transition-inner

Best Beaches in Zanzibar You Should Visit

Top shot of one of the best beaches in zanzibar and a local fishermen fixing his net in the water
Zanzibar is home to some of the best beach destinations in the world. Tourism is the major hub of this renowned ‘Spice Island’ located off the coast of Tanzania. Spanning approximately 90 km long and 40 km wide, Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago consisting of two major islands – Unguja and Pemba Island. The historic capital city of Zanzibar is Stone town, a prominent city with an impressive cultural heritage and history dating back to the 19th century. Zanzibar reflects a mixture of diverse cultural influence from Arabian, Indian, Persian and European cultures, was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in the year 2000.

Top Beaches In Zanzibar

If you’re seeking a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life, or perhaps looking to round off an amazing safari adventure in Tanzania’s many national parks and game reserves, then the beaches in Zanzibar are your best option. Aside from the white sandy beaches and turquoise ocean, the island is home to a tropical forest with extinct Red colobus monkey, servaline genets and Zanzibar leopards. Whether it is a personal holiday trip, with friends or family members, the variety of beach options, all of which can be accessed from Stone Town, offers an exclusive experience that will leave you in awe. Of course, your choice of which beach to visit depends solely on your mood and vacation preferences, but here are the top seven for your consideration:

1. Nungwi Beach

Nungwi beach is located on the west coast of Zanzibar. The beach made the list in the top 25 beaches in the world in TripAdvisor’s travelers choice award. Nungwi beach is always vibrant. The coast is blessed with coral reefs ideal for diving, snorkeling, and swimming. You may be lucky to spot dolphins, shark and green turtles at a certain time of the year. Nungwi beach has numerous resorts, bars, and restaurants with a variety of nightlife entertainment. You can also go for a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow sailing boat. Because of its lively ambiance, Nungwi Beach may be a great destination for solo travelers as you’ll get to soak up the vibe of the island and even meet new people along the way.

Accessing Nungwi Beach

The distance from Nungwi beach to Stone Town is around 58 km. You can board public transport vehicles (dala dala) from the station at Daranjani. You can also hire a taxi to take you from Stone Town to Nungwi beach.

2. Kendwa Beach


kendwa beach zanzibar (c) Behance
Kendwa beach is one of the most popular beaches in Zanzibar. Located just a few miles before Nungwi village, the beach is slightly laid back compared to Nungwi beach. This top island beach does not have to deal with as much high and low tides, so the clear waters make it perfect for snorkeling, diving, and swimming without having to chase the ocean a mile away. There are lots of fun activities to engage in like volleyball on the sandy beach, beach soccer, and so on. Kendwa beach is also famous for its active nightlife and party atmosphere. The sunset accompanies loud beach parties. There are restaurants and bars dishing out mouth-watering cuisines and beverages. Aquatic creatures like the colorful starfish also take refuge on the beach just offshore.

Accessing Kendwa Beach

The distance between Kendwa beach from Stone Town is about 56 km. You can board a public transport vehicle (dala dala) from the dala dala station in Darajani, then ask the conductor to stop you at Kendwa rock, and the locals will point you in the right direction to the beach. It’s about a 15 minutes walk to the village. You can also grab a taxi ride from Stone Town to Kendwa, but keep in mind that taxi rides are usually more expensive than the dala dala.

3. Kiwengwa Beach

Kiwengwa is a great beach for families with kids. Across the beach, there are major hotel establishments with standard swimming pools and facilities. There are also provisions for budget options – smaller lodges as well as Airbnb houses for rent. Swimming at Kiwengwa beach is not always possible, especially at low tide, so in some cases, it’s better to stick to the swimming pool facilities in your accommodation.

Accessing Kiwengwa Beach

The distance from Kiwengwa beach from stone town is around 46 km. You can either board the dala dala or hire a taxi ride from Stone Town.

4. Pongwe Beach


zanzibar beaches (c) Pinterest
Pongwe Beach is a remote place to relax and unwind. Free from the bustling and hustling of the more commercial beaches in Zanzibar, Pongwe is quiet and provides you with enough space to yourself. It is the ideal place to visit if you seek privacy and intimacy or on a romantic date. There are fewer restaurants here so you may have to depend on food from your hotel. If you are interested in snorkeling and diving, the destination is about an hour’s drive away.

Accessing Pongwe Beach

The approximate Distance from Stone Town to Pongwe is 56km. You can board a dala dala, but note that this route does not operate on a daily basis. You may be better off hiring a taxi.

5. Paje Beach

Paje beach is a lively place to just chill and have a memorable beach vacation. The beach has a laid back vibe with an abundance of beach bars. The beach is great for kitesurfing, especially between December and February. Like in Kiwengwa, the low tide often makes it impossible to swim in the pristine waters, but some hotels offer 24 hours of swimming access, so you could consider booking one of those.

Accessing Paje

You can board a dala dala from Stone Town to Paje. You can also hire a taxi ride. It’s about 60 km from Stone Town.

6. Kizimkazi Beach

Home to a beautiful little fishing village, Kizimkazi Beach is very local and lowkey. This beach is famous for swimming and spotting dolphins. If you are culturally inclined, you also get to visit the oldest mosques on the East African coast (Dimbani Mosque since 1107AD). Kizimkazi has a record of high tides and at such times, the beach is not fully functional and during the low tide, the ocean can be far away.

Accessing Kizimkazi

The distance to Kizimkazi from Stone Town is 60 km. You can take public transport, dala dala or hire a taxi from stone town.

7. Jambiani Beach


jambiani beach zanzibar (c) Minube.net
Lying on the southern parts of Zanzibar, Jambiani Beach is home to good restaurants and lively bars with often a mixture of locals and tourists. From the beachside, you can spot Zanzibari fishermen and seaweed farmers at work. Jambiani also has good snorkeling spots but it is difficult to swim during low tides.

Accessing Jambiani Beach

At an approximate distance of 56 km from Stone Town to Jambiani Beach, you can either board the dala dala or take a taxi.

Zanzibar is characterized by amazing beaches, most of which still have the untouched local feel and amazingly clear waters. As one of Africa’s top tourist destinations, it offers a myriad of breathtaking views, water-based activities, and all round exciting moments.

Check out these best tours to beautiful Zanzibar beaches:

9 Days Wildlife Safari & Zanzibar Beach Holiday (Bush to Beach)

8 Days Explore Zanzibar and Pemba Islands  

Written by: Branded Africa