Zanzibar stands as a haven for some of the most captivating beach getaways worldwide. Positioned off Tanzania’s coastline, this renowned ‘Spice Island’ thrives on tourism. Encompassing around 90 km in length and 40 km in width, Zanzibar comprises two primary islands, Unguja and Pemba Island. Its historic core, Stone Town, boasts a rich cultural heritage, tracing its origins back to the 19th century. UNESCO recognized this blend of Arabian, Indian, Persian, and European influences by declaring Zanzibar a World Heritage Site in 2000.
For a respite from urban life’s whirlwind or to cap off a remarkable safari adventure in Tanzania’s national parks, Zanzibar’s beaches emerge as the ultimate choice. Beyond the powdery sands and turquoise seas, the island shelters a tropical forest inhabited by rare Red colobus monkeys, servaline genets, and Zanzibar leopards. Whether it’s a personal retreat, a trip with friends, or a family getaway, the array of beach options accessible from Stone Town guarantees a unique experience. While your selection depends on your mood and vacation style, here are the top seven contenders:
Situated on the west coast, Nungwi Beach earned a spot in TripAdvisor’s top 25 global beaches. Its vibrant atmosphere is complemented by coral reefs perfect for diving, snorkeling, and swimming. Keep an eye out for dolphins, sharks, and green turtles during certain seasons. Nungwi’s numerous resorts, bars, and eateries, along with the option for a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow sailing boat, create an energetic backdrop. This lively ambiance makes Nungwi Beach a great option for solo travelers to absorb the island’s vibe and forge new connections.
Just ahead of Nungwi village lies Kendwa Beach, one of Zanzibar’s most popular spots. Known for its clear waters suitable for snorkeling, diving, and swimming, Kendwa stands out due to its consistent tides. Beach volleyball, soccer, and vibrant nightlife add to the beach’s allure. The sunsets here are accompanied by lively beach parties. Restaurants and bars offer delectable cuisines, while aquatic wonders like colorful starfish embellish the offshore.
A family-friendly haven, Kiwengwa Beach boasts major hotels with standard pools and amenities. Budget-friendly options like lodges and Airbnb rentals are also available. While swimming might not be feasible at all times due to tides, the beach provides pool facilities for relaxation and leisure.
As a serene escape from commercialized shores, Pongwe Beach offers tranquility and space. Ideal for privacy or romantic outings, Pongwe features fewer restaurants, so depending on hotel provisions for meals might be necessary. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts can relish the beauty just an hour’s drive away.
Paje Beach radiates a laid-back ambiance and abundant beach bars, offering a vibrant beach vacation. Kitesurfing is a highlight, especially from December to February. While low tides can hamper swimming, some hotels grant 24-hour pool access to offset this limitation.
Home to a quaint fishing village, Kizimkazi Beach is lowkey and authentic. Swimming and dolphin spotting are popular activities, along with exploring the historic Dimbani Mosque, one of East Africa’s oldest. Tides influence beach functionality.
Nestled in the south, Jambiani Beach features charming restaurants, lively bars, and a blend of locals and tourists. Zanzibari fishermen and seaweed farmers can be observed at work. While it offers good snorkeling, swimming during low tides can be challenging.
Zanzibar’s charm resides in its untouched beaches, which boast crystal-clear waters and an authentic local vibe. As a premier African tourist destination, it promises awe-inspiring panoramas, water-centric activities, and memorable experiences.