Zanzibar Packing list

Planning your island get-away? Here is what you should pack.

East Africa Diving

Zanzibar is a place filled with sun-kissed skin, idyllic sunsets and dreamy lazy days on white sandy beaches. Who ever says no to a holiday in paradise?  Zanzibar is a place travellers return to year after year. But if you are a first-timer, here are a few tips on what to pack for your island get-away:

Sunhats for the beach, a little more cover for cooler evenings and for town.


Let’s start at our main priority: BEACH TIME. With great weather all year round you will enjoy plenty of the sun and sea while on Zanzibar (Just check the rainy season before you book your trip). The obvious must-haves to take along:

  • Swimsuits
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen (coral friendly)
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Flip Flops
  • Beach towel (some hotels supply this)
  • Swimwear cover up. A sarong or shirt can come in handy when you are away from the beach and in restaurants. Although holiday makers are encouraged to enjoy their time in the sun, Zanzibar is still a Muslim country and local traditions should be respected. Covering knees and shoulders away from the beach will go a long way in keeping in line with the local culture.

PRO TIP: You can also consider buying a sarong in Stonetown on your arrival. They make great and useful keepsakes. 

Beautiful sarongs for a beach towel or as cover-up in town (throw around your shoulders or wrap around your legs)


Zanzibar is a divers paradise with untouched reefs surrounded by baracudas, marlin, turtles and lots of tropical fish and sometimes even a reef shark or inquisitive dolphins.

If you book and dive (or snorkel) with East Africa Diving, all your gear is provided and included in the price. We offer trips to the best dive sites around and you will have the options of using our gear, which include:

  • Fins and masks
  • BCD (sizes xxs to xl)
  • 5mm Wetsuits (short or long)
  • Regulators
  • 10 & 12 litre steel tanks Din/Int

PRO TIP: UV rashest can help with unwanted sunburn if you plan on staying in the water a long time, especially when snorkelling without a wetsuit.

We also offer rentals on underwater and GoPro cameras so you can have all your underwater memories captured.


  • Overall keep clothing you take with to the minimal. Less is more and you will enjoy having less luggage to carry around. A pair or two of swimming trunks, a pair of long trousers and two or three shirts and two or three dresses for the ladies will be sufficient.
  • We suggest something warmer for the evenings and something for rainy days. 
  • Smart casual clothing for dinner. 
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring (for more on what to do on the island, read our tips on exploring Zanzibar)

PRO TIP: There are great opportunities to buy clothing and something unique in the markets, so leave space for some bargain hunting from Stonetown to take home. 

Laundry: Depending on how long you are staying, you might need your laundry attended to. Most hotels try to deliver a same day laundry service, depending on the weather. Most hotels also have dry cleaning options.

Coral friendly sunscreen, a sarong, hat and a good book are all island essentials.


Everyone has different needs and you will know best what you might require in the form of personal toiletries and first aid. Your hotel and dive centre will also be well equipped for emergencies, but some of the basics you might want to consider to take along with you:

  • Sunscreen 
  • Painkillers
  • Aftersun
  • Mosquito repellent (but double check if it’s specially formulated to ward off tropical mosquitoes)
  • Yellow fever vaccine (although this is not obligatory for Zanzibar)
  • Malaria prevention medication (there are pills you can take in advance)

PRO TIP: if you really want to travel light, ask the hotel or your accommodation if they provide soaps and shampoo. This way you will free up space in your luggage and have a lower risk of traveling with liquids that can potentially spill.

Passports and supportive paperwork: Depending on your passport, nationality and visa requirements. 

Cash: There are ATMs on the island and major tourist areas accept credit cards, but it won’t hurt to take some cash with you.

Cameras and cellphones:  Depending on the technology you travel with (tablet, smartphone, cameras) your recharging needs will differ. Remember your adapter and spare batteries. It is also a good idea to pack a waterproof bag to keep them dry and sand free!

Plastic free? Remember that whatever you bring to the island, will need to find a place after you are done with it. Consider bringing your own refillable water bottle instead of buying water and remember to keep your footprint as light as possible around the beaches too. 

East Africa Diving can assist with any of the tour or outing bookings and are happy to assist with recommendations.

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