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What’s the Best Way to Get to Zanzibar: Ferry or Flight? | Easy Travel

What’s the Best Way to Get to Zanzibar: Ferry or Flight?

Scenario 1: The air is humid and sticks to your shirt, but the rush of wind and salt spray keeps you cool. Everywhere you look the Indian Ocean churns blue-green glass.

As the high-speed ferry takes you from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar, you begin to see your destination revealed: Stone Town. Buildings come into view, then beaches, and your approach to a romantic week on Zanzibar mirrors how early explorers must have first experienced this archipelago—from the water.

Scenario 2: Your small plane departs Arusha late morning. After ascending, you are able to see Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro from the air, which takes your breath away. The plane heads east, passing over Dar es Salaam and out above the Indian Ocean. Before you can finish your ginger ale, Zanzibar’s turquoise-fringed beaches and spice plantations come into view. In just ninety minutes you’ve transitioned from your weeklong safari to an island paradise. Time to relax.

About To Take The Ferry In Zanzibar

To Ferry or to Fly? That is the Question…

We all know how cool the word Zanzibar feels as it rolls off the tongue, but does the place actually deliver? Absolutely. The Spice Islands are only 28 miles off the coast of Tanzania, and yet the archipelago lives up to its hype in every way possible. Powdered sugar beaches, blood-orange sunsets, world-class diving, and culinary arts rivaling most anywhere. A bucket list destination, to be sure.

So how best do you get to this paradise? The two scenarios above helped to imagine the available options: ferry or flight. Both offer exceptional experiences, and both have their benefits. To remove any confusion, we’ve made a quick-and-clear comparison for you to make up your mind. At the end of this post, we disclose our personal recommendation. So buckle up -- let’s go for a ride.

Zanzibar Ferry

Why Take a Ferry to Zanzibar...

Oftentimes, staying close to the ground—or water—adds more adventure to any experience. Ferry travel can be exhilarating, and, in Tanzania, it will put you in direct contact with seafaring locals. Most high-speed ferries depart to Zanzibar multiple times a day from Dar es Salaam. Here are some numbers:

  • Duration:

    two hours

  • Cost:

    $35/$40/$50/$60 (USD as of November 2018)

  • Comfort:

    Economy / Business / VIP / Royal

  • Book in Advance?


The journey is scenic, and it places you in direct contact with the elements that define this island world. It’s a truly unique experience to gain this vantage point when arriving, a well-earned crossing. Overall, the ferry system in Tanzania is safe and secure, though we only advise travelers to take the high-speed, well-maintained ferry operators. We recommend a ferry to clients whose travels home route them through Dar es Salaam. The port is easily accessible from downtown hotels, and this option avoids the 1.5-hour drive to the airport. Here’s what the ferry looks like: Here

Zanzibar From The Air

Why Take a Flight to Zanzibar...

A popular option is to book your safari for Northern Tanzania and/or a Kilimanjaro trek, then fly directly to Zanzibar from either Arusha, Kilimanjaro International Airport, or the Serengeti bush. Flights from Arusha are 1.5 hours; they are frequent and reasonably priced. If you fly from the Serengeti, be aware that this might require a few stops. This combination offers a convenient beach getaway after days in the bush. Your Easy Travel team can organize all the transfers to and from airport to hotel, to paradise, and back. Hassle-free. Here are some flight specifics:

  • Arusha to Zanzibar: $230 to $250 per person / one way

  • Northern Serengeti Kogatende Airstrip to Zanzibar: $470 to $500 per person / one way

  • Grumeti to Zanzibar: $470 to $500 per person / one way

  • Seronera (Central Serengeti to Zanzibar) $400 to $430 per person / one way

Our Recommendation? Fly.

Though we love the rush and close-to-earth feel of a high-speed ferry travel, flying to Zanzibar proves to be the best use of your limited time in Tanzania. We book you a plane that takes you directly there. To fly is to avoid seasickness, overcrowded boats, and potentially long, overland travel to get to and from the ports. Note that all ferries depart from Dar es Salaam, so if you wish travel by ferry post-safari, you’ll need to get to Dar first, which we can help arrange. A second place recommendation might be to take a one-way ferry to Zanzibar, then fly back to your destination.

Bottom Line:

Every minute counts during your travels in Tanzania. To fit in the most life-changing experiences during your visit, it’s advised to craft an exquisite itinerary to fit your timeline and budget. Ending any Easy Travel adventure with a few carefree days of lounging on a postcard-perfect beach, aside a lapping Indian Ocean, doesn’t get any better.

Getting You There?

Easy Travel representatives thrive in their ability to take your needs, your wishes, your budget, and your interests and customize the perfect, unforgettable itinerary. We offer 5 -7 day Zanzibar packages and can set up Spice Tours, bicycle rentals, scuba dives, and Stone Town tours. Contact us today.


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