Flights to Zanzibar, How to Get to Zanzibar Island

Pic: Zanzibar Serena
Pic: Zanzibar Serena

Zanzibar. The name itself feels exciting and exotic on the tongue and it conjures up images of vibrant coral reefs, long sugary-white sandy beaches, kaleidoscope sunsets and spice farms where pepper, cloves and anise are grown. It’s a fantastic destination for a getaway and it’s easier to get to than you might think. Read on for some helpful information to help you know which airlines fly direct to Abeid Amani Karume International Airport Zanzibar and the best connections if you can’t land a direct flight.

Flying to Zanzibar from Dar Es Salaam

Dar es Salaam is the largest city of Tanzania. A good number of international flights will land in Julius Nyerere International Airport.

From Dar es Salaam there are daily flights to Zanzibar, which is usually the simplest and most cost effective option. The airlines that offer flights include Coastal Aviation,, Precision Air 713 and ZanAir. There are more than 45 flights per day available and the duration of the flight is only 20 minutes.

It is possible to travel to Zanzibar Island from Dar Es Salaam by ferry and if you are traveling in the peak season you should purchase your ferry ticket at least one day ahead of time. You can find the Dar ferry station on the waterfront in the downtown, located right off Sokoine Drive.

There are two ferry companies that offer services from Dar Es Salaam to Zanzibar  – Fast Ferries and Azam Marine Coastal Ferries. It doesn’t matter too much which one you take as they are very similar, just take the ferry that is leaving at your preferred time.

The ferry will take around 2-3 hours and it will cost around $35-$50 USD for non-residents (check the official websites for up to date ticket prices).

The water can be rough, so if you are prone to seasickness you will want to take some tablets or consider taking the flight instead.

When you arrive at the ferry terminal in Zanzibar you will need to pass through immigration and then proceed out of the official port. From there you can easily walk to the main area of Stone Town, just take a right outside of the terminal and walk for 1km.

Flying to Zanzibar From Kenya

For tourists traveling from Nairobi, Kenya Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is the point of Departure. Most guest coming to East Africa find it cheaper to land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and then book a local flight to Zanzibar. Flights from Nairobi to Zanzibar will average around 300usd per person.

There are at least 6 Direct flights per day from Nairobi to Zanzibar offered by Kenya Airways, PrecisionAir and Fly 540 others and they are 1.5 hours in duration.

Flying to Zanzibar from Uganda

Currently there are no Direct flights to Zanzibar from Entebbe. Most guest will opt to book a direct flight to Dar Es Salaam on FastJet  and then catch a local flight to Zanzibar from Julius Nyerere International Airport. Alternatively one can use a connecting flight on Kenya Airways or on Ethiopian Airlines.  Ethiopian Airline may not have the most favorable flight timings but they have some of the best rates for clients traveling from Entebbe.

Flying to Zanzibar from South Africa

There are direct flights from South Africa to Zanzibar taking off weekly from Johannesburg, which are operated by Mango Airlines. The flight will last approximately 3.5 hours. Another option is South African Airlines, which flies daily to Dar es Salaam from Cape Town or Johannesburg. However, these flights sometimes arrive late at night which means that you will need to stay overnight in Dar es Salaam before you make your transfer to Zanzibar.

Flying to Zanzibar from United Kingdom

The only airline that offers fares to Zanzibar from the United Kingdom is Kenya Airways. These flights will have a stop in Nairobi. You could also fly with any other airline to Nairobi, Mombasa or Dar es Salaam and then book a separate onward flight to Zanzibar. There is a small plane to Zanzibar with Precision Air, a shuttle operator or you could take the ferry to Zanzibar.

British Airways has flights direct to Dar es Salaam from Heathrow and KLM offer flights with a stop in Amsterdam. There are also flights to Nairobi available through KLM, Air France, Qatar and Virgin Atlantic. Indirect flights to Mombasa can be found through Ethiopian Airlines, Air France, Kenya Airways and KLM.

You could also take the Alliance Air night flight from London, which leaves on Mondays and Fridays to Dar es Salaam. This one one of the most convenient options because you will be in Stone Town for lunch!

Flying to Zanzibar from United Arab Emirates

There are several flights available from the United Arab Emirates, from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.  The flights are operated by Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Egypt Air and Kenya Airways. Also, Flydubai offers a direct flight twice per week from Dubai to Zanzibar which has a duration of 5 hours and 50 minutes.

Flying to Zanzibar from Nigeria

Zanzibar is a popular destination for Nigerians because they can visit for 90 days and obtain a visa on arrival, making travel planning simple and easy. Some of the airlines that offer flights from Nigeria to Zanzibar include Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air and Kenya Airways.

Flying to Zanzibar from United States and Canada

At the time of writing this there are no direct flights from North America to Tanzania. You will need to look for an indirect flight to Nairobi or Dar es Salaam and book a separate ferry or flight from there.

There are several airlines that offer one stop indirect services from JFK to Dar es Salaam. Some of the airlines that fly from JFK to DAR include Qatar Airways, Air France, South African Airlines and Etihad. If you are flying from Canada you can find flights from Swiss Airlines to Dar es Salaam via Zurich.

Flying to Zanzibar from New Zealand

The journey from New Zealand to Zanzibar is very long and it will require at least one stop and sometimes more than one. The airlines that offer flights include Qatar Airlines and Emirates. Try to book as far in advance as possible so that can get the best prices.

When you arrive at the Zanzibar International Airport you will be a few kilometers away from the main city center in Stone Town. The best way to get to your Zanzibar Hotel will be to take a taxi. If you are on a Zanzibar holiday package, am sure there will be someone at the Airport to Pick you up 🙂

Have a wonderful time in Zanzibar!