Foreigners in Zanzibar

Hi friends,

Marrying a mwenyeji soon and moving to Zanzibar. I lived on the mainland near his hometown for three years as a volunteer so I am fluent in kiswahili, and when he and I met we just hit it off so naturally and have been together for two years now. Neither one of us is very familiar with what I am and am not allowed to do once I move to Zanzibar to join him, and it has been confusing trying to find out.

I have visited several times and there are SO many foreigners in Zanzibar compared to mainland. Of course it is an incredible tourist destination, but it also has many foreign residents. How is everyone able to have these homes, businesses, etc, when my understanding was that foreigners are not allowed to own property?

My fiancee and I have one personal experience of an international couple and we know that the Swedish woman married the Tanzanian man so she could have a business in Zanzibar. They fight all the time and don't even speak the same language (figure that one out haha). I don't want to assume that is a common occurrence.

I know that a few different South African "friends" of my fiancee have approached him asking if they can buy land in his name, and I am often worried he is being taken advantage of- that they are less interested in partnering with him and moreso in using his nationality for their profit. This is exploitation, to be clear. 

If anyone has a home and/or business in Zanzibar for over a year, can you share how you managed to do that? And what visa are you using to be in Zanzibar? Please do not share your story if you have also exploited a local as I do not want to follow that example.



Hello Ms Panda,

Welcome to 1f601.svg

Thank you for the instruction.

I read your message and if I am not wrong, there are 2 main questions here.

The first is information on how a foreigner can own a house/business and the second is about visas.

Feel free to correct me and ask your questions more clearly if I am wrong. This will increase your chances of finding the answers.

All the best,

Cheryl team

@Ms Panda

Hello Panda,

Hope you are doing well,

I have a question, does the idea of setting up a business in Zanzibar comes from you or from your Tanzanian fiancé ?



@Ms Panda

Hi Panda. It is nice to hear that you want to move there to live. Also your intentions are clear about not exploiting the locals for own benefit. Am from Seychelles and am also interested in doing business in Zanzibar. Am trying to find out also how foreigners bought land there since like you said the law does not allow it. Let us know how you manage and best wishes to you. Simon

@Ms Panda Hello! It might be useful to connect via instagram with mixed couples/expats/immigrants. Like mama_in_zanzibar, sacredbirth.doula, wellness_gypsea_zanzibar, kriziagypsy and many more. They all have first-hand experience with immigrating and settling in zanzibar and can give you a realistic picture of the chances but especially also the challenges that come with such a life altering decision. Good luck and wish you all wisdom needed to make the right choices!