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General info


Official language
The official language is Swahili, which is spoken extensively in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) and in the borderlands. It stems from Bantu, which was largely contaminated by the various Arabic, Indian and English colonisations. English is widely spoken as well.

Clothing
Because of religious and cultural traditions dress code is important, men and women should dress appropriately when they are away from the beach, i.e. covering shoulders and legs too below the knees.
On the beach it is better to wear sea shoes in order to avoid hurting oneself with pebbles and sea urchins. In some beaches you can hire flippers and underwater masks. After sunset we advice to wear long sleeves to avoid mosquito bites.

Money matters
The unit of local currency is the Tanzania Shilling. American dollars (1 US$=1200 TSH) or Euros (1 EUR=1700 TSH) are accepted in cash in many places around town, but with a not competitive exchange rate. If you are going to spend some money it is better to change it at the exchange offices in the city banks.
The staff of the Mangrove will recommend you the most convenient and safe offices.

It is important to remember that at ATM cash desk in Stone Town for cash withdrawal only credit cards are accepted. The highest shilling denomination is 10.000 and a single withdrawal can be of 400.000 shelling max.

Electricity
Power system
is 230 volts, plugs 3amp usually square pin. If need be, the Mangrove Lodge provides adapters without any deposit. Sometimes it can happen that power is cut off for some hours, the Lodge has power unit and emergency light available anyway.

Time Zone
Time difference
is 3 hours ahead of GMT, so you surely avoid the jet lag and you can enjoy your holiday from the first day you arrive!

Medicines
Hospital equipment and organization are lacking if you compare them to the European ones. Notwithstanding all the most common medicines are available. By the way, just in case it is better to bring one’s medicine. Don’t forget to bring mosquito repellent as well.

Prophylaxis
Among the endemic diseases there is malaria, whose prophylaxis is recommended but not compulsory. The risk to contract it is low and some devices reduce it further; for example long sleeves after dusk.
The Zanzibar government with the institution of the Kataa Malaria Project yearly provides for the disinfestations against mosquitoes and in the Mangrove Lodge disinfestations have been done inside the rooms.

Arrival and Departure from Zanzibar

All visitors must have a valid passport (at least for 6 months) and visa to enter Tanzania. Visas can be obtained directly from Immigration office at the airport as soon as you arrive. It costs 50 $ or 40 €. Exit taxes are expected to be paid (25 $+8 $) at the airport after the check in.

The airport is quite small and not mechanized, baggage is hand given and often you are asked for a tip… One needs to remember that it’s a poor country, where people try just to make ends meet.
The Mangrove Lodge drivers will wait for you at the airport exit and will help you with your baggage.

Climate

Like in several parts of the world also here there are noticeable climatic changes and it is possible that during the rainy season sun keeps on shining.

There is a difference between the meteorological conditions of the two coasts. The west coast is humid, while the east coast is more arid and ventilate. This contrast outcrops in the vegetation. The lush west coast offers huge trees like mango trees, spices gardens, banana trees and a lot of flowers. In the east coast there are palm trees, baobab and a short bush instead.
The Mangrove Lodge is deep green on the west coast.

Season

Generally the Zanzibar summer is from December to March, and it is characterized by hot weather, very little humidity and a beautiful plain blue sky.

April and May are seasonally subject to the long rains, called Masika. It is a spectacular view but with a little inconvenience, obviously!

The dry season is for who doesn’t like too high temperature. It begins in June and ends in September, it is characterized by a very pleasant weather, short rains and a veiled sky.

Short rains, called Vuli, can occur in October and November. The short showers do not last long, and normally they don’t jeopardize the day.

Solidarity

A lot of tourists arrive in Zanzibar with luggage full of clothes, medicines and products for body wealth and leave with luggage full of local handicrafts and without things they had brought. Who has contacts with the local community often gives his things and products to the inhabitants, above all to children.
To the ones who would like to help the local population, we advice to bring school equipment such as pens, pencils, exercise books, chalk, rucksacks and so on, and vocabulary and books for those children who are willing to learn English. Clothes, shoes and medicines are useful for everyone.

Along the road and on the beach you can meet little children holding out their hands, but we suggest to leave the objects directly in the schools, mosques or orphanage of Stone Town, where they will be delivered.

The Mangrove Lodge is involved in the solidarity mission, Haji is in touch with some schools and mosques in the poor villages. He can deliver the donation to specific missions in the whole island.
Some tourists that have already been in Zanzibar, every year send donation from Europe to Haji’s P.O. Box, who than looks after the delivery.
Who is interested can contact us through our e-mail address info@mangrovelodge.com