Zanzibar’s beaches are the main lure of this African island paradise, whether you’re travelling from Tanzania to Zanzibar for some post-safari leisure, a calm beach holiday, or a romantic East Africa honeymoon. However, with so many miles of white sand to pick from, how can you decide which beach is best for your Zanzibar vacation?
1. Nungwi Beach: Best Known for being a Lively Beach
Nungwi Beach, on Zanzibar’s northwest coast, is one of the island’s most beautiful and popular beaches, recently making TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards 2018 list of the Top 25 Beaches in the World. Nungwi is undoubtedly one of the island’s liveliest districts, with a diverse range of nighttime entertainment provided by several beach resorts, hotels, restaurants, and pubs.
This beach, though, isn’t only for partygoers. The coral reefs off the coast of Nungwi are wonderful for diving and snorkelling, and you might even spot dolphins, green turtles, and whale sharks during certain times of the year. Nungwi Beach, which faces west, features some of Zanzibar’s spectacular sunsets, and a sunset tour on a traditional dhow sailing boat is a must.
2. Kendwa Beach: Best Known for: Sunsets & Swimming
This best Zanzibar beach is ideal for swimming, snorkelling, and diving. This is one of the few beaches on Zanzibar where the tide does not significantly fluctuate. This Zanzibar beach is also home to colourful starfish, which may be spotted just offshore (but be sure not to pick up these creatures or disturb them in their natural habitat).
The sunsets at Kendwa Beach are legendary, so be on the beach as soon as the sun begins to drop. The beach comes alive in a new way once the sun sets below the horizon, with nightlife and calm beach parties.
3. Paje Beach: Best Known for Kitesurfing & Diving
Paje Beach, on the southeast coast, features everything a beautiful Zanzibar beach should have: huge expanses of white sand, palm trees swinging in the breeze, blue waters, and spectacular sunsets. Paje Beach in Zanzibar is well-known for its water activities, and the superb kitesurfing conditions attract amateur and professional kitesurfers from all over the world to this part of the island. In addition, the clear, warm seas are ideal for scuba diving, with turtles, starfish, trumpet fish, moray eels, and other colourful marine species inhabiting the offshore reefs.
4. Bwejuu Beach: Best Known for Relaxation
Bwejuu is undoubtedly one of Zanzibar’s best beaches. This palm-lined white sand beach on the island’s southeast shore is about an hour and a half away from Stone Town. It’s one of Zanzibar’s quietest areas, and a favourite choice for individuals looking for complete relaxation, tranquillity, and seclusion.
A mangrove forest and dhow boat cruise, a visit to the local town of Bwejuu, a reef safari, snorkelling and diving, a visit to Stone Town, or a day trip to the Jozani Forest, which is home to the Red Colobus Monkey, are just a few of the activities and excursions available in the area.
5. Kizimkazi Beach: Best Known for Dolphin Safaris
On Zanzibar’s south coast, this little fishing community is made up of two settlements: Kizimkazi Dimbani to the north and Kizimkazi Mkunguni to the south. The coastline here is significantly different from the east coast’s typical palm-backed lagoon. Dolphin safaris are popular in the village of Kizimkazi. If you’re visiting Kizimkazi, though, keep in mind that boat cruises that offer the chance to swim with dolphins are not recommended. Rather stick with guides that offer swimming with dolphins responsibly.
6. Michamvi Beach: Best Known for a Remote Coral Lagoon
Michamvi is a peninsula on the island’s central east coast. Michamvi feels remote and offers extensive areas of uninhabited beaches to explore, despite the presence of two huge beach resorts in the region. Michamvi Pingwe and Michamvi Kae are the two portions of the peninsula. Michamvi Pingwe sits on the eastern side, with a vivid coral lagoon and magnificent palm-fringed beaches nestled between steep coral-rag cliffs. Michamvi Kae, on the western side, faces west towards Chwaka Bay.
7. Matemwe Beach: Best known for Local Culture & Diving
The long, picturesque Zanzibar beach at Matemwe (Zanzibar’s longest beach) has some of the best sand on the island, and traditional fishing cottages can be found among the palm trees at the back of the beach, providing a fascinating glimpse into the local culture. The world-famous Island of Mnemba Atoll is located two kilometres offshore, just beyond the main reef, and is surrounded by pristine and easily accessible coral reefs. Matemwe Beach features some of the best diving and snorkelling on the island, as well as great kitesurfing and sailing.