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, Arkia Israeli Airlines, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Meridian and Mango. There is talk that other international airlines might get permission to land in Zanzibar in the near future. Other airlines fly to Dar es Salaam.

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):  www.precisionairtz.com, www.zanair.com, www.coastalaviation.co.tz, www.tropicalair.co.tz, http://www.flightlinkaircharters.com, http://www.fly540.com, 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 is completely inadequate, to put it mildly.
Be prepared for some chaos on arrival, take a few deep breaths and be patient.
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. Don’t expect your luggage to arrive on conveyor belts – any luggage is carried in by hand by airport staff. 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. After all your bags went through an x-ray machine (usually a customs guy is in attendance there) you’ve made it!
In order to avoid any chaos 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. Now you face long, slow moving queues at the check-in counter (this hall has no aircon, just ceiling fans). If needed, toilets are up the staircase on the 1st floor of the departure hall, at the far left of the restaurant.
Then you join more queues at the immigration counters and finally, your hand luggage is scanned again. Now you made it into the boarding hall, which has aircon units. Here you find a 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 and around the corner are the toilets.
Zanzibar airport


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

VISA
Since November 2018, a tourist visa can be applied for online https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa  This is the official website and the only website you should use for your visa application – be aware!
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* There can be long queues. They are equipped with cameras and laser fingerprint check.  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!

*At present (June 2019), 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!

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

  1. I love this blog!

    question, if I travel to Zanibar from the mainland (Arusha), after staying there a few days; will I need to have a yellow fever shot to leave the airport? I’m from US.

    Can I get the jab at the airport and is it safe?

    Like

  2. I love love love this blog! We are arriving in Zanzibar from the USA in mid October for our honeymoon. I just learned about the need for a visa yesterday. I just want to clarify that you’re sure we don’t need to arrange our visa ahead of time.

    Like

    • Hello Rose,
      Thank you! I am so happy that my blog helps that visitors arrive well informed on our beautiful island.
      Wonderful to hear that you will spend your honeymoon here. You will love it. Zanzibar is one of the top destinations for honeymooners.
      You get your visa on arrival at the airport, it’s very quick actually. No need to waste your time beforehand to get the visa.
      Cheers
      Gaby

      Like

  3. Thanks a lot for your informative blog Gaby.
    There are some valuable information that one cannot find in other official or mainstream sources.

    I’ll be in Zanzibar after tomorrow with my wife and 2 years old daughter. We’re very excited about that but I’m a bit concerned about the conflicting testimonies I found about the departure tax.

    We’re coming with Qatar Airways by the way.

    Regards

    Like

    • Hi, as much as I know, the departure tax is included in the ticket price of international flights. But I am not sure. I am not a travel agent. You might want to email Qatar Airways and ask that question.
      Have a wonderful holiday on our beautiful island. Please read the page “Important” on my blog regarding the upcoming elections on Zanzibar and Tanzania island.
      Regards, Gaby

      Like

  4. 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,

    Jacob

    Like

    • 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.
      Cheers
      Gaby

      Like

  5. Hi there..

    Your blogs have been a pleasure to read! I was just wondering, would I be able to pay in £ for a visa when arriving?

    Like

      • 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)

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      • 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

        Like

  6. Hi,

    I love you blogs on Zanzibar!! Beautiful you write about the indeed, Beautiful Island!

    I’ve a concern regarding visa and vaccination and here they go:

    1. I’m an Indian staying in Bahrain.. I’ll be visiting Zanzibar from 10th to 14th Sep’ 16. Will I get the On Arrival Visa at Zanzibar International Airport?

    2. My flight is via Kenya – I’ve a 3 hr stop at Nairobi. I’ve read somewhere that Yellow Fever vaccination is necessary.. Is it compulsory? And should I take it now as it takes 15 days to get activated? Also, what other vaccinations are compulsory?

    Thank you so much in well advance..

    Awaiting your reply..

    Thank you,

    Regards,

    Akash

    Like

    • Hi, the visa is issued on arrival at Zanzibar International Airport.
      Since cases of yellow fever were reported in DRC, some officials ask for the vaccination certificate, depending on the country the plane comes from. Since you come from Kenya, it might be a good idea to get the vaccination, it lasts for life anyway. There is still no cure if one gets yellow fever. I suggest that you check with a doctor or travel clinic if it is early enough if you get the vaccination now.
      Cheers
      Gaby

      Like

  7. hi

    i am coming from doha to zanzibar via qatar airways..

    and after 2.30 hours hold i have another domestic flight from ZNZ TO DAR via precision air

    my question is

    1. do i have to take visa on arrival at zanzibar airport only or i can directly wait for my domestic flight like transit and get the visa in DAR..

    2. if visa is must at ZNZ . then 2.30 hours is enough for my next domestic flight to DAR to catch .. or the visa will consume time and 2.30 hours is not enough..

    please reply

    Like

    • Hi, I can only give you advice about Zanzibar. You get your visa on arrival at ZANZIBAR airport. It depends on how many people are in the queue, the visa itself takes 5 minutes. You cannot apply for the Zanzibar visa in Dar.
      Cheers
      Gaby

      Like

  8. Hi
    Very good and helpfull blog. I talked to Tanzanian Embassy in Berlin and they said is strictly recommended to obtain visa in Embassy.

    BR
    Daniel

    Like

    • Hi Daniel,
      Thank you for your comment. Great to hear that my blog helps.
      I can well imagine that the Tanzanian Embassy will give you such advice since they surely charge a fee for their efforts. It takes not even 5 minutes to get the visa here after you arrive.
      Hope you enjoy Zanzibar.
      Cheeers
      Gaby

      Like

  9. Hello,

    Thank you for this blog – it’s been very helpful. I’d like to share my experience of arriving in Zanzibar.

    My husband and I arrived at 11pm and we had two $50 bills ready to pay for the visa. However customs would not accept cash; only Mastercard or Visa card. To save time and beat the queue, I’d advise printing the visa form and completing it before arriving at the terminal.

    We are enjoying our stay immensely!

    Like

  10. Hello Gaby,
    We are visiting Zanzibar in July this year.
    I read a lot about an airport departure tax (50 USD per person) when leaving Zanzibar on an international flight. Some sites mention that this is included in the ticket-price, others don’t.
    Do you know if this is true? On some sites it is also mentioned a sort of infrastructure tax and a Levy tax (each 1 USD per night stay).
    Thank you!
    René

    Like

    • Hi Rene,
      The departure tax entirely depends on the airline you booked with. For example, if you booked with Condor, you will read on their booking confirmation email that you need to pay a departure tax of US$ 48 per person. Other airlines already included the departure tax in their air fare. Please check your airline’s booking confirmation or query this directly with them to be sure.
      The levies/taxes have to be paid by the hotels/guest houses and should be included in your accommodation rate, unless otherwise stated in your confirmation.
      Cheers
      Gaby

      Like

  11. Hello,
    Loving this blog! So much great info. I’m going to be in Tanzania in October and want to get the ferry to Zanzibar from Dar Es Salaam. Do you think we should book it in advance or when we get there?
    Many Thanks
    Erin

    Like

    • Hi, thank you!
      By what I heard it is advisable to book the ferry in advance if you want to avoid long queues, and to make sure you actually get onto the ferry of your choice.
      Have a wonderful time in Tanzania and an even better time on my beautiful island,
      Cheers Gaby

      Like

  12. Hi!

    We are planning to travel to Zanzibar directly from Europe via Dubai. I understood we do not need a yellow fever vaccination certificate as we do not come from affected areas? Am i right? Thanks! Best Kaisa

    Like

  13. 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 ….

    Like

    • 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.

      Like

  14. 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.

    Like

    • 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

      Like

  15. Hi considering applying for an online single entry visa but we travel on 26th Jan so have limited time. Any ideas how long the application takes to process

    Like

  16. 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?

    Like

  17. Hi, we applied a e-visa on 12th Apr. No Visa. Payment pending. We paid by bank transfer, credit card was not working.
    We applied a second on 10th May. No Visa. Payment does not work.
    Is there any possibiliy for visa on arrival!?
    I need a fast reply. Thank you

    Like

    • Hi, please refer to the info on the page above: “You can also get your visa for stays of up to 3 months on arrival at the Zanzibar International Airport. There can be long queues. They are equipped with cameras and laser fingerprint check. The visa costs US$ 50 per person (adults and children), for US citizens US$ 100. Immigration is open day and night.”

      Like

      • Thanks for your comment. But I have read, there was an update in April which is: only e-visa…therefore I asked.

        Like

      • They cannot possibly close the visa facility on arrival. I recently got another such question, from someone in Germany; they wrote that they got that info from a visa agency. Looks like that agency is spreading wrong information.

        Like

  18. Hello! I’m arriving into Zanzibar for a 3 month stay on 17 June. I’ve heard about the corruption at the airport (bribes, taking things from luggage, asking for money for everything…) and am nervous as to how to deal with it. Can you offer any tips? Should I just pay the tips and bribes if I’m asked to avoid more serious issues?

    Like

    • Hello. Make sure you have your passport in order and properly completed your forms.There are no bribes at immigration, the area is monitored, no tips are given or even allowed inside the airport building.
      At the quite chaotic luggage section some tourists bribe the staff to give their luggage preferential treatment, which is not permitted and slows down the process even more: each piece of luggage is carried by hand by the staff from the luggage carrier into the arrivals hall.
      It will anyway take a while to get through immigration/passport control and your luggage will ultimately arrive in the arrivals hall. First phrase you’ll learn is “pole pole”.
      The only time you are expected to give a tip is if a porter carries your luggage to the parking lot, where the taxis are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 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.

        Like

      • 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”

        Like

      • 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. 🙂

        Like

  19. Hi Gaby – Thank you so much for such a helpful and interesting blog.
    A quick question. My family and I are flying into Dar, visiting the Selous Game Reserve and then flying to Zanzibar. We applied for visas online but needed to chose between Tanzania or Zanzibar on a dropdown menu. We chose Tanzania because we are initially flying into Dar. Does this mean we will need another visa to enter Zanzibar from Dar or does a Visa for Tanzania cover both the mainland and Zanzibar?

    Like

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