March 19, 2024
2 Min. Read


Ramadan is a deeply festive and contemplative season for Muslims. But don’t be shy: Visitors are welcome in Zanzibar during the holiest month of the Muslim Calendar.

When is Ramadan?

This year, Ramadan (also written Ramadhan) is likely to begin on Monday, 11 March, with the sighting of the new moon. Every year Ramadan moves back 10-12 days, allowing it to fall into different seasons. It’s not easy to fast during the hottest season and demands a lot of self-control and discipline. But exactly that - voluntary self-restraint - is at the core of Ramadan. Followers abstain from any food and drinks, including water, from sunrise to sunset. In Zanzibar that is about a 12-hour fast. The end of Ramadan (likely on 11 or 12 April) is again determined by the sighting of the crescent moon and is followed by the celebration of Eid Al Fitr. Lots of presents and new dresses and clothes are bought by families – it’s a time to meet and celebrate. 

How is life during Ramadan?

Zanzibar prides itself of being a cosmopolitan island where different cultures and religions have lived side-by-side for centuries. Visitors are often warmly invited to take part in fast-breaking evening iftars and other rituals. There is an overall change in atmosphere. Worship, service, communal gathering, and spiritual development come into focus. Business is expected to slow down, but people still go to work. 

Tell me more about fast-breakingIftar buffets are a common tradition – start it with some dates and black coffee! Some hotels and restaurants in Zanzibar pull out all the stops for the fast-breaking meal, with opulent local traditional and Arabesque menus. Or just wander around Stone Town and Forodhani gardens around 8 pm and explore. Enjoy Ramadan! Ramadan Kareem!

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