. You can pay for the visa on arrival on Zanzibar either in cash or with your credit card.


    • Hey! Thanks for the info. When you say no other currency besides $ that includes the tanzanian shelling as well? Im travelling from SA but Im European, so Im trying to figure out what currency I should carry in case credit cards dont work (as Ive read it often happens)


      • Hi, I suggest that you have both currencies when you are here, Tanzanian Shillings (Tzs) and US$ – please read the page “money / ATMs / internet on phone”. You can alse exchange your Euro and also ZAR to Tzs at the local exchange bureaus.
        Cheers, Gaby


  2. Any ideas if there is a ‘left luggage’ storage area. I have a 2.00am flight and will be checking out of the beach in the morning that day. I’d like to explore StoneTown before my flight but no idea what to do with my bags …. any ideas please!!! I’ll have about 8 hours in Stone Town ….


    • There is no luggage storage facility at Zanzibar International Airport. I suggest that you ask the hotel where you are staying if they can organize safe storage of your luggage at a hotel they know in Stone Town.


  3. Thank you for your very informative site about Zanzibar.
    I have read every page of it and really enjoyed it.
    I tried to fill in the Online Visa application but for me it seemed too complicated so I will apply at the airport instead when arriving at Kilimanjaro. 🙂
    One question that I have not seen anywhere, is when you think there are more or less mosquitos on the island.
    Will spent 1 week on mainland for safari and 2 weeks on Zanzibar next February.


    • Hello Rafael,
      Being a tropical island, Zanzibar has a high humidity level. Mosquitos are always around especially from sunset. Best bring mosquito repellents. At the coastal areas we are blessed with a breeze going in the evenings which keeps the mosquitos away.
      Cheers, Gaby


  4. Hi – I got a bit nervous because a friend of mine told they got problems at the airport (for them it was Kilimanjaro) to get the visa on arrival?? But it’s still possible for the major airports, no? Traveling to Uganda tomorrow and from there to TZ in a few weeks, I tried to do it online today but there is always an error occurring. Any news about that?


  5. Hello, the recurrent question is what im about to ask again. I am making (late) plans to attend a friend’s wedding in Zanzibar but folks who applied for visa for over a month are yet to get their passport out but yet again, i read that one can get visas on arrival. Is this still valid?
    Your clarification on this will be very much appreciated.

    Thank you


  6. Hi Gaby, Thank you for such an informative post. I seem to be finding conflicting information about aerosol cans in checked in luggage at Zanzibar airport. According to a number of travel forums it is okay to have aerosol cans in checked in luggage, and the limits are applicable only to carry-on luggage. I am referring specifically to aerosol insect repellent spray and also aerosol sun cream spray.


    • Hi Johlene, Any aerosol cans or sprays are not permitted in checked in or any other luggage because they are highly flammable. This doesn’t only apply to Zanzibar. Rather bring lotions instead of sprays.


      • Phew – thank you Gaby for the speedy reply – a huge help in the midst of last minute packing. Looking forward to visiting beautiful Zanzibar on Wednesday!


    • ATMs are only outside the airport building and you only get Tanzanian Shillings, not US$ – please read page Money / ATMs / simcard. However, you usually can pay for your visa by credit card but this facility is apparently not always open. Rather bring US$ cash.


  7. Hi Gaby,
    Your blog is amazing! I have read all your posts and even printed out! 🙂
    We from Hamburg ( moin moin :)) and currently on our way to Zanzibar.
    One of our friend told us that as of this summer visa needs to be applied online.
    We are a bit panicking since we did not apply online. But hopefully still visa on arrival is valid. Do you have any recent update on that? Thanks in advance!



    • Hi Simla, moin moin, you can still apply for your visa on arrival at Zanzibar International Airport. There are no plans to change this.
      Have a safe journey and enjoy your holiday on my beautiful island.
      Cheers, Gaby


  8. Hi Gaby,

    Thanks a lot for your blog.

    I keep on reading conflicting info regarding bringing passport size photos in order to apply for VOR. Are the photos needed or a photo will be taken there and then?




    • Hi Ivan, you are most welcome.
      No photos are required when you apply for your visa on arrival, the visa section is equipped with cameras and fingerprint devices. All you need is your passport, the completed form and US$ 50 in cash and/or your credit card.
      Cheers, Gaby


  9. Hi Gaby,

    Many thanks for an informative blog! I know this has been asked many times before but are Visa’s on arrival still available now that the e-visa system is up and running and consular visa services closed? I have struggled to find any specific updated information on this.

    Thank you for your help!



  10. Hi there! Thanks for the lovely blog it is very informative.i would liketofind out if you are able to bring food/snack items in your checked in luggage such as cereal bars and sweets?


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