Zanzibar is a gorgeous island in Tanzania known for its pristine beaches. The popularity is growing rapidly due to Zanzibar being rated the best holiday destination in Africa.
There is so much culture and adventure located all over the island. Relaxing on a beach is one of the top activities to do here, so it is important that you pick the best one!
Take advantage of the majestic Indian Ocean backdrop as you let your worries melt away. Then, get your passport ready. The following 19 beaches of Zanzibar are waiting for you.
What to Know Before You Go! (Tidal Changes)
Zanzibar is surrounded by the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Which is relatively warm and ideal for swimming. The waves tend to be on the smaller side, a perfect size for floating around in the ocean.
It is important to check tide levels before heading to the beach. The North End of Zanzibar has less tidal change than the south. This means that the beaches are better in this area. When the beaches of Zanzibar are at low tide, there is not as much water. Instead, there is more sand.
Going to the ocean at high tide means more water, waves, and swimming opportunities. You can use tide-forecast to check the timing of these tidal changes.
1) Nungwi Beach
The most famous beach on Zanzibar island is Nungwi Beach. This beach town is located on the northwestern tip, and it is recommended to explore the nightlife in Zanzibar. The town is filled with bars, restaurants, and activities.
Try local cuisine at the roundabout, an asphalt road that turns into a small town. Here locals serve food and talk to visitors about their culture and food. Nungwi is great for all ages, but it does attract a crowd of younger travelers.
What to do near Nungwi Beach?
Deep-Sea Fishing in this area is highly recommended. Take a tour with Zanzibar Star. A half-day fishing boat charter with a guide. They will bring you throughout the island to prime fishing hot spots. These beautiful beaches in the northern area are known as the best ones to avoid the lower tides.
Where to stay near Nungwi Beach?
Stay at the very popular Sandies Baobab Beach in Nungwi. This property has pools and an onsite spa. A relaxing place to enjoy after a full day exploring the town.
2) Bwejuu Beach
Located in the southeastern corner of Zanzibar is Bwejuu Beach, which is twelve miles long. Bwejuu is a Seaweed fishing village, where you can watch fishermen returning from sailing their wooden dhow boats. Once returned, women and children both help scoop the seaweed. A cultural learning experience to watch when relaxing on the beach.
What to do near Bwejuu Beach?
You can swim at high tide here since it has good swimming conditions. You are not allowed to swim at low tide, but you can view the colorful coral reefs. This activity is called “taking a reef safari” while you walk along the coastline.
Where to stay near Bwejuu Beach?
Breathe in the salty sea air at Evergreen Bungalows. A small and relaxed family ran beach hotel. You can choose your accommodation from your own private bungalow or a room on the property.
3) Michamvi Beach
A beach located on a peninsula bordered by both the Indian Ocean and Chwaka Bay is Michamvi Beach. Located in southeast Zanzibar, this is a small fisherman village of Michamvi known for its remoteness. A unique and quiet place for visitors to check out and fully relax.
What to do near Michamvi Beach?
Get a massage! Relax on one of the best beaches of Zanzibar while getting a top-rated massage by Myriam Massage Pingwe.
Where to stay near Michamvi Beach?
Spend your night at Isaraya Luxury Overwater Villas. This gem is located over the water on Konokono Beach Resort’s jetty. This resort is all-inclusive and provides you your own personal butler. Each villa has its own secluded terrace, sundeck, and infinity pool. A private option for all luxurious travelers.
4) Kendwa Beach
Calling all Sunset Seekers! Kendwa Beach, located far north of the island, is known for its stunning sunsets. Lounging out is the number one hobby in this area. Relax in a beach hammock while breathing in the ocean breeze.
What To Do near Kendwa Beach?
Go to a beach bar and watch the colors of the sky cascade over the Indian Ocean. Try local cocktails, such as Konyagi, a gin made special in Tanzania. Afterward, listen to live African and Reggae music. Depending on the day, Kendwa Rocks Beach Resort has beach bonfires for you to relax at. A unique experience you can only get on the beaches of Zanzibar.
Where To Stay near Kendwa Beach?
Kendwa Rocks Beach Resort is a highly rated accommodation option. This stunning resort provides delicious dining options and nightlife activities. Their Full Moon Parties have been happening since 1996. A once a month event that has fire eaters, acrobats, and dance music. A once in a lifetime opportunity.
5) Kizimkazi Beach
A charming fishing village located on the southern coast of Zanzibar is Kizimkazi Beach. It was once a walled city, but today, it has become a major tourist area. As a result, dolphins are frequently spotted in the waters of Kizimkazi Beach.
What To Do near Kizimkazi Beach?
Go dolphin watching! Daily boat tours are offered through Zanzibar Dolphin Tours. They bring you up close and personal with these fascinating mammals. Kizimkazi is rated one of the best areas in the whole world to swim with dolphins.
Where To Stay near Kizimkazi Beach?
Mama Root is a paradise located on the beach in Kizimkazi. Their rooms range from oceanfront and garden views. They also offer dining on property.
6) Matemwe Beach
The longest beach in Zanzibar is the stunning Matemwe Beach. This gem is located on the north-eastern part of Unguja Island in Zanzibar. Their village is part of an education production that provides computer literacy programs to residents. You can learn more about this project by talking with the villagers.
What to do near Matemwe Beach?
Visit the Village and chat with the locals! The educational program is intended to create job opportunities for Zanzibari women. Their goal is to involve them in the process of creating handmade cosmetics and food products. Such as jam, mustard, and sweets. Support their case by buying some local products throughout the village.
Where to stay near Matemwe Beach?
Kena Beach Hotel is a family-friendly hotel that provides numerous activities. Check out their dive center or game rooms.
7) Pongwe Beach
If you are looking for calm and serene water, then head to Pongwe Beach. Located on the southern end of the island. This spot is not luxurious, so know that most of the accommodations do not have air conditioning. However, it is great for those looking for a more authentic experience.
What to do near Pongwe Beach?
Have a beach day! Take advantage of the calm waters and lounge out on their white sand beaches. There is not a ton to do in this area, so taking advantage of the serene atmosphere is necessary.
Where to stay near Pongwe Beach?
Pongwe Beach Hotel is a prime location for a hotel. Located right on the beach with ocean views and a pool. A must stay on the beaches of Zanzibar.
8) Paje Beach
Located in the southeast, between the villages of Bwejuu and Jambiani, is Paje Beach. This long strip of white sand beach is a must-see when in Zanzibar. Paje Beach is known for its great breeze and water activities.
What to do near Paje Beach?
Go kite-surfing! An activity that has been growing in popularity in the area. Rent gear or take a lesson at Kite Centre Zanzibar.
Where to stay near Paje Beach?
Relax at Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa – Relais & Chateaux. A sanctuary of peace and harmony. A top-rated luxurious experience!
9) Jambiani Beach
A less touristy area of Zanzibar is Jambiani Beach. Located near Jambiana Village on the southeast coast.
What to do near Jambiani Beach ?
Swim in a cave! Take a half-day tour and visit Kuza Cave with a local guide. This sacred cave is rumored to have healing waters. Local Tanzanian musicians join the tour and provide local jam sessions for you to listen to.
Where to stay near Jambiani Beach?
The Loop Beach Resort is a fantastic option. A small and cozy resort that provides hiking and biking opportunities.
10) Kiwengwa Beach
Situated on the North East coast is Kiwengwa Beach. It is located between the villages of Pongwe and Pwani Mchangani. This area is known as the Little Italy of Zanzibar.
What to do near Kiwengwa Beach?
Indulge in delicious Italian local cuisine. Amour Beach Restaurant offers fresh-caught seafood topped with authentic spices. This is the best Zanzibar beach for foodies!
Where to stay near Kiwengwa Beach?
Kiwengwa Beach Resort is located in Kiwengwa Village. A five-star resort with beachfront rooms and a beautiful swimming pool.
11) Dongwe Beach
This seaside town is located in the southeast area of Zanzibar. This is a great home base for those wanting to explore the surrounding areas.
What to do near Dongwe Beach?
A short drive away is the Aquaholics Surf School. The first and only surf school on the island. They cater to all surf levels and have fifteen different surfboards to choose from!
Where to stay near Dongwe Beach?
The Sands Beach Resort Zanzibar. This resort has a tropical backdrop of palm trees and green vegetation. Relax on the beach at sunset, or put your toes in the ocean.
12) Pemba Island
Known as the Green Island for its green hills is Pemba island. Located on its own island in Tanzanian northeast of Zanzibar.
What to do on Pemba Island?
Go bird watching! Take a Pemba Island Birding Day Tour with Cisticola Tours. Pemba Island has been named a designated Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. It is home to the population of Pemba green pigeons, owls, and more.
Where to stay on Pemba Island?
The Manta Resort is a remote island hideaway that allows you to shut off from the outside world’s noise.
13) Chumbe Island
Located a few kilometers off the main island of Zanzibar is Chumbe Island. Popular due to its unique coral reefs. This is a privately owned island that is closed to fishing, boating, and diving.
What to do on Chumbe Island?
Visit the Chumbe Reef Sanctuary and Closed Forest Reserve. The island is named the Chumbe Island Coral Park. A nonprofit organization that conducts marine research.
Where to stay on Chumbe Island?
Chumbe Island Coral Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Stay at this private nature reserve that is home to rare wildlife.
14) Mafia Island
Not to be confused with the Italian Mafia, Mafia Island is an island located south of Zanzibar. This area is protected by Mafia Island Marine Park. This island is the largest of the small archipelago of islands.
What to do on Mafia Island?
Swim with Whale Sharks! Kuty Kiblu offers half-day trips that allow you to swim with the whale sharks. All while being safe and relaxed.
Where to stay on Mafia Island?
Mafia Island Lodge is a gorgeous resort. The islanders are friendly here. Enjoy talking to them and trying their local cuisine.
15) Pwani Mchangani
This beach is located on the east coast of Zanzibar. A beautiful but remote and quiet beach. Relax by the turquoise waters for the day.
What to do near Pwani Mchangani?
Find the local mosque. There are no popular mosques, and they are not advertised with their locations online. You will need to ask a local for the address upon arrival. They will then direct you to the small prayer facility in the small village.
There are no major mosques in Pwani Mchangani, but the locals can help. They can direct you to a prayer facility that is located in the village.
Where to stay near Pwani Mchangani?
Neptune Pwani Beach Resort & Spa. Swim in their two freshwater pools while taking in the views of the tropical garden.
16) Fumba Beach
Sitting at the end of the Fumba Peninsula is the village of Fumba. It is on the southwest of the Island. This beach is a part of the Menai Bay Conservation Area.
What to do near Fumba Beach?
Go on a Spice Tour! Fumba Beach Lodge offers a guided Spice Tour. Visit local spice farms that grow various spices, including cloves, chili, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, and vanilla. You can learn how to cook with them and what to pair them with.
Where to stay near Fumba Beach?
Fumba Beach Lodge is a small and peaceful resort. They have 26 spacious cottages nestled along the oceanfront.
17) Bawe Island
A small island that is located six miles from the capital of Zanzibar, Stone Town. In the 18th century, Zanzibar gave the island to the Eastern Telegraph Company. It was used as an operating station for the underwater telegraph cable that connects Zanzibar to Seychelles and Aden.
What to do on Bawe Island?
Take a day trip anch check things to do in Stone Town and visit the Mangroves at Jozani Chwaka-Bay national park. This is the only National Park in Zanzibar. Second, visit the Zanzibar red colobus monkey, an endangered animal found only in Zanzibar.
Where to stay on Bawe Island?
Accommodations are limited on Bawe Island. Stay at Bawe Tropical Island Lodge, a remote lodge with an island vibe.
18) Mnemba island
A luxurious private island that is located off the northeast coast of Unguja is Mnemba island. There are lots of species on this island, including sea turtles and humpback whales. However, since the island is privately owned, non-guests are not permitted to the island.
What to do on Mnemba island?
You should really try scuba diving! It is the number one tourist activity on the island. You can learn to dive or improve your scuba skills. Dive Point Zanzibar has the best scuba diving experience on the island.
Where to stay on Mnemba island?
The five-star hotel of Asilia is the place to be. Lounge in your infinity pool that overlooks the Indian Ocean. This island escape is for those who want a more glamorous experience when visiting Zanzibar.
19) Nakupenda Beach
In Swahili, Nakupenda means “I love you,” and you will love this remote beach. Located about fifteen minutes by boat from Stone Town. Swim in the crystal blue water or lounge on the soft sand.
What to do near Nakupenda Beach?
Visit Prison Island! Also known as Changuu Island, its interesting story started back in 1893 as the former British Prime Minister of Zanzibar bought the island and built a prison on it. The funny thing is, it was never used for that purpose. Instead, it was used as a quarantine center for those who got Yellow Fever. Now it is a historic place that attracts many visitors.
Where to stay near Nakupenda Beach?
Since Nakupenda Beach is a day trip, you can stay at a beachfront location in Stone Town. One of the most fun beaches of Zanzibar. Beach House is an ideal location for those wanting to explore the island by boat.
Final thoughts about Zanzibar Beaches
It is no wonder why so many travelers want to visit the beaches of Zanzibar. The white sand beaches colliding with turquoise water are just one reason to visit. Learning about the Zanzibar culture will leave you with more than just spices to take home. Visit the whole island, learn from the villagers and try all of the authentic food.
If you have more time in Tanzania, try to extend your trip and start planning your budget for Safari.
Most importantly, relax!