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Travel Costs Breakdown: Zanzibar

What does it cost to visit Zanzibar on a budget?

As usual, this breakdown is based solely on my experience with planning for a trip I made in the month of September, 2016. This is intended only for the purpose of trip planning and to present a fair idea of how much to budget.

All prices stated here are either approximate values or exact values at the time of this writing.

Visa and Transportation Details

Visa is given on arrival at Zanzibar International Airport to Nigerian citizens and costs $50. You can also obtain your visa before traveling at the Tanzanian embassy in Abuja. You would typically want to get it before hand to skip the immigration queue but if you aren't able to do so, you can just show up at the airport.

An economy class ticket to Zanzibar would cost you anything from N100,000 - N150,000, depending on when you book or your travel time.

Edit: a recent check put flight costs within the N220,000 - N250,000 range. 

Taxis from the airport can be arranged by the hotel you choose to stay at. Budget $35 for a trip to Stone Town, $55-75 for a trip to Kiwengwa, Paje and Jambiani and $65-85 for a trip to Nungwi.


We stayed in a bungalow at The Reef & Beach, Jambiani which we booked using the Booking.com app. This cost us $230 for 6 nights (plus breakfast). We found accommodation in Stone Town (for the time period we travelled in) to be slightly cheaper generally, higher in places like Nungwi and pretty much same in the Paje area.

Food & Drinks

We spent about $120 on feeding for the entire 6 days. Breakfast came with the room while our lunch and dinner were quite basic and cheap.


We took a day trip to Stone Town and Prison Island with a Spice Tour en route. This was organized by the hotel and it cost us $50 each. This was basically the only thing we did in Zanzibar. A snorkeling experience was underway but we wound up cancelling. The price for that was about $60.

Total Budget for 2 travellers (based ONLY on our experience): $1,200 (or $1,500 see: edit)

Hope you find this information useful and don't forget, prices could be higher or lower depending on how early you plan, travel periods (peak or otherwise) and your own personal preferences.

My Travel Journey: Thorns & Roses

I'd like to say EVERY single moment of the time I have spent travelling have been all fun and rosy but that would be a lie. I have had a few not-so-great experiences and I'm not talking about the time I became a corporate beggar in Florence and Rome, or when I thought my hostel roommate was going to strangle me in my sleep. Nope, I'm not referring to any of my solo travel horror stories

I am referring to some of the moments that don't make it on to social media. Some of the moments I wished I was home with my family or some of  the times I really wished I had someone to share my experiences with. So here goes;

Up until recently, 90% of the trips I have taken have been solo and I have enjoyed them for the most part but there were times when I got very, very lonely and borderline depressed. For example, in the summer of 2015, I took my first solo trip to explore some parts of Europe. It wasn't by choice as my sister was supposed to join me.

She couldn't make it, so I found myself all alone and I think this might have been the reason why I didn't enjoy my stay in Barcelona at first.

As I mentioned in this post where I talked about ways to deal with loneliness while traveling solo, the feeling of being alone is bound to creep in and often doesn't make it to social media. But let's face it, I am not going to take a crying selfie (this is an example, because I never cry) and/or post it up on Instagram. It's not that I am trying to project a false life but aren't pictures the last thing anyone thinks about when they're feeling down?

Anyway, I am thankful for the lady in the picture above who kept photobombing me (she was responsible for my first truly happy moment in Barcelona). I am also thankful for the hostel receptionist who came downstairs to get my bag and for the party animals I met at the hostel who inducted me to Sangria and made sure I joined the party at Las Ramblas after Barcelona won the Champions League that year.

Another thorn of my travel journey has to do with money. Despite several weeks and sometimes, months of planning, I sometimes still fall into tourist traps and make stupid spending decisions. I buy something I shouldn't have bothered with or get cheated into paying more for an item or service.

I had a lot of these moments in South Africa, where I visited with my sister. On our first day, we mistakenly booked a "premium" economy ticket and bought an adapter for three times the price, setting us back by more than a thousand rand. For us budget travellers, that is a lot!

It was also in SA, I parted with my beloved Galaxy Note 4 (be gone with your Note 7 jokes!) and I was definitely not all smiles about that! But I am thankful for the hotel staff who gave us a ride from the Kruger NP area to Hazyview (2 hrs away) when we were too broke to pay for a cab and for all the wonderful people who we met along the way.

Lastly, there is the tendency for me to get sick while travelling by road. Land transport is my preferred means of travel but unfortunately, I struggle with severe motion sickness.  

Shortly after taking this picture in Lavasa, India, my friend and I got into a car and headed back to Pune. We didn't get far when I started to feel uncomfortable. There was an illegal party going on in my head, my stomach was churning badly and I could barely keep anything down. Our driver had to pull up twice to allow me throw up by the side of the road. Needless to say, I almost ruined that outing for the both of us.

I have since had to find ways to manage motion sickness, I even wrote an article about that here and also make it a point of duty to never travel without proper medication.

So, no, I haven't had it all rosy but every moment and experience has been priceless and I wouldn't change a thing! Nah, scratch that... I will go back and not buy those "premium economy" tickets!

Anyway, I am happy to be sharing this journey with you and I hope you go on to make your own adventures too!

I would love to hear from you... please share some of your travel experiences by leaving a comment.

Sleep, Eat, Do: Agra

Agra is a city in Uttar Pradesh state, northern India. It's about 5hrs drive from the country's capital, New Delhi and the city's major attraction is the iconic mausoleum, Taj Mahal. I spent only a day here as part of my tour of the Golden Triangle and was able to visit some other tourist attractions within and just outside the city.

If you find yourself in Agra, here are some recommendations (based solely on my experience) on where to sleep, what to eat and what to do.


I stayed at Radison Blu, Agra Taj East Gate for one night and I could have easily stayed there for longer. This hotel is pure class. And the best part, it was only $60 a night! - don't convert this with today's exchange rate, please,. If you think about the amount of money you'd pay to stay in this sort of hotel in Lagos, for example, you'd understand why this was such a big deal.

I loved everything about my stay here. From the ambience to the friendliness of the staff to the food and everything else. I almost skipped my afternoon tour just because I wanted to spend more time in my room! The hotel is also quite centralized, so you can get to the Agra Fort, Mehtab Bagh and the Taj Mahal in good time.

photos via Radisson blu


I stayed in Agra for a day only and didn't really have any time to explore the local variety. I don't know if it's safe to assume that you can find the same foods in Agra as you would in Pune, where I did most of my street-food eating (I wrote about that here)

If you're not really interested in trying local foods, you'll find that most hotels would offer an intercontinental menu, so you'll have lots of option to choose from.


Visit the Taj Mahal - obviously. You can't travel to Agra without seeing it, even if it is just to say that you have been there. The architectural details of this place is amazing, especially if you consider the era in which it was built. And of course, there is a beautiful, albeit sad, love story behind the tomb.

Visit the Agra Fort - The Taj's lesser known sister attraction, also a UNESCO world heritage site, echoes the story of the Mughal Empire and is definitely worth visiting. PS: I found this place more intriguing than the Taj Mahal.

Visit Mehtab Bagh - The Moonlight Garden was an extension of the Taj Mahal Garden - on the other side of the river. Legend has it that Shah Jahan, the emperor who built the Taj Mahal, intended to build a similar tomb in this garden, made entirely out of black marble and connected the Taj through a bridge. 

He was overthrown by his son before he could complete it and forced to live in a tower in the Agra Fort with a view of the Taj Mahal.

Shop for souvenirs - or don't! I've read a lot about tour guides steering tourists to shops where overpriced souvenirs are sold as they get a commission or something. In Jaipur, I was taken to one of such shops despite my insistence on skipping it. A lot of the items in that shop were so expensive that I didn't even have the luxury of being a compulsive buyer.

In Agra though, I did go shopping for simple souvenirs and I quite liked the experience. The shop owner was delightful and she made sure to pump me with a lot of free chai (tea) samples.

Visit Fatehpur Sikri - This city, located just outside the city of Agra was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and is considered to be his architectural legacy. The perfectly preserved city was abandoned shortly after its completion due to a shortage of water.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the sultan's palace in the Disney animated feature film, Aladdin was inspired by the Taj Mahal? I'm guessing the name 'Agrabah' was also inspired by this city. Agra is also known for it's population of monkeys and tigers; Aladdin's pet, Abu is a monkey and Jasmine's pet, Rajah is a tiger.

Have you ever been to Agra? What are your recommendations on what to sleep, eat and do? 
 If you haven't been, is this somewhere you'd consider exploring?

Nomads for a day in Tanzania

'Maasai' means people that speak the 'Maa' language. They are a semi-nomadic ethnic group living in southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania whose lives majorly revolves around caring for their cattle. In the past, they have been known to be fully nomadic, moving their herds to wherever they can find food and water. But that lifestyle is beginning to change as many of their lands have been turned into wildlife reserves.

In Tanzania, we visited a Maasai village situated within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. For a fee ($25), they offered us a tour of their village and a glimpse into the daily lives of the people. We were met outside the enkang (village) by a representative and shortly after, they lined up to welcome us with a traditional (warrior) dance.

We were then led into the enkang and taken on a tour of their school (above) and homes. The Maasai homes are usually built by the women and are made with sticks, cow dung, urine and mud.

The houses are usually dark with a single source of light carved out in the ceiling. The one we visited had two beds, one meant for the man of the house, the other for the women and in the middle of both beds was the kitchen. It was pretty stuffy inside and the 'window' in the ceiling didn't help much.

We really enjoyed this tour. It was optional on our itinerary and we almost passed it up but I'm glad we went ahead with it. See some videos from our time with the Maasais below;

The JJC's Guide to Travel Videography

One of my favorite things to do after a trip is to make short movies. These movies summarize an entire trip in less than 5 minutes (some take a minute only). I first started making them after a friend of mine, Donna, made one of our weekend in Paris. I liked the idea and decided to do the same for my first solo trip around some parts of Europe. (see below)

I also got motivated to keep at it because of my mum. She just wouldn't sit to look through pictures on a screen. Videos like these were how I could show her how the trip went in the shortest amount of time, without leaving a lot out.

I have to say here though that I am not an expert and I have never claimed to be one. The videos I make are just for the fun of it. They're quite simple and help to keep memories alive and this guide is aimed at JJCs like me who want to make short movies to document their travel adventures or anything else. Here are some tips to help you with that.

#Tip 1: Shoot in landscape, not portrait mode

When you take videos or images in portrait mode (phone or camera in upright position), you'll have to deal with black spaces by the sides of your video. There are actually ways to manage portrait shots (like splitting the image, so that it covers the entire width of the footage or by using an app that puts the same image as a background).

But it's just easier and straight forward when you already have your pictures or shots in landscape mode.

If you watched the first video (shot with a smart phone), you'll notice a lot of these black spaces, as opposed to all the other movies I've made after it.

#Tip 2: Use what you have

There's no need to invest in expensive high-end equipment or software, especially when you're just starting out. You can shoot videos using your smart phone only, (like I did in the video above and below.). 

As for putting it all together, I make use of Windows movie maker which ships completely free with Windows OS. Like I said before, I'm no expert. Maybe in the future, I may try to learn more about movie making and best tools to use but for now, I'm satisfied with WMM.

#Tip 3: Shoot long videos and keep them

You'll have more to work with for your final edit when you take long (raw) videos. While taking these, don't worry about interruptions or a shaky footage and don't delete what you've got until you have that final movie you want.

In Windows movie maker (for example), you can split these videos and keep only the ones you're satisfied with. I always find amazing shots (well, by my standards) in videos I almost let go of.

#Tip 4: Keep your hands steady

To avoid a lot of shakiness in your movies, try to keep your hands steady when shooting. It is possible to have desirable results shooting completely handheld (like the video below). You will notice some shakiness in the resulting movie but it's not so bad that you can barely watch it.

One of the techniques I recently learnt, was this; pan with your body and not your hands. Lock your elbows to your sides and move your body with the camera or phone.

#Tip 5: Plan your video in advance

I put this one down here because I haven't really done this yet but it is good practice to have an idea of what you want your video to look or sound like. Do you want something slow or upbeat? Do you want commentary on it or not. How should each footage fit into the next?

At the same time, don't be too rigid with your plan. Leave room to be creative and spontaneous. If you see something interesting, take a video, even if you think it won't fit into the plan.

#Tip 6: Practice, practice, practice

As with everything else, practice makes perfect. The more videos you make, the better you get. Take tutorials on YouTube, make movies of anything that sparks your interest. Just have fun with it.

#Tip 7: Don't forget the essence of it all

I always make it a priority to enjoy the moment I'm in before & after whipping out my camera for a video or image. Not everything has to be caught on camera. There will be moments that don't make the cut in your movie but will be forever implanted in your heart - and that's really all that matters...

I hope these tips are enough to get you started :). Please leave a comment to let me know which ones you found most helpful or ask me any questions you might have. Would be delighted to answer them the amateur way!

12 days in 3 minutes: Safari & the Beach Movie

For our trip to Tanzania, my sister & I visited four national parks in 6 days and spent another 6 days in Zanzibar.

 Here's a short video of how that went. I hope you enjoy it :)

I also wrote a weekly diary about the trip, you can find that here: Week 1 and Week 2
Look out for upcoming posts that will focus on  travel itineraries, costs breakdown and guides for JJCs :)

If you'd love to know about anything in particular, you can leave a comment below letting me know, so I'll include that in upcoming posts and if you've enjoyed the video, don't forget to share!
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