How to ride a Dala- Dala in Zanzibar

If you want to get a real taste of Zanzibar, you must take a trip with local Dala-Dala instead of a taxi. Riding local buses is an experience itself, as you will rarely meet other tourists. It’s not only much cheaper but you also get to know local people better. You would be surprised what locals are traveling with; almost every person is carrying a bucket and every other would load a bicycle or bags of rice on the roof.

Most dalas depart from Darajani market and will go all possible directions. They fit as many people possible, even if it means ten standing and five hanging outside the door. As conductor says: ‘four seats at the back means six seats in Zanzibar’. You get the picture.

How to avoid being ripped off

My number one rule is never ever give money to a person asking for it if dala-dala hasn’t left yet. As chances are, he is not a conductor and you will be ripped off more then double. And you will head things like ‘you need to pay now because of taxes’ or ‘I’m the owner of this dala’. If you pay, he will take money and leave.

After taking dala-dala many times, I’ve learned to act cool without asking for price when you get a seat. All whole way trips cost 2000Tzs ($0.80) but you may be asked to pay for the bag (which should be 500Tzs max).

Best way to avoid being ripped off is not engaging with any ‘helpful’ person that will chat you up and annoyingly follow all the way offering free information.

Imagine there is no one around and just walk your own way.

There are no timetables for dala-dalas. They run pretty often or whenever full.

Here are some major routes you might need, all leaving from Stone Town.

Leaving from the market next to petrol station:

♯ 116 Nungwi

♯ 117 Kiwengwa

♯ 118 Matemwe

Leaving from Kwarakwao station, which is 5km away. To get there, take any dala from the market going that direction (300Tzs/$0.10)

♯ 309 Jambiani via Paje

♯ 340 Michamwi via Paje and Bwejuu

Remember all routes cost 2000Tzs ($0.80).

Enjoy the ride and Bon Voyage!

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