Filming on Zanzibar Island

The Location

Zanzibar, an archipelago located off the eastern coast of Tanzania in East Africa, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and historical significance.

Comprising several islands, including the main ones, Unguja and Pemba, Zanzibar offers pristine white-sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, and thriving coral reefs, making it an idyllic destination for beach enthusiasts, snorkelers, and divers.

The capital city, Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a testament to Zanzibar’s diverse history, characterized by its narrow winding streets, historic structures, and vibrant markets. Zanzibar’s cultural tapestry is woven with influences from Arabic, Persian, Indian, and European traditions, creating a unique and harmonious blend of languages, cuisines, and customs.

Beyond its picturesque landscapes, Zanzibar is known for its spice plantations, where visitors can engage in immersive tours, exploring the cultivation and history of spices like cloves, vanilla, and cinnamon. Additionally, the archipelago has played a pivotal role in the historical narrative of the slave trade, evidenced by significant heritage sites that reflect this somber past.

Zanzibar’s warm and hospitable local population offers visitors an opportunity to experience the authentic Swahili way of life, further enhancing the island’s appeal. The cuisine of Zanzibar is a delightful fusion of flavors, incorporating spices, seafood, coconut, and tropical fruits, providing a culinary journey for gastronomy enthusiasts.

Filming Permits

To film in this picturesque archipelago, filmmakers must adhere to strict regulations set by the Zanzibar Government’s Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture, and Sports. The application process    involves thorough documentation and collaboration with a local fixer.

Here is a summarized version of the process:

#Filming Permit 

Filmmakers are required to obtain a Filming Permit issued by the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture, and Sports in Zanzibar. This permit is essential for legal filming activities in the region. Filmmakers must submit a set of documents through their local fixer, including:

  • Film Permit Application: This formal application outlines the details of the proposed filming project.
  • Cover Letter: A letter explaining the purpose and nature of the filming project.
  • Program Treatment: A detailed outline or treatment of the planned filming program.
  • Crew List: A comprehensive list of all crew members involved in the project.
  • Passport Copies: Copies of the passports of all crew members working on the project.

#Drone Permit

If filmmakers plan to use drones for aerial shots, a separate permit is necessary. To obtain a drone permit, the following documents are required:

  • Drone Application Letter: A formal letter requesting permission for drone usage, stating the purpose and details of drone filming.
  • TCAA Application: An application submitted to the relevant aviation authority, such as the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), specifying drone usage details.
  • Drone Specifications: Detailed specifications of the drone to be used for filming.
  • Liability Insurance: Proof of liability insurance covering potential damages related to drone usage.

It’s crucial for filmmakers to work closely with a local fixer who is well-versed in the application process and local regulations. By following these steps and submitting the necessary documents, filmmakers can ensure legal and smooth filming operations in Zanzibar, respecting the local laws and regulations governing the film industry in the region.


It’s important for all film crew members planning to film in Zanzibar to obtain work visas to comply with the country’s immigration regulations. These visas can be obtained on arrival. However, it’s advisable for filmmakers to confirm the latest visa policies with the Tanzanian immigration authorities or the nearest Tanzanian embassy or consulate.

#Customs Clearance

Zanzibar is not part of the ATA Carnet system, which simplifies customs procedures for the temporary importation of equipment, filmmakers bringing in equipment need to follow specific customs clearance procedures.

In this case, custom clearance for imported equipment must be coordinated through the Ministry of Information in collaboration with a local fixer.

The local fixer plays a vital role in facilitating the customs clearance process, ensuring that all necessary documentation is complete and accurate. This may include providing detailed equipment lists, invoices, and other relevant paperwork to the Ministry of Information.

Working closely with the local fixer helps filmmakers navigate the complexities of customs regulations, ensuring that the equipment is cleared for use during the filming period.

 Contact us

 If you require any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out. We would be delighted to provide you with the contact information of our trusted local fixer, who can offer invaluable support tailored to your specific filming needs.