Car Hire from Zanzibar Airport
The island of Zanzibar, just off the east coast of Tanzania, is rich with ancient culture, spice trade history and white, sandy paradise beaches. Hiring a car from Zanzibar Airport allows you to explore this incredible island at your own pace and embark on a memorable road trip adventure.
Where to hire a car at Zanzibar Airport
Zanzibar Airport is very small and there are no car hire companies with dedicated desks there. However, a number of companies provide a meet and greet service, bringing your rental car to the airport for collection. Providers include Zanzibar Rent a Car and Kibabu Cars. At the end of your trip, you can usually return your hire car to the airport.
Petrol Stations near Zanzibar Airport
The petrol stations closest to the airport are located on the outskirts of Stone Town. There’s a service station on the main road leading towards Stone Town, about 10 minutes’ drive from the airport.
Driving around Zanzibar Airport
Zanzibar Airport sits on Nyerere Road, a coastal road which travels north into the centre of Stone Town. If you’re travelling anywhere else, you’ll need to head inland from the airport to pick up the main road network, which offers routes around the whole island.
To drive in Zanzibar you need an International Driving Permit. This is different from your standard international driving license and you need to apply for the permit in advance of your trip. The permit costs around £5.00 and £3.50 for postage and is valid for a year after the date of issue. You can apply to the RAC, the AA or at a local post office.
In Tanzania, cars drive on the left like they do in the UK. However, road conditions are very different to those you’d find at home. A 4WD is a good option as roads are often poorly maintained and potholed. Most roads are sealed but there are some dirt tracks down to beach villages. You’re likely to come across animals and pedestrians in the road in smaller towns and villages so be sure to drive carefully. Driving at night is best avoided as, out of Stone Town, roads are unlit.
Getting to your destination
When you hire a car from Zanzibar Airport, there are lots of great destinations within easy reach. Here are a few of them:
Stone Town is the hub of Zanzibar activity and the inner city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its incredible mix of Moorish, Indian, African and Middle Eastern architecture. You can take a guided walk around the old town, discovering some Stone Town history, and visit the city’s vibrant night market.
Stone Town is a 12 minute drive from Zanzibar Airport, taking Nyerere Road right into the centre. The city’s old town is a maze of narrow streets so, to avoid a navigation nightmare, it’s a good idea to park up on the outskirts and walk into the centre.
Nungwi is a coastal village on Zanzibar’s northern coast. As well as an idyllic sandy beach, visitors can enjoy deep sea fishing, kite surfing, cycling tours and some of the best diving spots on the island. If you’re diving or snorkelling you’re likely to come across sea turtles and dolphins as well as lots of tropical fish.
It takes just over an hour to drive from Zanzibar Airport to Nungwi, heading north along the coast through Stone Town and then cutting inland. The village is well-established for tourists so there are plenty of places to leave your car.
Jambiani is a small, laid back fishing village on the south eastern coast of the island. Visitors can go fishing with local fishermen, attend a cooking course with local women or rent a bicycle to explore the village. The beach is another highlight and the coral reef is home to some incredible marine life if you choose to go diving or snorkelling.
Jambiani is an hour’s drive from Zanzibar Airport. Drivers should take Nyerere Road north before turning inland through Jozani Chwaka National Park and heading over to the eastern coast of the island. Roads through the village are rocky and unsealed so a 4WD is advisable.