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Zanzibar - lots of info required!

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Melbourne
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Zanzibar - lots of info required!

Hi all,

My husband and I are going on our honeymoon to Zanzibar/Tanzania in June (SO excited :) ) and I just wanted to ask fellow travellers some questions.

[b]Where to eat at night? [/b]

We have three nights in Stone Town and 7 nights at Matemwe Beach. We'd like to try local food, but I am wary of being too experimental due to a week of safari a few days later! :)

Is it safe enough for us to wander alone in Stone Town at night or are we best to stick near our hotel?

What to do?

We have booked a spice tour, but that's it. What else is a must in Zanzibar? I see the Prison Island tour and turtles has been recommended a few times. I would love to learn more about, and absorb, the local culture.

Melbourne
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1. Re: Zanzibar - lots of info required!

Sorry, a few more questions :)

How much should we tip? On Safari, we will have a private driver, then there are the waiters/cooks/housekeepers etc. On Zanzibar, we'll have housekeepers/waiters/cooks/hotel staff etc, so who and how much should we tip?

Also, we've been told there are strict luggage restrictions on the smaller flights. 15kgs per person in a soft bag. How strict are they about this? The reason I ask is that we have another 3 weeks in Europe afterwards and I'm struggling with what to take!! :)

Thank you all very much for taking the time to read and help :) :)

Stanley, Falkland...
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2. Re: Zanzibar - lots of info required!

Tips? - ask the management (and don't tip THEM). Most places will have a tip box to share the tips with all staff.

Sometimes guides will receive about $10 per person per day.

Clothes? I don't think your bag will be weighed, as the airline realise that no sensible person would deliberately overload the small plane they are about to fly in! :-)

Assume the limit is enforced. Its for your safety. You don't need that many clothes, as washing is done at the camps, and there are laundry facilities in Europe. The general advice is 3 changes - wear one; wash one, and have one drying.Camps usually return washing by the same evening. You will have to deal with underwear yourself. Take a bottle of handwash soap. (Some upmarket camps supply soap powder).

If you do have excess bags, you could leave them at the airline office. I know Coastal Airlines at Dar help with this, but this assumes you will be returning to that airport.

Stone Town - the local food is good and well-prepared. Ask for recommendations when you arethere, but Beyt al Chai has a good restaurant. You can always ask that someone escort you back to your hotel (which is it??). I don't think safety is the big issue- more getting lost.

Culture - again ask locally, as your hotel might sponsor something. Some girls are being trained as masseuse; others remain in the traditional seaweed farming. Some hotels ask guests to sponsor turtle nests, so that locals have an incentive to protect them....

By the way, Where are you going for the safari? You'll love it all, I'm sure. Have fun.

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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3. Re: Zanzibar - lots of info required!

There are many restaurants in Stone Town so try them all. Most tourists try Freddie Murcury's place on the waterfront. Some also try the food court which sets up every evening in the park close to the old fort. Unless you want stomach trouble use the rule - peel it, cook it, or forget it; and always use bottled water for any water that goes into your mouth (including tooth brushing). So this means to forget those good looking raw salads, even if you think this is a good hotel so they wouldn't want me to become sick. Most everyone who ignores this will get sick, I've seen it happen lots of times.

I would never assume that it's safe to walk about at night, especially in Stone Town, take a taxi they're everywhere.

As for tipping, there are many posts on this forum on that subject you might do some searching and find them. In most of Tanzania tips are not expected, unless you ask someone to do something for you. Having said that, in the tourist areas Westerners have spoiled this and in resort hotels and some restaurants they now expect this. It is also expected for Mt. Kilimanjaro climbs and safari drivers. At a restaurant I only leave tips when the service is excellent and then only in moderation. I don't ever recall leaving a tip of hotel staff. Others I am certain will disagree with this. Lest you think I'm overly parsimonious, I leave a lot of money there for other things at schools, education, and for people to receive medical treatments (which I consider much more important).

If you are flying on Precision Air or other such carriers your bags will be weighed and if you are overweight there's a chance that you will be bumped off the flight if they are fully booked; I've seen this happen several times. They have weight restrictions due to the size of the aircraft and they need to stick with them, and you and the other passengers want them to do that also. When it comes to packing you can get by with 15kg (I know you think you must have that hair dryer and 10 changes of clothing for every occasion; but in reality you don't). When I travel there typically I only have a carry on, I use the hotel laundry services and get along fine. So, lay out what you think you will need to take, then put half of it back you won't need it or use it. No one is a fashion show there and it's very casual. You can do with 3 changes of clothing plus what you wear in. If you discover that you've forgotten something you can purchase it there.

london
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for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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4. Re: Zanzibar - lots of info required!

I'd recommend eating at the Tower Top restaurant in 236 Hurumzi (formerly the Emerson & Green hotel). I was there with a friend but it's probably more of a romantic couples type thing.

See here:

http://www.emerson-green.com/mainframe.htm

They had some live traditional music when I was there (this Feb) as well.

If you don't make it for dinner (and you do have to book as it's popular and very small) then they let people up there for sundowner drinks before dinner. It's a lovely view.

Melbourne
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5. Re: Zanzibar - lots of info required!

Thank you all for your advice and tips. It really helps to hear from people who know!!

I can now say that I am officially excited (my husband will be thrilled)! It has taken a while for me to get there, but having read the things you have to say, and researched a bit more, can't wait!!!

If you think of anything else we should know or do, feel free to add it!!

Thanks again,

Caitlin

Stanley, Falkland...
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6. Re: Zanzibar - lots of info required!

It would be respectful in Stone Town to dress modestly - no skimpy tops or shorts exposing loads of flesh.

A couple of kangas as souvenirs would be a good early pruchase, as they are very versatile for covering up.

This advice doesn't apply at the beach or on safari.

Enjoy your honeymoon.

Brisbane, Australia
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7. Re: Zanzibar - lots of info required!

I can really recommend Beyt al Chai. I just had a great meal there and the wait staff and chef are really nice.

I always tip directly into the tip boxes taht are placed in receptions.

There is a food mall thing that is just outside of Africa House that is usually near the old Fort. Just great food and you get too look at what everyone else is eating!

With the spice tour. The spices at the end that are for sale are a bit expensive. I usually by mine at the local food market. If you get up north, there is a turtle santury. You can even go swimming with them and feed them. You also have the Red Coloubus monkeys over in zanzibar which is worth looking at

Lemon Tree is a good day for a pamper. And there are some now old style spars in Stone Town. There is a local magazine about the size of your lonely planet and about 30 pages that is free. It might be at your hotel. So ask to see this and they have some great ideas.

8. Re: Zanzibar - lots of info required!

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