The beaches of Zanzibar

No visit to Zanzibar is complete without some time on the beach. The island has some of the most picturesque beaches imaginable and there are more than 25 beaches! Long stretches of palm fringed, white sands with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean make this, the perfect place to relax after a safari. The dilemma for those visiting Zanzibar is that they have to choose were to spend most of their time. Every coast on the Island has different charms! To help you with your choice, an overview:

 Parks & places

Safaris featuring this park


Nungwi beach is one of the major tourist destinations, it's small but it has no infuriating seaweed. It’s one of the few areas without coral reef, so you can swim at all tides and you don’t need to walk out for miles to reach the sea. The diving and snorkeling is excellent and the local villagers have built a turtle sanctuary where injured turtles and other marine animals are nursed before being released into the Indian Ocean.

  • Northwest Beaches: Nungwi, Kendwa, Mangapwani and Bububu (Fuji Beach).

  • Off shore Northwest: Tumbatu island, inhabited by the Watumbatu. They have a reputation for pride and do not to welcome visitors on their island.

Viewpoint: If you look for some privacy or for quieter beaches we advise Kendwa beach or the Eastern side of Nungwi village. Alternatively choose one of the Resorts or some well located Beach Hotel (see our selection).


An extensive coral reef runs down the whole east coast, protecting a long, idyllic white Sandy beach that runs for miles and is one of the Africa’s most beautiful beaches. One problem: the ocean is tidal and during some parts of the day it’s a long walk to reach the sea. Tide tables are published and available in all hotels.

It’s quieter here than at the north coast, with fewer bars and you will find peaceful beach cottages to choose from. The east coast is blessed by an almost constant cool breeze from the sea which keeps the temperature down and insures that there are almost no mosquitoes. This is the place to eat fresh fish and seafood.

  • Northeast Beaches: Matemwe, Pwani Mchangani, Kiwengwa, Pongwe, Urowa and Chakwa.

  • Off shore Northeast: Mnemba Atoll (annular coral reef surrounding a central lagoon) and Mnemba Island (private). This stunning coral atoll was recently declared a marine conservation area, offering a unique opportunity to both divers and snorkelers to experience the best of Zanzibar’s underwater world.

Viewpoint: The main reason for coming here is for the superb diving and snorkeling, to enjoy the quite and fantastic beaches and the pretty remote and rural atmosphere with local fishing villages! You have a vast choice of  all inclusive Resorts!


Most of the south retains a very local kind of feeling, where you share the beach with fishermen and women harvesting seaweed. The most important places are Dongwe, Jambiani and Paje. At Dongwe you will find a handful of large resorts that are often expensive. The most beautiful beach is at Paje.

The entire coast is protected by a coral reef, so the calm conditions inside the lagoon make it save for children. At low tide the ocean recedes for hundreds of metres.

A tour to Jozani Forest (Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey) or Jambiani (cultural tour) is never far away. And of course, don't forget Kizimkazi (dolphins) with the chance of spotting dolphins!

  • Southeast beaches: Dongwe, Bwejuu, Paje, Jambiani.


Viewpoint: For most tourists the South coast means only one thing: seeing the dolphins. It's very popular and probably irresistible. But the south has it all:  wide and sandy beaches, snorkeling, scuba diving, mangroves, a local kind of feeling  and a fair share of nice hotels and restaurants.


This coast offers Stone Town which needs to be discovered, the wealth of fish and other marine life and of course a beautiful beach. Most important in the southwest of Zanzibar is the area of Mbweni, Menai Bay and Fumba and Chumbe Island where snorkeling is superb. And don't forget Kizimkazi!

It’s on the western coast that you will enjoy the beautiful sunsets of Zanzibar! And if you are interested in a true nature walk then Chumbe Island is the right place for you. It's a unique travel destination on a private island which can be visited under the guidance of trained Park Rangers. You can leave from Mbweni for a full day-trip.

Menai Bay, near Fumba, known as a sea-turtle breeding area, has heaps of marine life and dense mangrove forests. Migratory whales visit the Bay from July to November every year. Dolphin and whale watching has become a popular eco- tourism industry in the Menai Bay.

Viewpoint: The southwest coast has certainly much to offer for nature-lovers and those who are looking for something more then just a beach holiday!

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