Duration: at least two weeks
Insider Tip: www.colorsofzanzibar.com
We loved mainland Tanzania, and the experiences surpassed our imagination. After our eventful time on the mainland, we were yearning for some lazy days in the sun. Zanzibar not only affords its visitors some of the best beaches in the Indian Ocean, but it’s also within comfortable and cheap reach of Tanzania’s mainland.
Discover Zanzibar’s best beaches
The beaches in Zanzibar are stunning. White palm trees seam white sandy beaches with perfectly turquoise water. Even though Zanzibar has been a popular tourist destination for quite some time, you’ll still find authentic, quiet villages and empty beaches.
- Windsurfing 70% 70%
- Relaxation 100% 100%
- Activities 80% 80%
- Pristine waters 100% 100%
The tides on Zanzibar can be strong and affect both swimming and sunbathing. The best time to swim is during high tide when the water is more shallow. The best time to sunbathe is during low tide when the water is further out and there is more space on the beach. Be sure to check the tide times before heading to the beach. Zanzibar’s beaches are beautiful, and with a bit of planning, you can make sure you have the perfect day.
Nungwi, a small village in the Northwest, is about 1 hour from Stone Town by car. We decided to go to Nungwi first because we felt like dry tomatoes after our time in the African savannah, and Nungwi is “swimmable” almost all day. Nungwi has quickly become a tourist hub and one of the most famous beaches on Zanzibar. Fortunately, we found a quiet, small, deserted bay right by our homestay. The local village center is super charming, unlike some rather touristy souvenir stands by the beach. Check out Highland Bar in Nungwi, a popular place in the village with relaxed vibes (and WIFI).
Community tourism in Nungwi
Our homestay experience in Nungwi, Zanzibar After our super pleasant homestay experiences in mainland Tanzania, we were eager to meet our Zanzibarian hosts. In Nungwi, we stayed with Jimmy, his lovely wife Fatima, their baby, and their nephew Abdula. Not only did we share meals, but the family welcomingly invited us to join their daily life. Jimmy took us to the village center, showed us where to buy the best groceries, and Fatima taught us about cooking. Bent over an open fire, we learned quite a lot about Zanzibar’s history, family life, and the famous spices. Staying with a local family also put us away from the main tourist attractions. Often we would have the beach almost to ourselves. Unfortunately. we learned that they are no longer operating.
Best places to stay in Nungwi
Michamvi Kae won our hearts. This part of the island is very chill, with relatively many Rastafarians. Michamvi Kae is a super picturesque village surrounded by beautiful beach stretches.
Some bars and restaurants at the beach have a relaxed Hakuna Matata vibe. Our favorite beach on Zanzibar We couldn’t swim during low tide because the sea withdraws quite a lot. But we used the low tide to walk for miles. Despite some fishermen, nobody crossed our path. There are some lush green mangroves right by the water. Michamvi is the place to unwind and let go. Our peaceful bungalow and Yousuf’s gentle spirit made our stay in Michamvi special. Of course, we spent our days following our inner desires, but we mainly used the time there to reflect and calm down.
Best places to stay in Michamvi
Paje Beach, Zanzibar
Paje beach is one of Zanzibar’s best beaches. It’s located on the East coast. It is a beautiful beach that has become much more popular recently. The water is crystal clear, and plenty of palm trees provide shade. The breeze makes it a mecca for kitesurfers and water sports enthusiasts. Paje is also a great place to try out Zanzibar’s famous seafood dishes. So if you’re looking for a good vibe and a stunning beach, Paje beach is the perfect spot.
Best places to stay in Paje
Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar
Jambiani Beach is located on the Southeast coast of Zanzibar. It’s a beautiful sandy beach with turquoise water and plenty of coral reefs to explore. Jambiani is a great place to snorkel, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy. If you’re looking for a beach with a little more activity, Jambiani is the perfect spot.
The “Jambiani Village Women at work and play” gives you the opportunity to get to know Jambiani from a woman’s perspective. A great way to learn about the culture and make connections especially when travelling by yourself.
Best places to stay in Jambiani
Kendwa Beach, Zanzibar
Kendwa Beach is located on the Northwest coast of Zanzibar. It’s a beautiful sandy beach with turquoise water and plenty of coral reefs to explore. Kendwa is a great place to snorkel, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy. We visited Kendwa village and loved it here! Despite the more prominent hotels, you’ll find some charming smaller Boutique Hotels there too. Some of them take part in responsible waste management efforts. Zuri Zanzibar for example worked with Zanrec and Ozeankind to set up a local recycling station.
Best places to stay in Kendwa
Practical travel tips for Zanzibar’s beaches
When is the best time to visit the beaches on Zanzibar?
We visited Zanzibar in October and November, which is the shoulder season. It's the perfect time to visit Zanzibar's beaches as you most likely will have them to yourself. The rainy season on Zanzibar lasts from March to May. Expect some rain in November and December, too
How to get to Zanzibar's beaches?
It's effortless to travel the island by daladla. You should give it a try! Daladalas are the cheapest way to cross the island. Since Zanzibar is not too big, it doesn't take too long to get around.
How do the tides affect beaches?
Most of Zanzibar is profoundly affected by the tides. Some beaches become unswimmable. Make sure you check the tide calendar. Swimming is only possible at high tide. Kendwa and Nungwi, the most touristic spots, form the exception. Check out the tide calendar beforehand.
Where to get money?
Load up on cash before heading to Zanzibar's beaches. Unfortunately, ATMs are hard to find.
Is Zanzibar safe for travelers?
We felt safe at all times. Obviosuly you will have some beach boys approaching you, but a friendly and firm no thank you goes a long way.
Can I drink tap water on Zanzibar?
You can not drink tap water in Zanzibar without risking becoming sick. Bring your water filter or self-cleaning bottle and enjoy cool drinks while avoiding plastic pollution.
What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?
Trash: Often, you'll find food vendors selling typical Nicaraguan dishes on the go. It's not just delicious but cheap. To avoid plastic wrapping, choose to buy your food at the bus stations and have them put it in your collapsible container. Bring your self-cleaning bottle to avoid having to buy bottled
Sunscreen: Protect marine life and use reef-friendly sunscreen.
Packing List Tanzania
Tanzania is one of the most diverse and beautiful countries in the world. You can explore bustling cities, go on safari to see some of the most incredible wildlife on earth or relax on some of the best beaches in Africa.
Check out our packing list to prepare for all Tanzania has to offer. You’ll find anything from clothing to travel gadgets and eco-friendly toiletries.
Places to visit in Tanzania
With its diverse cultures, beautiful nature and rich history Tanzania is a country not to be forgotten.
Are you planning a safari in Tanzania? Tanzania’s Northern Circuit is a great place to start. This region offers several stunning national parks, including Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, and the famous Serengeti. Tour operators provide many possibilities, ranging from budget camping safaris to luxury lodging safaris.
Arusha, Tanzania, is a city in the middle of two worlds. This creates an exciting mix of people and cultures that make Arusha is unique. Arusha itself is a dusty, charming mid-sized African city.
Tanzania’s former capital, often referred to as “Dar,” is not only Tanzania’s second largest city but one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Located along the coast of the Indian Ocean, Dar es Salaam is brimming with activities for anyone.