The 9 Best Beaches in Zanzibar (My Favorites)

Tristan Balme The best beaches in zanzibar my favorites

I have visited tons of beaches around the world but seldom do they compare to the ones in Zanzibar. 

Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania. It has a rich history, culture, spices, and of course, stunning beaches. With roughly 25 beaches main on the island and many gorgous little coves in between, you could dedicate an entire trip to exploring them.

In this post, I’ll share what my favorite 9 beaches on Zanzibar are, some activities you can partake in while you’re there, and accommodation recommendations. 

Read More: on the 21 best things to do in Zanzibar here

Disclosure: When I was in Zanzibar I visited 5 of the 9 beaches recommended below. The other 4 are recommendations for other tourists I met while there, that I wanted to visit, but sadly ran out of time.

1. Paje Beach: Best Known for Kitesurfing & Diving

Tristan Balme paje beach zanzibar

If your perfect time out involves plenty of kitesurfing and diving, Paje Beach might appeal to you. Located on the southeast coast of the island, this beach is a long stretch of white sand with palm trees and crystal-clear water.

How to get there

First, you’ll have to fly to Zanzibar. When you get to the airport, you can travel to the beach by taxi or bus (dala dalas) from Stone Town. 

What to do

  • Kitesurfing
  • Swimming 
  • Walk along the shore
  • Snorkeling/ Scuba diving
  • Visit Mnemba Atoll marine reserve
  • Paddleboarding and Kayaking

Where to stay:

Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa

This is an eco-luxury resort with high-end amenities and a kitesurfing center. You can relax in spacious villas with private pools, gardens, terraces, and outdoor bathtubs. It also has a spa, a restaurant, and a bar.

Cristal Resort

Cristal is a more affordable resort. It has cozy rooms and comprises a pool, a restaurant, and a bar.

New Teddy’s on the Beach

If you’re looking for a family-friendly and budget-friendly option, New Teddy’s might appeal to you. It’s a hostel with dorms and private bungalows with shared bathrooms. The hostel also provides a restaurant, a bar, and a lounge area.

2. Bwejuu Beach: Best Known for Relaxation

Tristan Balme mwete beach in zanzibar

Bwejuu Beach is located on the southeast coast, not far from Paje Beach. It’s quiet and peaceful with soft sand and calm water. Because it has fewer crowds and more privacy than other beaches on the island, it’s perfect for simply letting loose or for a romantic getaway.

How to get there

To get to Bwejuu, you can either fly directly to Zanzibar and take a taxi or a dala-dala to your destination. Or fly to Dar es Salaam and take a ferry to Zanzibar and then a taxi or a dala-dala to the beach. You can also book a tour package that covers everything for you. This way you don’t have to worry about the logistics. 

What to do

  • Go on a reef safari
  • Sunbathe 
  • Stroll along the beach
  • Explore the mangrove forest via the dhow boat trip
  • Snorkeling/ scuba diving
  • Visit the spice farm or local village
  • Simply relax on hammocks and sunbeds
  • Take up Swahili cooking lessons

Where to stay

Baraza Resort & Spa

Baraza is a lavish resort with plenty of villas each with private pools, terraces, living rooms, and bathrooms. You can indulge in the spa, one of 4 restaurants, or head over to the pool, gym, tennis court, or water sports center.

The Palms Zanzibar

Palms is a more intimate and exclusive resort with around 7 villas, each with a private pool, a jacuzzi, a terrace, a living room, and a bathroom. You also have access to a spa, restaurant, bar, pool, and water sports center.

Breezes Beach Club & Spa

Breezes is a family-friendly resort with affordable rooms and suites. It has a spa, 4 restaurants, a couple of bars, a pool, a fitness center, and a water sports center.

3. Nungwi Beach: Best Known for being a Lively Beach

One of the most popular beaches, Nungwi Beach can be found on the north tip of the island. It’s vibrant with a lot of activities, restaurants, bars, and nightlife. You can also immerse yourself in water activities any time of the day because it’s one of the few beaches with no significant tide.

How to get there

To get Nungwi, you have 3 options

  • Fly directly to Zanzibar International Airport and take a taxi or shuttle to the beach.
  • Fly to Dar es Salaam and take a ferry or plane to Zanzibar Island.
  • Fly to Nairobi and take a bus or train to Dar es Salaam, then take a taxi to the beach.

What to do

  • Stand-up paddle boarding
  • Visit the cultural village
  • Enjoy the nightlife 
  • Snorkeling/ Scuba diving 
  • Swim with dolphins and turtles
  • Stone Town tour
  • Spice tour

Where to stay

Essque Zalu Zanzibar

Essque is a boutique hotel that offers elegant suites and villas with private pools, terraces, living rooms, and bathrooms. You can visit the spa, restaurant, bar, pool, or art gallery.

The Z Hotel

The Z Hotel offers stylish rooms and suites. It also has a spa, a restaurant, a couple of bars, a pool, and a rooftop lounge.

Langi Langi Beach Bungalows

For something more budget-friendly, Langi Langi is worth a shot. The hotel features simple rooms and bungalows. You can dine at the restaurant, grab drinks at the bar, or relax at the pool.

4. Kizimkazi Beach: Best Known for Dolphin Safaris

Kizimkazi beach zanzibar
Photo Credit: Kham Khampheng @ Unsplash

A small secluded fishing village on the southwest coast, Kizimkazi Beach is ideal for avid dolphin watchers and swimmers.

How to get there

You can fly to Zanzibar International Airport from Dar es Salaam and then take a taxi or a local bus to Kizimkazi. Alternatively, you can also take a ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar City and then take a bus or taxi to Kizimkazi. 

What to do

  • Swim with dolphins
  • Explore ancient ruins, like the Shirazi mosque and the Kizimkazi Dimbani
  • Go on a blue safari
  • Snorkeling
  • Bike tour
  • Visit Kuza Cave
  • Deep sea fishing

Where to stay

Unguja Lodge

This is a small eco-friendly lodge that has spacious villas with private pools, terraces, living rooms, and bathrooms. It has a restaurant, a bar, a pool, and a diving center.

The Residence Zanzibar

The Resident has elegant villas with private pools, terraces, living rooms, and bathrooms. It has a spa, two restaurants, a bar, a pool, a gym, a kids club, and a water sports center.

Karamba Resort

Karamba is a budget-friendly resort with cozy rooms and bungalows. It has a restaurant, a bar, and a pool.

5. Michamvi Beach: Best Known for a Remote Coral Lagoon

Tristan Balme Michamvi Beach
Photo Credit: Danai Tsoutreli /Unsplash

Another gem located on the southeast coast, Michamvi Beach is tranquil with golden sand and turquoise water. It draws in a crowd because of its coral lagoon.

How to get there

To visit Michamvi Beach, you must fly to Zanzibar International Airport, with one or more stopovers, or take a ferry from Dar es Salaam. Then you can hire a taxi or take a shuttle to the beach.

What to do

  • Enjoy the white sand and turquoise water 
  • Visit the famous The Rock restaurant
  • Snorkel at the Blue Lagoon
  • Explore the Kuza Cave
  • Visit the Jozani Forest
  • Take a boat trip to Mnemba Island
  • Experience the Spice Tour
  • Visit Prison Island
  • Discover the Secret Garden

Where to stay

Konokono Beach Resort

Konokono has spacious villas with private pools, terraces, living rooms, and bathrooms. You can treat yourself at the spa or hot tub, or visit the restaurant, bar, or water sports center.

Kichanga Lodge

Kichanga is a cozy boutique lodge that offers charming cottages. It has a restaurant, a bar, and a pool.

Michamvi Sunset Bay

Michamvi offers simple rooms and features a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, and a pool.

6. Kendwa Beach: Best Known for Sunsets And Swimming

Kendwa Beach is located on the northwest coast. It’s beautiful and lively, with white sand and blue water, and has amazing sunsets and swimming conditions.

How to get there

You can either fly to Zanzibar International Airport and then take a taxi or shuttle to the beach, or take a ferry from Dar es Salaam.

What to do

  • Take a sunset cruise on a dhow 
  • Visit the House of Wonders
  • Embark on a Zanzibar Slave Routes Tour
  • Explore the Ngonga Cave
  • Relax and pamper yourself 
  • Join the Full Moon Party, if you happen to visit on full moon
  • Scuba diving/ Snorkeling
  • Fish with the locals
  • Jet skiing
  • Play beach volleyball

Where to stay

Gold Zanzibar Beach House & Spa

Gold Zanzibar has up to 76 elegant suites. It has a spa, 2 restaurants and bars, a pool, a gym, and a water sports center.

Zuri Zanzibar

Zuri offers stylish bungalows and villas with private pools, terraces, living rooms, and bathrooms. It has a spa, around 3 restaurants, up to 4 bars, a pool, a gym, a yoga center, and a water sports center.

Sunset Kendwa

This is a budget-friendly hotel with simple traditional rooms and bungalows. It has a restaurant, a bar, and a pool.

7. Matemwe Beach: Best Known for Local Culture And Scuba Diving

For a truly authentic Swahili experience, it’ll be worth your while to visit Matemwe Beach. It’s located on the northeast coast and bursting with a rich local culture and plenty of scuba diving opportunities.

How to get there

You can fly to Zanzibar International Airport and take a taxi or a shuttle to the beach. Alternatively, take a ferry from Dar es Salaam to the beach.

What to do

  • Snorkeling/Diving
  • Visit the Clove Oil Distillery
  • Watch or swim with dolphins
  • Take a beach tour
  • Tour Stone Town 
  • Half-Day Quad Adventure in Kiwengwa Beach 
  • Visit Prison Island 
  • Watch local fishermen and seaweed farmers at work

Where to stay

Matemwe Retreat

The Matemwe retreat offers about 4 exclusive villas with private pools, terraces, living rooms, and bathrooms. It also has a spa, a restaurant, a bar, and a diving center.

Matemwe Lodge

Matemwe Lodge offers around 12 charming bungalows. It has a restaurant, wellness center, a bar, a pool, and a diving center.

8. Pongwe Beach: Best Known for Tropical Paradise And Calm Waters for Swimming

Though secluded, Pongwe Beach–located on the east coast–attracts traffic because of its brilliant blue tranquil waters and white sand. 

How to get there

You can reach it by flying or taking a ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar, and then driving along the coast. Alternatively, you can book a tour package that includes everything you need.

What to do

  • Tour Stone Town
  • Spice tour
  • Visit the Jozani Forest
  • Kite Surfing
  • Dolphin watching 
  • Take up cooking lessons 
  • Enjoy the nightlife 
  • Rejuvenate at a spa 
  • Snorkeling/Scuba diving
  • Kayaking

Where to stay

Pongwe Bay Resort

Pongwe Bay features spacious rooms and suites. You can make use of the spa, restaurant, bar, pool, and water sports center.

Pongwe Beach Hotel

This mid-range hotel offers cozy cottages, a restaurant, a bar, a pool, and a water sports center.

Seasons Lodge Zanzibar

Seasons is a budget-friendly lodge with simple rooms, a restaurant, a bar, and a pool.

9. Pemba Island: Best Known for Pristine Nature & Adventure

Located about 50 kilometers north of Zanzibar, Pemba Island is less visited and more rugged, with lush green hills, dense forests, and pristine beaches. It has some of the best diving, fishing, and hiking in Tanzania.

How to get there

Pemba Island is remote, so it’s best to get there by flying from East Africa via Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam. Once you arrive at Pemba Airport, you’ll need a taxi to take you to the island.

What to do

  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling/Diving 
  • Fishing
  • Visit Umoja Children’s Park
  • Trek Ngezi Forest Reserve
  • Visit Chake Chake Town to see the ruins
  • Bird watching
  • Tour the Clove Oil Distillery 
  • Visit Pemba museum

Where to stay

The Manta Resort

This luxury resort offers stunning rooms and villas. It has a spa, a restaurant, a bar, a pool, and a diving center. Manta’s stand-out feature is the underwater room with a bedroom submerged about 4 meters below the water’s surface.

Fundu Lagoon

Fundu Lagoon is a boutique resort with rustic bungalows and suites overlooking the ocean. It has a spa, 2 restaurants, 3 bars, pool, and water sports center.

Pemba Lodge

One of the most budget-friendly options, Pemba Lodge comprises eco-friendly bungalows with balconies or terraces overlooking the ocean or garden. It has a restaurant, a bar, and diving center.

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