The ‘bounty-island’ Zanzibar is an island group just off the coast from Tanzania mainland that is well-worth visiting after a safari or mountain trip. There are two islands which are the main island Unguja, often named Zanzibar, and the smaller island of Pemba. On Zanzibar, the main interests are ‘thousand-and-one-night’ Stonetown and the fine-looking beaches.
Other interesting places are the lush green spice plantations, Prison Island, Jozani Forest with its red Colobus monkeys and Kizimkazi for dolphin watching. The reefs and sandbanks around the island are a perfect destination for snorkeling and diving trips. Visits to those other places can easily be arranged in Stonetown or on the beaches. We recommend to stay a few days in Stonetown and to end your holiday on one of the pristine beaches.
To get a good touch of local Zanzibari life on the beaches, the beaches on the South East coast are the best choice. We have made an inspiring trip to Zanzibar for you.
Stonetown is the main town of Zanzibar and is well-known for its narrow alleys through which you can wander around for hours. There are a lot of shops where you can buy souvenirs, spices, tanzanite or woodcarvings from Zanzibar. Due to Arabic influences, this town has a thousand-and-one-night atmosphere especially in the evening hours.
You certainly have to visit Forodhani gardens for a stick with a fresh-caught fish of your choice. You can find any fresh catch ranging from octopus to lobster to barracuda to kingfish. In the town, you’ll find many guesthouses, hotels and restaurants where you can enjoy Zanzibari life which is very different from Tanzanian mainland.
Zanzibar is known for its white beaches viewing the azure-blue ocean. In the north, there are the beauties of Nungwi and Kendwa beach, in the east there is Pongwe and Matemwe, in the southeast, there are the more quiet Bwejuu, Paje and Jambiani Beach, and in the south, there is Kizimkazi.
All beaches are stunningly beautiful and have their own atmospheres and all contain accommodations ranging from basic guesthouses to five-star luxury resorts. Depending on what you are looking for, relaxing versus partying, young versus old public, beautiful sunrise versus beautiful sundown, you could make a choice between those beaches.
We normally advise the more quieter beaches in the South East as you will also have a good chance to meet with the local Zanzibaris. But if you want a sunset and more entertainment, Nungwi and Kendwa are better choices.
Other beaches of Tanzania
Zanzibar is an attractive island, but other places are becoming more and more popular. They have not been touched much by tourism yet and are therefore more quiet and authentic. On Tanzania mainland, the beaches around Pangani are most beautiful, but South of Dar es Salaam there is the beautiful beach of Kidagaa. More to the South you will find Kilwa, which is also known for ruins of older time. Other islands are Pemba, North of Zanzibar and Mafia Island. The latter is extremely good for diving and around October you can witness and swim with the friendly whalesharks. Lastly, there are numerous private islands that have lodges such as Fanjove Island.