Food & Basics:
Shopping is… well… different. There is very limited choice in Matemwe village shops (dukas), but you can get basic things such as: water, milk, eggs, detergents, sodas, seasonal fruits and vegetables. You’re better off shopping in town.
In Zanzibar town you will find three supermarkets. Migoz and Diplomat are along the highway leading to the airport. Kwality Supermarket is in Mlandege district. Supermarkets offer a fairly good selection of food and household supplies. You will find frozen meat, a selection of cold cuts and cheese (expensive!!!), various types of pasta, canned food etc. Don’t look for booze. They don’t sell it.
The open Darajani Market (Benjamin Mkapa Rd, near daladala terminal station) is a great attraction in itself. Walk the narrow alleys and see the fruit and vegetables. Try one of 23 banana types, buy a bag of passion fruit, and fill your basket with fresh herbs. Check out the fish on offer, too. With a bit of caution you may get a great barracuda, king fish or tuna. (Don’t be shy to check its freshness – the smell will tell all.) Local butchers sell goat and beef. Not being real carnivores, we’ve never tried it and can’t give you our personal recommendation.
Just outside the vegetable market, you will also find a seafood shop. They sell deep frozen prawns, lobsters, squid and crab. With a little bargaining you can get up to 20 per cent off.
Finally, check out the local cosmetics. If you’ve never tried clove soap – this is when you should really do it. You’ll be tempted to drop your shower gel forever.
Booze can be bought in two off-license stores. ZMMI, right next to Migoz, offers a wide selection of wines and other alcoholic drinks. Slight premium is fully justified by the choice. Another option would be to go to a small shop right across the street from the post office in Stone Town. Competitive prices but limited choice.
Paying for things:
Payments are simple: Zanzibar is a cash place. Credit cards are not widely accepted, ZMMI being an exception, however, you will then be charged an additional 5%. It will hurt when you have just bought 6 bottles of wine. There are several ATMs in town and none outside of it. Avoid withdrawals at night.