ZAnzibar’s most popular beaches can be found in the northern half of the island. Here is also a wide selection of hotels as well as restaurants and a few small beach bars that complete relaxing days on the beach.
If you go down the east coast, the beaches are much more peaceful and the distance between the hotels is greater. Our hotel was located on Kiwengwa Beach (see hammock photo above), and we enjoyed being able to hike up and down the beach, often without meeting other tourists. However, if you enjoy swimming in the sea, stick to the northern part, as the east coast is affected by the tide, which recedes and makes bathing difficult at certain times of the day due to petrified corals.
If you prefer smaller and more secluded beaches, hire a local boat to sail to one of the surrounding islands. Here it is possible to feel like Robinson Crusoe for a day and relax in your own little paradise.
ZANZIBAR’S 4 BEST BEACHES
1. KENDWA BEACH
A few kilometers south of the fishing town and party beach Nungwi is the tourist paradise of Kendwa Beach. A wide and dazzling white beach with rustic sunbeds under straw-covered parasols, hammocks between swaying palm trees and small beach bars with lounge music and cold drinks. Along the coast are luxurious resorts, small hotels, charming bungalows and various restaurants. Although Kendwa is no longer an unknown beach, it is still serene and with good reason a popular place to enjoy Zanzibar ‘s exotic setting.
2. PONGWE BEACH
The crescent-shaped Pongwe Beach is often mentioned as the closest you can get to a tropical paradise. With its palm-clad coastline, dense greenery and few tourists, the beach is ideal for a romantic getaway . In addition, the bay means that Pongwe has less seaweed than the rest of the east coast and is thus enriched with Zanzibar ‘s most crystal clear water.
3. MATEMWE BEACH
Matemwe Beach is far from as visited by tourists as the neighboring beach of Kiwengwa, and is ideal for twosomes and strolls along the breathtaking coastline. The beach is known for both being the longest on the island and for having the finest, softest sand. In the small nearby village you can meet the locals who subsist on the island’s more traditional occupations, fishing and seaweed farming.
4. CHUMBE ISLAND
A few kilometers from the southwest coast of Zanzibar you will find the protected reserve Chumbe Island Coral Park , which can be easily reached on a day trip by boat from Stone Town. The small island is surrounded by one of East Africa’s most diverse coral reefs with over 200 corals and 350 different fish species that attract flocks of dolphins and turtles. Inland you will find pristine sandy beaches – and when the tide is low, you can wander all the way around the island, which is also home to 60 different bird species and the protected palm thief: the world’s largest terrestrial crab, which can weigh up to 4 kilos. If you want to linger on the island, you can book some of the unique and artistic eco-bungalows . It is definitely an option that we will consider ourselves next time we visit Zanzibar .