When planning your vacation in Zanzibar, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is where to stay. Zanzibar offers a variety of beach destinations, each with its unique charm. We’ll provide insights into different parts of Zanzibar to help you decide where to stay.
Zanzibar Northern West Beaches
The northwest part of Zanzibar consists of the popular beaches Nungwi and Kendwa. These beaches are adjacent to each other, making it easy to explore both.
Nungwi Beach: Nungwi, located at the northernmost tip of Zanzibar, is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It’s renowned for its stunning sunsets, a picturesque blend of traditional fishing scenes and modern resorts, and an abundance of water activities. The party-like atmosphere and bars make Nungwi the most active beach on the island.
- Diverse water activities
- A vibrant social scene for solo travelers
- A party atmosphere with beach bars
- A turtle sanctuary
- Favorable tidal patterns for swimming
However, some travelers may find Nungwi a bit crowded and occasionally get approached by local vendors.
Kendwa Beach: Kendwa Beach, located just south of Nungwi, shares many similarities with its neighbor, including stunning sunsets and water activities. Kendwa Rocks Beach hosts a popular full moon party every month.
Activities in Nungwi & Kendwa: Both beaches offer similar activities, including snorkeling at Mnemba Atoll, visits to the turtle sanctuary, scuba diving, water sports, sunset dhow cruises, buggy tours, and more.
Zanzibar Eastern Beaches
The east coast of Zanzibar is characterized by lower tides compared to the north and west, making it less favorable for swimming. The beaches in this region, including Paje, Jambiani, Matemwe, Kiwengwa, Pwani Mchangani, Uroa, and Pongwe, are quieter and less crowded.
Why the East Coast:
- Fewer tourists, providing a more peaceful atmosphere
- Less harassment from beach vendors
- Budget-friendly accommodation options
Specific East Coast Beaches:
- Matemwe Beach: The longest beach in Zanzibar, it can have tidal variations, but it’s gaining popularity.
- Pongwe Beach: Not tidal, making it ideal for swimming, with a more private atmosphere and budget-friendly options.
- Kiwengwa Beach: Suitable for families with various accommodation choices.
- Paje & Dongwe Beach: Known for water sports, including kitesurfing, with accommodation options in the mid-east coast.
- Michamvi Beach: Offers remote and serene beaches with two distinct areas.
- Bwejuu Beach: One of the quietest and top beaches for relaxation, also offering various activities.
Zanzibar Western Beaches & Stone Town
The west coast, including Stone Town, is more famous for its historical significance and is still a major trading hub. The beaches here are busier due to their proximity to the town.
Stone Town: Stone Town is the historical heart of Zanzibar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a blend of African, Arabic, and colonial influences, offering a unique atmosphere for exploration.
Zanzibar Southern Beaches
The south side of Zanzibar, including Kizimkazi and Mtende beaches, is known for its small fishing villages. It’s an authentic and less-visited area, ideal for dolphin tours and boat cruises.
Tanzania Exclusive & Private Islands
If you’re seeking privacy and exclusivity, consider private islands in the region:
- Mnemba Island: A privately owned island with pristine coral reefs.
- Chumbe Island Coral Park: Offers eco-bungalows and reef exploration.
- Chapwani Island: Known for privacy and luxury.
- Fanjove Island: Offers remote paradise at a more affordable price.
- Thanda Island: An exclusive private island with a luxurious villa.
Each of these destinations in Zanzibar offers a unique experience, so choose the one that aligns with your preferences and priorities for your vacation. Enjoy your Zanzibar adventure!