What to Wear When Visiting Zanzibar

Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja. Its historic centre, Stone Town, happens to be a World Heritage Site. Stone Town, Zanzibar’s main city was also the main trading port for the East African slave trade, dealing with around 50,000 slaves a year.

At this time, the Sultan of Zanzibar controlled a substantial portion of the East African coast, which was then known as Zanj, and which included Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. Apparently, Zanzibar carries a distinct, ethnical history that is a remarkable amalgamation of the many travellers that passed through it for centuries. Arabs, Indians, Persians, Europeans and even a trace of Chinese, each left an indelible mark in the form of architectural styles and culture that now contribute to its charm. Unlike mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar doesn’t have tribes. Instead local traditions are a fusion of different ethnic groups that settled on the islands, resulting in events like Pemba bull fights from the Portuguese and Mwaka Kogwa, the celebration of the Persian New Year.

As the culture of Zanzibar is a mix of different lifestyles reflecting various ethnic groups and historical backgrounds, Zanzibar clearly differs from the Tanzanian way of life. Especially Stone Town creates a unique atmosphere that often reminds visitors of Arab countries with a European influence. Example: The Island is sometimes referred to as the Spice Islands, due to the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper that are grown there.

With its rich culture, Zanzibar is considered a Muslim town whereby covering up is a norm when it comes to their general dressing. Women and men should make an effort to cover their legs and arms for some even their heads for the ladies. It is also regarded as disrespectful to show public affection example: kissing or hugging. Apart from that, during Ramadan – the month of fasting – travellers are asked to avoid eating and drinking publicly during the daytime.

For Tourists visiting Zanzibar town one is reminded not to wear clothes that are too revealing because it will be offensive to the locals. In addition, if you happen to be heading out to the beach and away from resorts/ hotels, you might want to (especially girls) wear clothes that cover both your knees and shoulders in show of respect for the Muslim inhabitants.

To achieve maximum fun and depending on your site visits carry along loose dresses nothing tight, short or revealing for comfort, not forgetting open shoes. Zanzibar is the place to be for water sport enthusiasts. From snorkelling to scuba diving, kite-surfing to sailing, or simply swimming in the crystal clear warm water, Zanzibar has it all. With such amazing beaches, loads of sunshine, and ideal water temperatures, it’s all about getting in the water in Zanzibar.

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