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Enjoy Tanzania Differently With Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar Ferry

dar es salaam to zanzibar ferry
Written by Teresa Mwangi

One of the less spoken beauty of travel in Tanzania is the Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar ferry which is mind-blowing. Your gateway to Zanzibar is the ferry which is a convenient and scenic mode of transportation.

It seamlessly connects the Tanzanian capital to the popular island visited by thousands of people from different parts of the world. And while on the ferry, the gentle waves of the Indian Ocean lull you as you sail across the turquoise waters. Ferries welcome you to the tropical paradise.

What Does Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar Ferry Look Like?

Zanzibar ferries are modern vessels offering a comfortable and convenient way to travel between the mainland of Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar. They are double-decker catamarans by design with spacious interiors, air-conditioned seating areas, and outdoor decks for enjoying the sea views.

Some ferries also feature amenities such as onboard restaurants, cafes, and bars. The journey from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar takes approximately 2 hours. Ferries depart multiple times each day. Booking tickets in advance is recommended, especially during peak season.

dar es salaam to zanzibar ferry

Zanzibar Ferry. Photo/Bookaway

How Much Does It Cost From Dar es Salaam To Zanzibar By Ferry?

Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar ferry ticket ranges between $35 and $80 depending on the time of the year. It has a peak and off-peak season too and there are different transport companies offering ferry service to Zanzibar. You get three ticket options from the following:

  • Budget ferry: $35-$45
  • Standard ferry: $45-$60
  • Fast ferry: $60-$80

If you are on a tight schedule, you can obtain discounted ferry tickets from Dar to Zanzibar by making your reservation well in advance or going off-peak. Buying a round-trip or group ticket also helps you save money.

Further, if you’re looking at budget travel, do the following:

  • Book your tickets in advance
  • Travel during the off-season (May-June and September-October)
  • Purchase a group ticket
  • Purchase a round-trip ticket

How Long is the Boat Ride From Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar?

Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar ferry takes at least two to three hours depending on the type of ferry and the company used. Faster ferries, such as catamarans, make the journey in as little as 1 hour 45 minutes, while slower ferries, such as dhows, can take up to 3 hours. The time of year also affects the ferry ride time. It takes longer to get to Zanzibar during the rainy season usually between March-May and November-December. Waters are rough which slows down the vessel.

dar es salaam to zanzibar ferry

Zanzibar Fast Ferry. Photo/United Republic of Tanzania

Essentially the ferries have a turnaround time as follows:

  • Fast ferry: 1 hour 45 minutes – 2 hours
  • Standard ferry: 2 hours – 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Slow ferry: 2 hours 30 minutes – 3 hours

Which is the Best Ferry From Dar To Zanzibar?

Zanzibar Fast Ferries takes it home as the best ferry company operating the Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar ferry. The company offers a combination of comfort, speed, and reliability. Their catamarans boast spacious interiors, air conditioning, and outdoor decks, ensuring a pleasant journey across the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

Zanzibar Fast Ferries also maintains a consistent schedule, with multiple departures daily, and their online booking system makes securing your tickets a breeze. Additionally, the company’s commitment to safety and maintenance ensures a smooth and secure voyage.

Is it Safe to Take the Ferry to Zanzibar?

Traveling to Zanzibar via ferry is safe and many people have embraced ferry services to cross over to the island. Ferry companies running between the two locations have a solid safety record and excellent customer service. All the ferries have contemporary safety measures and are in good mechanical condition. Don’t be afraid to try out the Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar ferry!

dar es salaam to zanzibar ferry

Zanzibar fast ferry. Photo/YouTube

What is the Cheapest Way to get to Zanzibar?

The cheapest way to get to Zanzibar is to take a dhow ferry from Dar es Salaam. Dhows are traditional wooden sailing boats that are slower than catamarans, but they are also much cheaper. Tickets for dhow ferries cost between $20 and $30. Standard ferry are also cheap considering they cost $40–$60, while the fast ferry cost no more than $80.

Approximate turn-around time for the tree categories is 105 to 180 minutes, which is reasonable. Boat trips to Zanzibar allow you to enjoy the Indian Ocean lull.


Flying from Dar to Zanzibar takes only 20 minutes and costs between $100 – $200 for a one-way ticket. In contrast, the Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar ferry costs between $20 and $80, although it is longer but enjoyable on the Indian Ocean.

About the author

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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