As with all travel, tropical getaways can be blissful but can equally go horrendously wrong. Travelling to different countries in Africa can be particularly challenging if we don’t cover our bases preventive health wise. If you’re planning on going to Zanzibar, this checklist is the essential route to holiday heaven and not destination nightmare.
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TRAVELLING FROM THE UAE? MANDATORY VACCINATIONS
According to the Consulate of Tanzania in Dubai, it is mandatory for all UAE residents who apply for a Tanzanian visa from Dubai to supply a valid Yellow Fever Certificate. The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) recommends that travelers get vaccinated at least 2 weeks, or, at best, a month before traveling.
The DHA has clinics where travelers can receive vaccinations, certificates, travel advice, and risk assessment. There are two clinics: one in Al Barsha and the other in Nad Al Hammar (for more information about the exact locations and contact details, click here). You may also directly visit the travelers clinic web page by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
IN ABU DHABI
For residents in Abu Dhabi, those looking to get travel vaccinations against Yellow Fever can only do so at SEHA health clinics. The Disease Prevention and Screening Centre (DPSC) in Abu Dhabi no longer provides these travel vaccinations. One traveler reported getting their Yellow Fever vaccination from Al Maqtaa Healthcare Centre. If this centre is too far out for you, then please visit this website to find the clinic closest to you.
Do not forget to ask for your stamped certificate; after all, it’s one of the reasons you’re there in the first place.
Aside from Yellow Fever, no other vaccinations are mandatory for Zanzibar. Nevertheless, some may wish to inoculate against: Hepatitis A and B and rabies. Others also elect to take malaria prophylaxis pills. However if the resort you are staying at is hygienic, properly protected against mosquitos, and the food is clean, then it is not necessary to undergo these vaccinations.
If you have any questions or concerns consult the team in the DHA approved clinics mentioned above, or other medical centres, which may be closer at hand. Also, if you find yourself wanting to learn more about the potential health risks of travelling abroad, visit key integrative physician Dr. Weil’s work on health risks.
We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.
― Anaïs Nin
FOOD HYGIENE DO’S AND DON’T’S
You have to try the local dishes of Zanzibar. If you are a vegetarian (or a vegan), the Coconut Bean Soup and Date Nut Bread will delight your palate. Both are nutritious, delicious, and perfect if you’re looking to cautiously experiment with the local food choices.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the Mchuzi wa pweza (octopus curry) is definitely the way to go. This curry is a unique representation of the ways in which combinations of spices and flavours are expertly fused.
Don’t drink tap water.
This includes having ice in your drinks. The water in Zanzibar is safe to wash and shower in, but definitely not to swallow. Buy bottled water if you leave the resort or hotel you are staying in, and also know that you’ll most likely be provided with complimentary water bottles when you’re there.
It’s important to keep tabs on how much water you’re consuming. For tips on making sure you’re drinking enough water, press here.
CARRY YOUR PASSPORT WITH YOU
If you’re travelling to Zanzibar from other mainland parts of Tanzania, you might have to go through immigration again. Although Zanzibar is now part of Tanzania, you still may need to carry your passport with you when moving in and out of the area. Also, you might want to carry your Yellow Fever certificate booklet with you, although some have reported once you reach the mainland the first time, you aren’t asked to show your certificate again.
DON’T FORGET TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Aside from your sunglasses, sunscreen, and swimsuit, don’t forget to protect your body with thin but comfortable clothing (it’s always best to wear white!), additionally, you can go the holistic route by protecting your body from itchy bites by using organic bug spray. For other ideas on what to bring with you on a retreat, visit Well + Good.
Finding places to exchange currencies other than US dollars on the island is challenging. So make sure that you are carrying cash either in USD or in the local Tanzania Shillings (vendors are still happy to accept USD).
Most importantly, when travelling, do not to stress, enjoy the heavenly surroundings, and be safe.