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Zanzibar Best Beaches and Hotels

Whether you’re taking a trip from Tanzania to Zanzibar for some post-safari relaxation, a chilled beach holiday or a romantic East Africa honeymoon, the main draw of this African island paradise is the beaches.

But with so many stretches of white sand to choose from, how do you choose the best beach for the type of Zanzibar holiday you want?

Here is our comprehensive guide and map of the best beaches in Zanzibar – for swimming, snorkelling, sunbathing and staying at a beautiful beach resort.

1. Bwejuu Beach, Relaxation & Reef SafariDrone shot of Bwejuu Beach in Zanzibar

Bwejuu is one of the top beaches in Zanzibar.

This white sandy beach on the island’s southeast coast is lined with palm trees and only an hour and a half away from Stone Town.

It’s one of the quietest parts of Zanzibar and a popular choice for those seeking total relaxation, peace and privacy.

There are plenty of activities and excursions to do around the area, including a mangrove forest and dhow boat trip, a visit to the local village of Bwejuu, a reef safari, snorkelling and diving, a visit to Stone Town, or a day trip to the Jozani Forest, which is home to the Red Colobus Monkey.

The Best Beach Resorts Around Bwejuu Beach

  • Baraza Resort and Spa is a family-run resort with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean.
  • Breezes Beach Club and dive centre is a tranquil, relaxed resort that caters mostly to families and couples.
  • The Palms is one of the island’s most exclusive private resorts and is perfect for Zanzibar honeymooners or couples looking for privacy. Each villa has a private plunge pool and a terrace with magnificent views of the Indian Ocean. It was voted one the World’s Most Romantic All-Inclusive Resorts by Travel + Leisure.

All three of the above beach resorts make up ‘The Zanzibar Collection,’ a portfolio of privately owned luxury hotels and resorts inspired by the magic of this exotic beach destination.

2. Michamvi Beach, a Remote Coral Lagoon

Dhow fishing boat on a beach in Zanzibar

Michamvi is a peninsula on the central east coast of the island.

Although there are two large beach resorts in the area, Michamvi feels remote and has long stretches of empty beaches to explore.

The peninsula consists of two parts, Michamvi-Pingwe and Michamvi-Kae.

On the eastern side is Michamvi-Pingwe, with a vibrant coral lagoon and beautiful palm-fringed beaches set in a string of scenic coves between high coral-rag cliffs.

On the western side is Michamvi-Kae, which faces west towards Chwaka Bay.

Where to Stay Around Michamvi Beach

  • Kichanga Lodge is a private resort nestled into hillside tropical gardens. The resort has a swimming pool that overlooks the beach and on the beach itself there’s a traditional weathered dhow boat, which serves as the bar.
  • Konokono Beach Resort is a quiet paradise offering privacy and romance in the heart of nature. It’s a favourite for couples and those on a Zanzibar honeymoon.
  • Z Hotel is a chic boutique hotel that exudes elegance. The beachfront resort is also known for its food and drink, including Asian-fusion tapas, sharing platters and a creative cocktail menu.

3. Nungwi Beach, a Lively Beach for Night Owls

Nungwi Beach in Zanzibar

Nungwi Beach on the northwest coast is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in Zanzibar and recently made the list of Top 25 Beaches in the World in TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards 2018.

Nungwi is definitely one of the liveliest areas on the island and the numerous beach resorts, hotels, restaurants and bars offer a variety of night-time entertainment.

However, this beach isn’t just for party-goers. The Nungwi coast has fantastic coral reefs which are ideal for diving and snorkelling – you may even be lucky enough to see dolphins, green turtles and, at certain times of the year, whale sharks.

Facing west, Nungwi Beach also has some of the best sunsets in Zanzibar and a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow sailing boat is a must.

The Best Places to Stay Around Nungwi Beach

  • Hotel RIU Palace Zanzibar is a sophisticated, beachside spa resort around three kilometres from Nungwi Beach, offering a peaceful and private atmosphere away from the lively beachfront. All rooms and suites have private terraces and stunning views over the lush gardens and Indian Ocean.

4. Kendwa Beach, Sunsets & Swimming

Kendwa beach in Zanzibar

Sometimes referred to as the “little sister” of Nungwi Beach, Kendwa Beach is much quieter than its sibling in the north.

This is one of the few beaches on Zanzibar where the tide doesn’t really change, which means the clear waters are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving.

Colourful starfish also call this beach home and can be found just offshore (but be sure not to pick up these creatures or disturb them in their natural habitat).

The sunsets at Kendwa beach are legendary, so pick your spot on the beach when the sun starts to lower. Once it dips below the horizon, the beach comes alive in new way with nightlife and relaxed beach parties.

5. Kizimkazi Beach, Authenticity & Dolphin Safaris

hermit crab in Kizimkazi beach in Zanzibar

This small fishing village on the south coast of Zanzibar consists of two adjoining settlements: Kizimkazi Dimbani to the north and Kizimkazi Mkunguni to the south.

The coastline here is very different from the classic palm-backed lagoon of the east coast.

Here, a coral rag cliff elevates the waterfront above the ocean and the beaches take the form of small coves rather than broad expanses of sand.

For this reason, there are fewer accommodation options and the area has a distinct and authentic atmosphere.

The village of Kizimkazi is famous for its dolphin safaris. However, if you’re visiting Kizimkazi please be mindful about joining boat trips which offer the opportunity to swim with dolphins.

There are no regulations regarding dolphin tourism in Zanzibar and most tours are run by boat drivers with no experience or interest in animal behaviour.

Often boats crowd round the dolphins and chase them, and tourists jump into the water to swim, with no monitoring of the dolphin’s behaviour.

Instead, contact us to ask about how to swim with dolphins responsibly in Zanzibar during your holidays, if this is something you are keen to do.

The Best Resorts Around Kizimkazi Beach

  • The Residence Zanzibar is a luxurious and family-friendly hotel on the southwest coast of Zanzibar, 20 minutes’ drive from Kizimkazi, surrounded by 32 hectares of tropical gardens and fringed by a pristine mile-long beach.
  • Unguja Lodge is a small beach lodge on the southern tip of Zanzibar, near Kizimkazi Mkunguni. This is a very quiet part of the island with small beaches and lush green surroundings. The lodge has an excellent relationship with the local people who live in Kizimkazi Mkunguni and most of the staff are from the village.

6. Matemwe Beach, Local Culture & Scuba Diving

Zanzibari scarfs on a beach

Matemwe is a section of coastline on the northeast of Zanzibar.

The long, idyllic beach at Matemwe (the longest beach in Zanzibar) has some of the finest sand on the island and amongst the palm trees at the back of the beach you’ll find traditional fishing villages, which offer a fascinating insight into the local culture.

Around two kilometres offshore, just beyond the main reef, is the world-famous island of Mnemba Atoll; a popular scuba diving spot surrounded by pristine and very accessible coral reefs.

The area around Matemwe Beach has the best diving and snorkelling on the island, plus some excellent kitesurfing and sailing.

Where to Stay Around Matemwe Beach

  • Matemwe Lodge is perched on an outcrop overlooking a shallow, coral-fringed lagoon on the quiet northeast coast of Zanzibar Island. The easy access to Mnemba makes this resort a great option for those who want to dive the Atoll.
  • Mnemba Island Lodge is an upscale all-inclusive resort situated on a private island just 4.5 kilometres off the northeast coast of Zanzibar, surrounded by coral reefs bursting with life. Famous guests at Mnemba Island Lodge include Tom Cruise, Naomi Campbell and Bill Gates.

7. Pongwe Beach, Tropical Paradise & Calm Waters for Swimming

Hammock in Pongwe Beach Hotel

Pongwe beach is arguably the best swimming beach in Zanzibar.

Pongwe’s quiet arc of beach is dotted with palm trees and backed by dense vegetation; this is about as close to a quintessential tropical paradise as you can get.

Pongwe Beach is lucky in the fact that the whole beach is protected by an offshore reef, which keeps the inner waters calm and safe for all to swim in. Snorkelling and boat trips can also be arranged to the reef.

The Best Beach Resorts Near Pongwe

  • Pongwe Beach Hotel is a small and intimate resort located on one of the most beautiful beaches on Zanzibar. The rooms have been built in a traditional Zanzibari style with coconut palm thatched roofs, lime wash walls and hand-crafted wooden doors. There is also a beautiful infinity pool for you to enjoy when the tide is out.

8. Paje Beach, Kitesurfing & Diving

Paje Beach in Zanzibar with palm trees

Located on the southeast coast, Paje beach has all the makings of a perfect beach: long stretches of white sand, palm trees swaying in the breeze, turquoise waters and exquisite sunsets.

Bordered by a small village on one side, Paje is peaceful and quiet, making this beach a great alternative to the busier, more developed beaches in the north of Zanzibar.

Paje beach is known for its water sports and the excellent kitesurfing conditions draw amateur and professional kitesurfers from all over the world to this specific area of the island.

In addition to this, the clear, warm waters are great for scuba diving, as the reefs offshore are home to turtles, starfish, trumpet fish, moray eels and other colourful marine creatures.

You might also see locals collecting seaweed at low tide at Paje beach, which is used to make soap via a women’s cooperative.

The products come wrapped in banana leaf and can be purchased at local shops; buying a bar or two is a great way to sustainably support the community, plus the soap’s natural ingredients are incredibly good for your skin.

You can find out more about Zanzibar’s seaweed soap initiative in this recent article by the BBC.

After sunset, the beach turns into a lively party spot, though the atmosphere is relaxed and international.

The Best Beaches in Zanzibar for the Holiday You Want

Whether you’re looking to explore the island’s colourful coral reefs on a scuba diving trip, or simply recline on the powder sands with a cocktail in hand, we hope this map and guide to the best beaches in Zanzibar has helped you decide which beach is best for the type of holiday you want.

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Customer Reviews

Michael T 06/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Above & Beyond
Review of: 3-Day Gorillas trekking and Batwa Experience
Sedrick went above and beyond to accomodate our request for an itinerary alteration due to our compressed time in Uganda. He also compeltely took care of scheduling our covid 19 testing and drove us to the site on arrival.

Our driver/guide Ben was also outstanding!

**We highly recommend using a porter during gorilla trekking as their are some complex parts to the trail/terrain. This also benefits the local people by providing them work.**

David 24/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Seeing Lots of Animals and Uganda
The schedule suited my time in Uganda exactly and was a great opportunity to view some of the top wildlife and natural wonders of the country. Lodgings range from mid-range to near upscale and are in beautiful locations. Food is good and ample. My driver, Stanley, was expert at spotting wildlife and, very importantly on the Ugandan roads, a careful and skilled driver. You see various parts of the country on this tour, and due to distances, be aware you'll spend quite a few hours on the road. One thing they might add is an itinerary going into more detail ahead of time on each day's activity and suggested things to bring. I was concerned about the needed COVID test for return home, but they took care of arranging that, and it turned out successfully. Overall the tour was a real highlight and is highly recommended.

Justo Nov 18, 2019

Safaribookings
I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019

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Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018

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I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019

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My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019

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Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .