Most Western countries have a rather liberal and casual attitude when it comes to clothing. Zanzibar dress code, as required by Islam on the other hand, is a more conservative minimum dress code for both men and women:

In Islam, both men and women are expected to dress simply, modestly, and with dignity. A man must always be covered in loose and unrevealing clothing from his navel to his knee. This is the absolute minimum covering required. He must never, for example, go out in public wearing a short bathing suit. When leaving the home, a Muslim woman must at least cover her hair and body in loose and unrevealing clothing, obscuring the details of her body from the public; some also choose to cover their face and hands.

Tourists visiting Zanzibar of course don’t have to adhere to these strict dress codes. With the vast majority of Zanzibar’s population being highly religious Muslims, it is however advisable, to avoid showing too much bare skin in public. This especially goes for women:

  • Avoid tops with open shoulders and/or deep cleavage
  • Keep your legs covered

Even for men it is advisable to wear trousers or shorts which at least cover their knees.

Showing this kind of respect to their Islamic traditions, you will be respected back by Zanzibar people.

Along beaches wearing bathing suits is generally accepted by the population.