Where else should we consider, but one of the world’s most famous paradise islands? Ninety percent of Tanzania beach accommodation is found on Zanzibar, just a twenty-minute flight east of Dar es Salaam, a forty-minute flight from the Selous and now, thanks to a new fast service from Coastal Aviation, just two hours from the Serengeti.
Zanzibar is blessed with miles of glorious white sand beaches, protected by the coral reef that rings the majority of the island. There are secluded coves, working beaches where the dhow fisherman leave their boats, private stretches of untouched sand and, equally, stretches of sand with sun-beds as far as the eye can see (although our clients usually prefer to avoid these!). This is an island with something for everyone.
The western side of the island has little to offer in beach terms save in the far north and south. As you move anti-clockwise around coast from Stone Town
the first lodge / hotel of note is The Residence, on the western side of Zanzibar’s southerly tip. The beaches here tend to take the form of small coves flanked by rocky cliffs - they're ok, but there are better beaches elsewhere.
Rounding the south of the island towards the bottom half of the east coast, an almost uninterrupted beach stretches all the way to the Michamvi Peninsula. Some parts are better than others, but in places this is one of Zanzibar's best beaches. There are many good lodges here including some of our favourites to the north. The central village of Paje on this south east coast has become a world centre for kite surfing.
Crossing Chwaka Bay towards the upper half of the eastern coast, this area is dominated by the beaches of Kiwengwa and Matemwe. Kiwengwa is the domain of some of the island's largest resorts (generally best avoided!) but Matemwe is a great stretch of sand with several high quality boutique lodges.
At the northern tip of Zanzibar, generally regarded as the prettiest part of the island, lies the village of Nungwi. This once sleepy fishing village is now a travel hotspot, with some great lodges to the east and a lively backpacker’s area on the western side.
Continuing around the coast to the west and south brings us to the beach area of Kendwa, home to Zanzibar’s finest beach. Zuri Zanzibar
is a new opening and a firm favourite; although less intimate than we usually like it is simply superb.