Many people heard about Zanzibar and most of them know it’s one of the most exotic & unique tourist destinations, but not so many are familiar with other aspects of this island full of numerous activities and examples of endemic flora & fauna. Some of them search “Where is Zanzibar?”, and the answer couldn’t be more simple: in Africa, East of Tanzania. However, others search “Is Zanzibar a country?” and the answer to this question is a bit more complicated. This is why we decided to dedicate a blog article to this topic which might seem redundant to the locals, but it’s interesting for the rest of the world.

So, is Zanzibar a country?

Administratively, Zanzibar is considered “an insular autonomous region of Tanzania”. Therefore, technically, it can be thought of as an independent country since it’s autonomous, but on the other hand, it belongs de facto to Tanzania, one of the most important countries in East Africa. Thus, the correct and complete answer is that Zanzibar is NOT a country, but rather a territory that governs itself. The Archipelago with the same name includes many small islands, and two large ones: Unguja and Pemba.

When they talk about Zanzibar, many people actually refer to the island of Unguja, which is the largest of the two and includes the capital, Zanzibar City. Its historic center, Stone Town, where the famous leader of the band Queen, Freddie Mercury, was born, is a World Heritage Site. The total area of the islands that make up the archipelago is 2.462 square kilometers (951 square miles), while the population is 1.5 million (a density of 530 people per square kilometer), according to the latest census (2012).

Surprisingly, tourism is only the third source of income for Zanzibar, after spices (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper) and raffia (different species of palms, that grow up to impressive heights and are a source of raffia fibers). Actually, tourism flourished rather recently, thanks to government promotion, with the numbers increasing from 19.000 tourists in 1985 to 376.000 in 2016.

Other FAQs about Zanzibar

Besides wanting to know if Zanzibar is a country, people from all over the world also search online for other curiosities about this exotic tourist destination. Here are, in short, the answers to these questions:

Q: Is Zanzibar safe for travel?

A: Yes, Zanzibar is one of the safest destinations in Africa, especially with a highly professional travel agency such as Zanzibar Tour Guide.

Q: When is the best time to visit Zanzibar?

A: Throughout the year since the daily mean temperatures vary from 25.1 degrees Celsius in August (lowest) to 28.8 degrees Celsius in February & March (highest).

Q: Is Zanzibar expensive?

A: Surprisingly or not, Zanzibar is a great destination to visit even on a budget, but there are also super luxury, luxury, and mid-range options.

Q: Is Zanzibar worth visiting?

A: Definitely! Check our offer of Tours/Trips, Safaris, Activities/Experiences & more, both on the island, as well as on mainland Tanzania, to convince yourself, and book now – one of the best holidays of your life is waiting for you!