Dining at The Rock Zanzibar: Everything You Need to Know

Dining at The Rock Zanzibar - Essential Info

Dining at The Rock is a wonderful experience and one of the best things to do in Zanzibar

The Rock, Zanzibar is one of the most iconic restaurants in the world and I visited for the first time in 2014. I’ve eaten there about 6 or 7 times since and it’s always a favourite day on the Rock My Adventure Tanzania trips

So with that in mind, I wanted to share a few tips with you to make sure you make the most of your visit to The Rock!

Dining at The Rock Zanzibar: Everything You Need to Know

The Rock Zanzibar

Book a Table

The Rock is a popular restaurant, so make sure that you book a table, especially if there is a big group of you.

They usually don’t allow you to just go for a drink and the restaurant is reserved for diners only. They do have an outdoor terrace, but it’s just for diners. 

They have sittings 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm – you get a 2-hour slot. 

Tanzania Group Tour - The Rock Zanzibar

Check the Tide Times

This is an important one.

Everyone wants the amazing picture of them with the gorgeous turquoise blue water behind them (as above). But what most people don’t realise, is that it doesn’t always look like that.

The tides on the east coast of Zanzibar are pretty dramatic, so don’t be surprised if the tide is out when you are there. When the tide is out, it looks like the picture below. Still cool, but a lot less picture perfect! I learned this the hard way the first time I went and was really disappointed.

Saying that when the tide is out it can create a wonderful mirror effect in the shallow water and you’ll often see the local women gathering seaweed.

If you want to guarantee the turquoise blue photos a) avoid the rainy seasons and b) check the Zanzibar tides and time your visit with high tide (or thereabouts) if you can.

The Rock Zanzibar When the Tide is Out

You May Need to Take a Boat To/From the Restaurant

If the tide is in when you arrive or leave, you will need to take a boat. This is pretty fun as you watch the boatmen dealing with the tides. Plus, it’s literally just a few minutes.

If the tide is out, you can easily walk it. Just be careful not to slip on the rocks.

The Rock Zanzibar

Go For the Experience, Not the Food

The food at The Rock is really good, but… it’s not the best food you’ll get in Zanzibar. 

If you’re looking for a full-on culinary experience, I recommend the Emerson Spice Tea House or Emerson on Hurumzi. But if you’re looking for nice food, a super cool location, and perfect photo ops, then The Rock is the place to go.

Zanzibar Travel Guide

Dress Up

Whilst it’s not super formal, it’s nice to dress up a bit for The Rock. I always like to wear something bright and colourful to contrast with the sea!

But remember you’ll need to take your shoes off to walk to the restaurant, unless you wear water sandals.

The Rock Zanzibar at Low Tide

They Take Cash & Card

The nearest ATM to the Rock is in the village of Paje, a popular holiday destination around 20 minutes along the coast. Thankfully, they also take debit & credit cards. 

Sunset Zanzibar

Remember That the Sun Sets Early in Zanzibar

Remember sunset is early around 6 – 6.30, so you need to be there earlier if you want to see it in daylight. The last dining session is at 6pm, so it will be dark by the time you leave and as it’s on the east coast, you won’t be able to see the sunset either way. 

The Rock Zanzibar

Things To Do Pre/Post Your Visit to The Rock

The Rock is located in Michanvi Pingwe. If you want to make the most of your visit, you could spend some time at adjacent Upendo, a cool hotel/bar on the beach which has great views of The Rock. Or if it’s getting towards sunset, head over to the other side of the peninsular to Kae Funk, where you’ll be able to watch the sunset.

Enjoy your visit to The Rock! Let me know how you get on in the comments below!

Read More About Zanzibar & Tanzania…

Zanzibar Travel Guide
Tanzania Travel Guide

Tanzania Group Tours

Tanzania & Zanzibar Tours
Kenya & Tanzania Tours

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  1. The Rock seems like I place I NEED to dine in! That plate of lobster looks delicious. I’ll definitely be going going there during my next visit to Zanzibar!

  2. Wow, amazing photos! I really need to organise a visit to Tanzania and Zanzibar! There’s just sooo many places to see and so little time…

    1. Nadia!!!!!!!!! I haven’t heard from you in ages! I went back with Absolute Africa again, although I’d left them by this point!

      Yes, definitely too little time!

      How you doing?

    1. Hi Naila,

      Thank you! Zanzibar is wonderful! The diving is meant to be amazing! Everyone raves about the Mnemba Atoll!

      Hope you go soon!


  3. I’m heading to Zanzibar next week and I really want to visit The Rock. I’m just scared that the price won’t be worth the food. Do you think it is really worth it?

    1. Hey Zaairah,

      The food isn’t really the reason to go to The Rock – in my opinion. The food is nice, but I’ve had better food many times, and I’ve had better food elsewhere in Africa. It’s more the entire experience really! It is expensive, when you add up taxis and then the food/drink, but I don’t regret going.

      Hope that helps!


  4. Hi Helen

    Quick question: can you get a share taxi directly from the ferry terminal in Zanzibar Town to Paje and if so how easy is it? Would one have to wait until other passengers heading your direction come by or does it work differently. I’d appreciate your feedback.

    1. Hi, I think you can, however you may need to just ask around when you get there. There are lots of drivers hanging around, or I would maybe ask at one of the nearby hotels!

  5. Pelican Bar JAMAICA for food in an exotic location!! I enjoy your blogs Helen. I look forward to travelling through Africa the way you have. When are you going to feature the Jamaica(my homeland :)/Caribbean in your blogs?

    1. I love the Caribbean!! I have never been to Jamaica, but I’ve been to Cuba, Dominican Republic, Tobago and Barbados – all before I was blogging though!! One day I will come back to the beautiful Caribbean!!! 🙂

  6. Hey Helen, a few friends and I are going to Zanzibar in a couple weeks and we were thinking of going to The Rock either for lunch or dinner. I’ve tried to look online for both the prices of the menu and a contact to try and book it. Can you give me an idea of how much is costs and how I can get in touch with them for booking? I would really appreciate it!! Thank you so much, Catarina 🙂

  7. Hi Helen, this sounds fantastic ! We are going to Zanzibar for our honeymoon this year in October, and we’re gonna stay in Jambiani for most of the time.
    Just one question, if you can answer this, I can’t find any prices for the rock restaurant. We’d love to put it on our honeymoon registry for the wedding so if you can give us a rough idea that would be fantastic!
    Thanks so much for all your blogs they really help us planning our trip.
    Love reading it. Cheers, Selina

  8. Wonder full Photos And Best Island For Adventure.
    Reason of why trees , flowers and animals are full of joy is because they are not busy comparing themselves with others.

  9. Hi!

    Thank you for this post! We have reservations at 4pm (high tide), and I wonder if we will get those stunning blues in our photo? Or is it too late in the afternoon? (We are going early August)

    1. Hello! If it’s high tide you should get those views. The sun will be a little lower so it may look slightly different but will be beautiful!

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