Travel from Dar es-Salaam to Zanzibar
Mention the word Zanzibar and images of a long lost world of exotic adventures come to mind. The island has a rich history as a major trading hub for spices that goes back at least five hundred years. Travelling to Zanzibar has become easier in recent years with the airport expansion, but many travellers still arrive via the capital, Dar es Salaam. There are two ways to travel from Dar to Zanzibar; by airplane and by boat. We decsribe them here in some detail and give you a few tips.
The best way to travel between Dar es-salaam and Zanzibar is by ferry. It is cheaper than flying and a more interesting way to travel! Probably most important of all you avoid the airport hassle and traffic hold ups which can make the door-to-door journey take even longer. However, if you are flying directly to Zanzibar via Dar and have no intention of visiting the capital, it may just be easier to get a connecting flight. In that case we give you some very useful tips.
1. Travel by Air
Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR)
Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ)
You can use a flight comparison site for reference but in Africa they are not always that reliable. The truth is there are many smaller charter airlines that do not appear on any comparison sites. A good alternative is to use Flyezee, an East African price comparison website which specialises in flights all over the region.
Of the airlines mentioned above, the ones with the highest frequency on this route are Auric Air, Coastal Aviation and ZanAir. Fastjet is a low-cost airline with very competitive prices, but they have fewer scheduled flights.
If you find a flight for about 100USD and you are happy with the timetable, just go ahead and book. The vast majority of sites have no problem in accepting international cards and you can pay in USD.
Most airlines offer special discounted fare for residents. As a tourist, do not choose a resident fare just because it is cheaper. You will need to show a resident permit at the airport before you travel and you may be turned away if you fail to produce one.
The flight is really short and many of the airlines use small aircraft which obviously cannot carry the same weight load as an Airbus A380. There are usually restrictions of 10 to 15kg per passenger, but this is not that different from European low-cost airlines cabin restrictions. Check with the airline before booking your flight. You can pre-book your private arrival* or departure* transfer in Zanzibar online with our trusted partners.
2. Travel by Ferry
Ferry Terminal in Gerezani, Dar es Salaam
Zanzibar Ferry Terminal in Stone Town
Coastal Fast Ferries
87TZS/40USD/32GBP each way for non-residents
You can book directly on Azam Marine’s site. Alternatively you can buy tickets from the Dar ferry terminal. We recommend you book at least 1-2 days in advance. If you do not have much time, you may want to consider booking a one-day tour* from Dar to Zanzibar. You will be picked up from your hotel, then take the first ferry of the day and be given a guided tour of the island, including meals. Return back to Dar on the same day.
If you are easily sea sick, consider taking a flight instead.
There are about five sailings per day so do not miss your scheduled ferry. Baggage allowance is 25kg (55lbs) which is ok. There are different types of vessels available and some people prefer to travel with the more modern one but we do not have any issues with that. If you arrive at the airport in Dar and want to head directly to the ferry terminal, it is best to get a taxi. The fare should not cost more than 30USD.
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