You should always stay alert when travelling, regardless of the destination. Zanzibar is safe compared to most places in Africa, but you still need to be aware of your surroundings. You'll be fine on the main tourist beaches and at worst will only be hassled by people wanting to sell you things.
Having said that, do not walk along the beaches at night by yourself, especially during high season, as there have been cases of unsavoury people coming in from other African countries and doing robberies.
All in all, Zanzibar is a very safe place and you'll have a great time here!
Planning my trip to Tanzania including Zanzibar I wonder how secure and comfortable a single travelling woman feel on the beach in Zanzibar? Suggestions of nice beaches are also appreciated.
Lots of thanks!
Sigge,Travelling to Zanzibar is extremely safe these days as lots of tourists go there including single female travellers.Zanzibar is currently a multi-racial communities so the western culture is also part of life there.The beaches are just beautiful-the following are recommendations of the best out of all that:Breezes Beach,The Palms,Ras Nungwi,Shooting Star,Pongwe Beach,Blue Bay and Ocean Paradise.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
It has been a few years since I was there, but I really loved the Kendwa Rocks resort on Zanzibar. It is about an hour or so drive from Stone town, on the west coast, almost to the top. It was a great place to just hang out on the beach, scuba dive and eat. (Just make sure to get all your educational and cultural fixes in Stone Town)
While I was there I met an Austrian girl who worked for a travel agent and she was checking out places they booked for their clients and looking into new ones. After 2 days on the back of a motorcycle looking at most of the accommodations on the island, she said that she felt Kendwa Rocks was the best in it's price range. Who knows what has changed in the last few years, but I would definitely check it out.
It is not my intention to put anyone off but having seen the subject of this thread it would be irresponsible of me to not recount my experience. I am a seasoned traveller in my mid thirties and have travelled to many countries across the globe including the continent of Africa for both work and pleasure. Before I recount what happened I would like to say that the British Embassy were incredibly supportive and that it was a very unusual incident for Zanzibar. Crime is a much more frequent occurrence on main land Tanzania than on the Island. The islanders are helpful, friendly, welcoming, good-natured people that were as shocked as we were by what happened.
My partner and I visited Zanzibar in late November 2011 for a holiday. We were looking for a romantic retreat where we could partake in some reef diving in a paradise environment.
We had already been on the South East of the Island for a week before deciding to move up to the North East of the island. We booked into accommodation (which I will not name) that was listed in guidebooks including Rough Guide & Lonely Planet. The staff were very friendly and the location was beautiful. On the second night at 3am, two men broke into our room using a crow bar to break the Yale lock and were armed with Machetes, they woke us up by shining torches in our eyes and then slashed down the mosquito net around our bed they told us they would kill us if we made a sound and to give them all our money and belongings. One of the men held a machete to my throat whilst I kept my girlfriend behind me. I obviously told them to take everything they wanted. They remained in our room for about 10 minutes as they went through all our things. Including our wash bags, clothes & rucksacks. They turned the furniture upside down and wrapped us both together in a sheet from the bed so that they could look under the mattress (this was the most traumatic part of the ordeal). Shortly afterwards they left the room. As soon as we realised they had gone we barricaded the door with the bed and shouted for help until local villagers gathered outside our room. It turned out that there were seven men in all. The other five had tied up the hotel staff including the security guards. One of the guards was beaten so badly that he was rushed to hospital.
On reflection we were lucky to escape unharmed. I can only speculate that it was their intention to intimidate us and extreme violence was to be used as a last resort.
The police weren’t particularly helpful. They showed an interest and came to visit the scene of the crime but in a country rife with corruption (the Islanders tend to not have much confidence in the police) and without a developed infrastructure (there is no concept of finger printing or forensics) it was clear that there was little they could do. In fact they seemed more interested by my religious beliefs being agnostic on my report than anything else. All questions were directed at me being the ‘man’ in the couple and my partner wasn’t asked a single question but then one must remember that we were the guests in their country and we mustn’t criticise a culture for being different to your own.
We managed to get back to England safely and again we are grateful to the British Embassy and our booking agents who were very sympathetic and processed everything with a sense of urgency.
We thought twice about posting this online but various authorities including the Zanzibar police speculated that it was an attack organised by pirates diversifying in different forms of crime (the incident occurred at high tide and they escaped via the beach). I would be very interested to know whether anyone else has heard of such a thing in Zanzibar as it is possible that these attacks may become more frequent and unfortunately if Zanzibar wants to retain it’s reputation as a tropical paradise holiday destination they will need to ensure that their tourists are well protected.