Zanzibar is undoubtedly one of the most popular honeymoon and vacation destination for East Africans and the world.
It’s carefully preserved Arab culture, authentic Swahili food, swaying palm trees under the crispy white unpolluted sandy beaches overlooking the beautiful blue waters is what draws the world to this island off mainland Tanzania.
As a result, Zanzibar is considered one of the most expensive destinations in East Africa. This, however, doesn’t mean you and I can’t have our good vacation with our lean budget.
Yes, you heard me right. Zanzibar is not for the rich only but also for those budget travellers who are looking at experiencing a vacation to remember.
My friend and I recently did a 6 days trip to Zanzibar on a medium budget. We planned the trip together which was so much fun. To our surprise, our total budget would be just under Kenya Shillings 35,000 per person.
Are you kidding?
No, I’m not. Besides, we did not just lay on the beautiful beaches the entire 6 days. We moved around, went for the famous Spice Tour, kayaked in the ocean, ate good food etc.
This article outlines our entire itinerary with a budget of the exact costs we incurred. Before you plan to buy one of those all-inclusive travel packages ask yourself, what activities are being offered? Will you get a chance to interact with the local people? Is it worth my $$$ ?
In the end, I will share a summary of our actual travel expenses so stay with me.
Nairobi To Dar es Salaam
We used Dar Express from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam and Dar Lux for the return leg.
Bus Nairobi to Dar – Kenya shillings 7,000 return trip.
Dar to Zanzibar (Stone Town)
Azam Marine Ferry $50 to and fro for East Africa citizens (It costs $25 one way)
Taxi from Ferry Terminal to Hotel – Kenya shillings 500
Stone Town to Nungwi
My friend and I had a little debate about whether to take a Taxi or just hop on one of the buses from Stone Town to Nungwi. Taking a bus was one of the best decisions we made during the trip.
Bus (Dola Dola) from Stone town to Nungwi -200 Kenya shillings ( $2) return. Taking a Cab costs $80 each way.
Taxi from Nungwi bus stop to our hotel, Makofi Guest House – Kenya shillings 500.
All our accommodation below was on a bed and breakfast (B&B) basis and were booked through booking.com.
Accommodation in Dar es Salaam
Since we arrived in Dar es Salaam late in the evening, we needed a hotel for the night.
Nefaland Hotel – Kes. 4,250 for 2 people sharing.
Accommodation Stone Town
We spent two days in Stone Town staying at Zenji Gardens. Total cost for two nights was Kenya shillings 11,250 for 2 people sharing.
Accommodation Nungwi Beach
For Nungwi, we were lucky to find this new guest house (around 3 months old or so) hence landing gorgeous deals.
Our two nights stay at Makofi Guest House cost Kes. 6,500 for 2 people sharing.
Spice tour in Stone Town
Spice Tour is one of the most famous activities in Stone Town. We booked a last minute trip with Tropical Tours & Safaris Zanzibar for Kenya shillings 1,500 per person.
Kayaking in Nungwi Beach
This was my idea after kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam, I really wanted to play in the waters of Indian Ocean.
After much negotiation with the brokers, we rented a kayak enough for two people for Kenya shillings 750.
Sunset Dhow Cruise
There were too many brokers at Nungwi beach selling the different day and evening activities in Northern Zanzibar.
Our best strategy, thanks to my friend, was to relax and wait for the brokers to come to you. Showing them we were not even interested in the Sunset Dhow cruise scored us more points as they’d lower the price further.
We ended up not taking this activity because the day we wanted to was too cloudy and didn’t think the sunset would be worth paying for.
We relaxed at the beach reading our books and later on sipped cocktails in a nearby rooftop bar.
In Stone Town, we mostly had our dinner at Forodhani Night Market. My friend just got addicted to their food, and being the foodie, I am, I loved the variety offered.
The slow evening vibe, the serenity, and the crowd was another thing that attracted us to Forodhani, besides the food.
We had a few rooftop cocktails in reasonable bars and restaurants, with our favourite being Z Hotel in Nungwi and The Africa House Hotel rooftop bar in Stone Town.
In both Stone Town and Nungwi we mostly moved around on foot(walking), followed by taxi then only took a public bus from Stone Town to Nungwi and back.
That is how we had Zanzibar, folks.
As promised in the beginning of this post, below is our actual itinerary with prices for our entire 6 days Zanzibar vacation: –