IN THE CITY
Zanzibari people are friendly and rather easy-going. Generally, they are very used to tourists and tolerate many peculiar tourists’ behaviours. Nevertheless, it is wise to not poke the bear and respect the culture of a host country. That is why, we have prepared a few hints for the newcomers to make it easier for them to interact with locals, as well as get a deeper insight of Zanzibari culture.
- Zanzibar is officially a Muslim country. It is very advisable to wear clothes that cover shoulders, cleavage and tights. You can find more details about proper outfits in Zanzibar it this section [link to the article about outfits in Zanzibar]. From our experience we can tell You, that a big advantage of wearing loose, long-sleeved and breathable clothes is that it is a great protection from the sun.
- If You ever lived in a touristic place, You probably know that quite annoying feeling of tourists taking pictures everywhere. It might have happened that they even took pictures of You. Remember this frustrating feeling as if You’d been in some kind of a zoo exposition? So now You have a clue how locals feel when someone is taking picture of them without even asking for permission. Zanzibari people usually are ok with pictures, You simply need to ask. Actually, with their permission You may get more epic shots than trying to perform peeping photography, pushing the limits of privacy (and ethics).
- Before purchasing any goods or services, always fix the price first. Unfortunately, it is common that tourists get the so-called ‘muzungu price’, which is a few times higher than a usual one. As long as supporting locals is a very generous and recommendable practice, teaching them that cheating is possible and brings huge profits is not the solution to their economic problems. Try to find a suitable rate for you – how much would you like to pay for your item ideally? If You want to support locals without making them greedy and demanding, You can contact local charity organizations or write directly to us at email@example.com – we can help You with choosing a form of help suitable for You and adequate to the current needs of local inhabitants. read more about our initiative for school children.
- Support Zanzibar economy by buying souvenirs, food or any needed items at locally-owned, rather small-scale shops. This is a perfect way to support locals in a sustainable way and at the same time get some unique souvenirs. While shopping, remember to avoid shells, coral reef pieces or any objects containing animal parts. On our website, we have a special section where You can find many sustainable initiatives offering charming and eye-catchy products here.
- We would also suggest to choose environmentally friendly accommodation to support the environment, or at least small, local guest houses or home stays, to support local communities. To help You find what is best for You, we have prepared a list of a sustainable accommodation possibilities in Zanzibar, where You can get to know about ecological footprint of every single object.
- Respect local traditions and customs. If You enter somebody’s house, leave Your shoes outside and wait for permission to enter. You can say ‘Hodi!’ (Hello, anybody at home?) before entering and if You’ll hear ‘Karibu’ (You are welcome), You are free to come in (without shoes, of course). Don’t go inside the mosque without a clear permission and proper clothes (full cover).
- During the holy month of Ramadan it is strictly forbidden to eat, drink or smoke in public. Show Your respect to local traditions and do all of those things inside hotels or tourist restaurants.
- Expressing feelings in public is not very welcome – either affection, or anger.
- Left hand is considered to be reserved only for toilet-related tasks. That is why You should always use Your right hand when greeting, eating or anything else performed in public.
- Have You ever thought about learning exotic language? Then get to know some basis of swahili! You can show off in front of Your friends at home and will gain respect and benevolence from the locals. We are going to help You – here are some most useful phrases:
- Hello! – Jambo!
- How is it going(for friends; young people)?- Mambo/Mambo vipi.
(we respond: Poa!, what means more or less: Ok/cool).
- Mambo vipi –
- How was Your trip? – Habari za safari?
- How do You feelare you? – Habari yako?
- How are You? – Habari gani?
(we may respond: Nzuri, what means: good).
- Thank You very much – Asante sana.
- Have a nice day! – Siku njema!
- No problem. – Hakuna matata.
- I’m sorry – Pole sana.
- Slowly, take it easy – Pole, pole.
- Have a good night. – Lala salama.
- I don’t understand. – SielewiSifahamu.
- Ok/ Alright. – Sawa.
- My name is … – Jina languNaitwa …
- Sister – Dada.
- Brother – Kaka.
- Friend – Rafiki.
- How much does it cost? – Shilingi ngapei?
- Yes – Ndiyo.
- No – Hapana.
- Have a good trip. – Safari njema.
- Remember that ‘everybody laughs in the same language’. Your openness and positive attitude can melt local people’ hearts, and You can end up having beautiful memories and lots of new friends from the ‘Spice Island’. Keep smiling and being nice!:)
After all, You are on vacations in amazing place, so ‘pole, pole’ (take it easy!) and enjoy!.