If you’ve been traveling through Tanzania for some time, you might be ready for the beach. Good news! Taking the ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar will take about two hours and is super easy.
A ferry runs from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar, leaving from the port in downtown Dar (just off of Sokoine Drive) and arriving directly in Stone Town, Zanzibar’s main city.
How to Get from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar
The ride takes about 2-3 hours and the ferries are pretty interchangeable. Take whatever ferry suits your time table best, but stick to the two companies listed above.
The earliest ferry you can catch leaving Dar es Salaam is 7 a.m. Next is 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and the latest is 3:45 pm.
Returning to Dar es Salaam from Zanzibar
Returning to Dar – the times are the same except the very last one leaves at 3:30 pm.
Choosing Your “Class” Fare
Ticket prices also vary depending on which class you choose to ride in. VIP is the very top deck, enclosed with comfy chairs and air-conditioning and costs $40 for non-residents.
The Premium and First class decks are still $40; which ticket you get depends on how far ahead of time you buy it. These decks are fine, they’re just more crowded, and you run the risk of not having a seat for the two-hour ride.
Those with seasickness issues, beware. Sometimes there are huge waves that cause the ferry to rock vigorously, and being in the very top cabin is the worst place to be.
Economy tickets are $35 and are on the outside decks where there is more air circulation which helps alleviate the nausea.
Booking Your Ferry Ticket to Zanzibar
You can book your seats in advance on the Azam website, but you still have to arrive at the ferry terminal ahead of time to claim your tickets. Visiting the port at least a day in advance is best.
Your hotel can arrange a taxi to take you to the port and drop you off in front of Azam Marine ferries.
Do NOT buy tickets from anyone in the street, or follow them to where they say the Azam office is. There are several less legitimate ferry companies who have a reputation for being less safe.
The ferry port can be hectic with lots of people trying to convince you where to go and what to buy. Make sure you only go into the office with the big blue Azam sign on top. You should arrive at least 30 minutes before your ferry departs.
Additional Helpful Tips for the Ferry
- No alcohol is allowed on the ferry!!
- There is a snack bar on the First class deck that sells snacks and nonalcoholic drinks.
- You can pay for the tickets in USD or credit card at the booth in the ferry office at the port.
- You must bring your passport and yellow fever card.
- 25 kg worth of bags is permissible, anything extra will be charged.
- The ferry is usually safe, but keep your bags with you at all times.
- More information can be sound at the Azam Marine webpage.
It may seem confusing at first, but taking the ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar is an incredibly simple. And, it’s definitely cheaper than a plane.
After completing the process once, you’ll find it’s no problem to hope on the ferry and let it transport you to this island paradise!