10 simple travel hacks to save money in Zanzibar !

Budget Travel, Tanzania

Saving money on your trips and cutting unnecessary expenditure is very important when you’re travelling as it’s very easy to get swayed into buying exorbitantly priced souvenirs and expensive activities which may not even add to your experience at all.

To travel happy and travel often, you need to spend on what enriches your experience during travel and get the right price for it, smartly!

Here is a quick guide to save money in Zanzibar:

1. This is the basic one – carry USD as the currency of exchange from India or wherever you are.

2. Make sure that you get your Rupee exchanged from a forex that gives you a good rate. Don’t wait to get to the airport, the exchange rates at Indian Airports are pathetic.

3. Don’t get the dollars exchanged at the Zanzibar Airport. Don’t worry, taxi drivers will take USD 10 for a ride to Stone Town and USD 30 to Kendwa / Nungwi.

4. So when you get out of the airport, you have two options.

  • If you are a control freak and you ‘must’ have some local currency in your hand before you take a taxi, just get out of the airport and take a right into the first building you see on your right. It is a small complex of basic shops. There is no sign board but you have a money exchanger there, who will give you a good price. We got 2000 TZS for 1 USD.
  • If you can hold on, then get your money exchanged at the Forex in Darajani Market. You will pass through it on your way to Stone town and ask the taxi driver to stop there for 5 minutes. We were getting a rate of 2100 TZS for 1 USD on the same day. There were a few forex guys near the ferry station who were giving us an exchange rate of 2050 TZS for 1 USD.

Well, the price difference might not seem significant yet but wait till I mention that the exchange rate at the airport was 1800 TZS and if you were to get to your hotel in Nungwi or Kendwa, you would get it exchanged at a mere 1600 TZS ! So, by getting the best exchange rate you have already got yourselves 1 or 2 hotel nights free !!

5. Your hotel and activity prices will be quoted in USD. Ask them how much they would charge for it in Tanzanian Shillings. You will have saved a dollar or two already by asking the rate in TZS, without having to haggle. Simple, Isn’t it?

6. Forodhani garden is a very popular local food market by night. If you are staying in Stone town for more than a day, visit forodhani on the last day and by that time, try and eat the local food on the streets. Forodhani is very popular with tourists and tends to be very expensive. We had our most expensive meal of our trip at Forodhani and sadly, we spent all that money on something that was a complete waste of money and overcooked !

7. If you are from India, or have visited India / Pakistan and know what tandoori, biryani and pulao taste like – please do not waste your money on eating similar dishes specially in the local restaurants of Stone Town. It’s just not worth it. What you be served in the name of Tandoori is bright red coloured meat. But please go ahead and try it, if the restaurant specialises in Tandoori !

8. Take a walk to the Ferry Station in Stone Town and get a boatwala to take you to Prison Island. We instantly saved $10 between the two of us and an additional $4 by paying in TZS !

On the way to Prison Island

9. Stay in a hotel / BnB that is close to the ferry station as all the attractions in Stone Town are walking distance from the Ferry Station. You will save up on the taxi fare, time and would have given yourselves a nice little walking tour of the town.

10. If you are shopping for crafts and masks, stone town is a good place to do that. Aim to bring the price down to half or maybe even a little lesser than half. Again, ask them the price in TZS.

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