My family has returned from visiting Northern Tanzania and we found this guide to be useful for the mainland safari but grossly misrepresentative of our experiences in the Stone Town, dolphin watching in Kizimkazi (using Fisherman Tours, as booked at Breezes Beach Club) and at Zanzibar International Airport.
We were expecting the Stone Town to be somewhat like Venice, with architecture from India, Persia and Arabia. It can best be described as hot, seedy and incredibly unhygienic (particularly the market). The narrow streets have motorcycles constantly trying to pass you and there are many power cables strewn overhead.
The water was extremely choppy when we went for our dolphin trip, the 'dhow' was an old wooden dinghy that had no sail and required bailing out from the time we left the shore and our guide 'sank like an anchor'. We saw about two dolphins, fleetingly. The 'beach lunch' turned out to be at a 'restaurant' near to where the boat left. From visiting the water closet and various other observations, we would not recommend eating there.
We were transferred from Breezes Beach Club to Zanzibar International Airport with about two and a half hours to spare before our flight to Nairobi was due to depart. We were forced to queue outside the building in the hot, equatorial midday sunshine. The atmosphere at the check-in terminals is best described as chaotic and unprofessional. Lots of staff were loitering but not helping the many people needing to check-in. Our tickets and passports were taken from us to a side office for booking and the English language skills of the staff were evidently very poor. I requested seats forward of the wings, due to the fact that I am a nervous flyer. Despite this, we were allocated seats 9A and 9C on the Zanzibar-Nairobi leg (that is, not together) and seats 40E and 40F on the Nairobi-London leg (that is, five rows from the back of the aircraft on the long haul flight). I asked for the seats to be changed, and the check-in assistant asked me if I had pre-booked the seats. This hadn't been possible, so I said no. Her reply was that it could be possible to change the seats at Nairobi airport (we queued for two hours at the transfer assistance desk at Nairobi airport and it turned out not to be possible). Next, we were charged 30 US dollars each for a departure tax from Zanzibar. As stated in the Booking Confirmation provided by our tour operator, `Advance Registration Airport Taxes' were already included in our holiday. Next, as we were passing through the security section, I was asked for money by a member of the security personnel. I responded loudly, feigning ignorance of the question. I was told it wasn't essential to pay (I didn't pay). Finally, on boarding the aircraft, we were told the seating was a free-for-all. As a nervous passenger, this was an extremely troubling experience for me. On the previous two Precision Air flights, the seating had not been a free-for-all.
To reiterate what I put at the beginning, the details for the safari were good but I prefer travel guides to be objective rather than, as it seems to me here, promoting the travel industry for a particular region at the expense of the truth (for example, the subject of how to complain effectively in Tanzania is absent from this guide). I have tried Bradt, Footprints, the Rough Guides and Lonely Planet and, I have to say, Lonely Planet seems to be the most helpful.