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, Air Tanzania. This list might not be complete.

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), for example:,,,,,,

Zanzibar International Airport: The new Terminal 3 has been inaugurated on 28 September 2020. It is not open yet though. Please watch the video on my facebook page Zanzibar Insider Buzz. For the time being, the old airport terminal is still used.

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, or you can use 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, fill in the immigration forms, produce your boarding pass and passport. Thereafter your hand luggage is scanned. In the boarding hall 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.

An official tourist visa can be applied for online

This is the only official website. Please only use this website for your visa application! Other companies or agencies are far more expensive and I even heard of cases were applicants lost the money they paid.

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.

*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 and there are no plans to close it!  (September 2020)

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!

68 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. Thank you so much! 🙂 I appreciate you helping me to visualise it so well.

    Perhaps there is more risk with belongings on the way out? When baggage is checked and expensive items are seen?

    I’m trying not to overthink the risks but have seen quite a few scary reports on travel review sites so am rethinking whether to bring expensive electronics.


    • As a rule you should always carry expensive goods, electronics etc in your hand luggage, no matter where you are travelling.

      I haven’t heard of any reports that belongings of travellers are confiscated/kept by airport staff, unless the goods require an export permit or are not permitted to be taken off the island – please refer to page “to do and not to do”


      • Thank you so much!! This is so reassuring. I can’t tell you what a wonderful resource your blog is as a solo female traveller who chose Zanzibar for a sabbatical on a whim!!

        Let me buy you a drink if you ever pass by Drifters in Paje. 🙂


  6. 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


  7. 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.


  8. 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


  9. 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


  10. 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!



  11. 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?


  12. Hi Gaby
    My sister and my niece are danish byt will arrive to Zanzibar from Johannesburg 7th of January 2020.
    They would like to know if the visa procedure in the airport is smooth and easy, or if it is better to apply online before they leave from Denmark the 27th of December 2019?
    Kind Regards


      • Hi Gaby
        My husband and I are arriving on the 26 January from London via Dubai to Zanzibar for a 10 day holiday. I have tried getting our visas online but have had great difficulty in filling in the forms, and downloading photos. Can we definitely get our visas on arrival at Zanzibar airport without the online forms? I’m getting very stressed about this. Your help would be much appreciated. Many thanks. Claire


      • Hi Claire, you still can get the visa on arrival. The online visa is an alternative to the visa on arrival. I will most definitely add any changes immediately on my blog. Having said that, I doubt that the visa on arrival will be stopped any time soon.
        Safe travels and a wonderful holiday on my beautiful island,


  13. Hello! Thanks for a very useful blog! We are a family of four coming to Zanzibar in January. We are transiting from Europe through Nairobi, and after trawling all websites regarding YF certificate, it seemed we didnt need one. However, reading your blog, you wrote that a flight you came on via Nairobi required all to have YF certificates. Have you heard of anyone being denied entry to Zanzibar in this setting or could we in worst case scenario get jabs at the airport? Thanks, your reply is much appreciated!


    • Hi Maria, I don’t know if anyone was denied entry without a YF certificate, I doubt it. I suggest that you print out the letter on this page and if needed show it to the airport official. You cannot get the jabs at the airport.


  14. Liebe Gaby,

    Just for your information, for the information of your readers.

    I asked a question to the eVisa service and they answered the day after.

    I requested my eVisa (the most basic one flying from Europe) and I got it approved in less than 24 hours.

    Best regards


  15. Hey Gaby,
    We are planning to travel to Zanzibar here at February 13. (2020). Like you have written in your description: *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! (January 2020).
    – But what about in February, 2020? Is the application facility still open for applying visa on arrival?

    Hope you can help us!

    Kindly regards


  16. Hi Gaby,

    Excellent blog – really insightful. We are heading from Ireland to Zanzibar in September. Just a quick query in relation to getting the visas on arrival, is there forms there at the airport? Or do we need to have forms printed and filled out?



  17. Hello,
    at first, thank you for that great website.

    i know it’s always the same question but the last question was a while ago.
    Is visa+on+arrival still available at ZNZ Airport? and do you know if I can get it in Dar Es Salaam Airport too?


    • Hello and thank you, much appreciated.
      Visa on arrival is still available at Zanzibar International Airport. Not sure if you can get it at Dar airport. Maybe ask the officials there after you arrived.


  18. Hello,

    I’ve applied for eVisa, as I don’t have an empty page for a visa sticker, only a couple empty spots for a stamp. Is it going to be a problem?

    If I don’t get my eVisa on time, do I still need to pay and get visa on arrival?



  19. Hey Gaby,
    Just stumbled across your blog some great information.
    I’ve booked a one way ticket to Zanzibar from Ireland. Do you think not having a return ticket will be a problem I plan on staying 4/6 weeks ?
    I hope to get a visa on arrival ?


  20. Hi Gaby, thanks so much for this informative page! I plan on visiting Zanzibar 31 december -24 January. I will be mixing working remotely with some time off. I thought about splitting my time between two locations to see the island. Which towns would you recommend? I love nature but will need a decent wifi connection.


    • Hi Ralph, you are most welcome. You find plenty of nature everywhere on the island, pick your spot! Please read page “Beaches of Zanzibar” and choose the best suitable area for you. My favourite is the south east coast.
      I use a simcard for my Internet connection which works well. Many places of accommodation on the island offer decent WiFi, rather check directly with them if you have any specific needs.
      Enjoy your stay on this beautiful island.


  21. Hi Gabi,
    thank you for the handy informations you are putting here!! After a few days, I am flying to Zanzibar. Is it still possible to make Visa after arrival – at the airport?


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