Zanzibar Beach

The Swahili coast is little explored although holds some fine beach getaways laced with a crumbling history that stretches back to the days of the Sultans.

Though most visitors spend a night or two in Zanzibar's Stone Town it is the beaches, snorkeling and diving that attract people to Zanzibar's shores, and with an ever increasing tourist trade it is remarkable that the island has kept its African charm.

Zanzibar is the world’s most famous paradise Islands. Ninety percent of Tanzania’s beach accommodation is found here, just a twenty minute flight east of Dar es Salaam, a forty minute flight from Selous.

Zanzibar is blessed with miles and miles of white sand beach, protected by the coral reef that rings the majority of the island. There are secluded coves; working beaches where the dhow fisherman leave their boats; private stretches of untouched sand and, equally, stretches of sand with sun-beds as far as the eye can see. It is an island with something for everyone.

Zanzibar is much larger than one might expect; driving from top to bottom takes about two hours. Stone Town and the airport are found on the Western edge, with a transfer from any beach lodge taking about an hour. The island's best beaches are found on Zanzibar's Eastern and Northern coastline with miles and miles of seemingly endless beaches, and a wealth of accommodation choice. Western Zanzibar (where Stone Town is located) and Southern Zanzibar have poor beaches.

The Northern coast is called Nungwi, appropriately named after Nungwi village. This is arguably Zanzibar’s best stretch of beach and if you choose the lodge correctly, one of the more quiet areas.

South west of Nungwi is Kendwa, known for its pristine beach but also for being a backpackers haven and very busy. if you are on a real budget then this is the place. It also boasts a few parties, beach stalls and a buzzing local atmosphere.

The north-eastern coast is called Matemwe. The beaches here are really not very good at all, but this does deter people and therefore you actually get a relatively remote stay with amazing views of Mnemba island.

Even further east of Matemwe is Kiwengwa and Pongwe. These areas have great beaches, but also a few large hotels that don’t really offer much charm. Unlike most other areas of Zanzibar, there isn’t any real focus or central point to head to here, such as a village. Bweju and Dongwe are home to some of the best beaches on the island and a very long stretch of pristine beach. Although there are a few big properties here, they are very good and this area is well worth staying in.

On the far southern coast is Kizimkazi. The beaches here are mainly coral rock but the dving and snorkeling around these area are incredible, especially at Unguja.