Zanzibar is an awe-inspiring island just off the coast of Tanzania. The island never fails to delight visitors with a sublime mix of natural attractions, exotic foods, and immaculate hotels. Although relatively small, it is here you can find a huge presence of contrasting experiences and endless attractions. Sublime seafood and luscious spice plantations to cultured Stone Town and a huge number of world class resorts.
And then there are the infamous beaches. Soft sands and turquoise blue water form a picture-perfect backdrop to this stunning paradise. Here are the best beaches on Zanzibar:
Sheltered by the peninsula in the very north of the island, Nungwi is one of the most popular beaches in Zanzibar. Also referred to as the “North Beaches”, Nungwi is one of two main resorts which attract many backpackers and group tours although you will find some resorts catering specifically to couples of families. This is a beautiful stretch of sand with the absolute perfect conditions for swimming which is the result of the tides in these parts.
However, it must be pointed out how Nungwi is not as quiet as the rest of the beaches in Zanzibar. The presence of “beach boys” who sell their crafts can feel a little tiresome.
Kendwa is the second of two north beaches in Zanzibar, and the tropical reefs here are perfect for snorkeling. Much larger than previously mentioned Nungwi, the beach is stunning with ample space to walk without distraction. What’s more, the “beach boys” are not allowed to trouble tourists on Kendwa Beach.
Best of all, you will find a large number of sunbeds and umbrellas on Kendwa which are available to hotel guests free of charge.
Kendwa may have a lot less in the way of restaurants or bars than Nungwi, but if your heart is set on the north beaches and you also want some alone time, this could be the perfect option for you. At the same time, if you ever do feel the need to spice things up and experience a bit more of an atmosphere, Nungwi is a 30-minute walk from Kendwa.
Tip: If you are looking for a quiet time on the beaches, just make sure the Kendwa Full Moon party does not coincide with your trip.
This quiet and flat lagoon of water is also located on the eastern shore where many of Zanzibar’s best beaches are located. However, the ideal conditions and general nature of Paje has made it a popular destination for kite surfing. If you think about it, this really does make a difference to some people. It can feel as though the local culture is being affected by tourism as seen on the horizon, where traditional dhow sailing boats are over shadowed by a host of enthusiastic surfers.
Such conditions can also mean it is not ideal for swimming but overall Paje is a beautiful beach which can also be quiet depending on the time of day. In this sense, you should not rule out a visit, and this should especially be the case if you find yourself staying somewhere nearby on this side of the island.
Another of the most popular beaches in Zanzibar is Matemwe on the very eastern shore of the island. Located next to a small and very unassuming village, the beach itself is a glorious stretch of white powdered sands which offer a nice view of neighboring Mnemba Island. Matemwe is also a lot quieter than most beaches in Zanzibar and there is little in terms of restaurants, bars and local facilities.
When the tide comes in during the late afternoon, this is one of the nicest spots in all of Zanzibar. The beach is ideally situated for some isolation. Also, Matemwe is the perfect departure point for taking a tour to Mnemba Atoll.
Zanzibar is a magical paradise with a full range of accommodation and attractions. However, the true splendor of this island can always be found next to the ocean. Exotic, tranquil and stunning; each of these idyllic beaches in Zanzibar will have a contrasting personality, but they are all equally as stunning.