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Zanzibar's Beaches

Fast Facts

Major Attractions
  • Market places
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Coral reefs
  • Abundant sea life
  • Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Fishing safari - Deep sea fishing
  • Cultural visit - historical town tours, spice tours, prison island - aldabra tortoise, markets, old slave markets
  • Boat safari - Dhow boat trip
  • Dolphin safari - Kizimkazi
  • Unguja(Zanibar Island): 995 square miles Pemba Island: 608 square miles
  • Zanzibar forms part of the East African nation of Tanzania. It is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean that is 25-50 kilometres off the coast of Tanzania. The archipelago consists of 2 large islands and many smaller islands. The 2 large islands are Unguja(Zanzibar Island) and Pemba.


Zanzibar’s coastline is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, warm clear blue waters, idyllic islands, excellent reefs for snorkeling and diving, fantastic deep sea fishing and water sports activities. It is an idyllic beach holiday with charisma, coconut palms and powder soft coral sands washed by cobalt clear sea.

Zanzibar beaches are among the best in the world, and have a very special charm; views from the palm-fringed sands reveal the hand-sewn sails of traditional wooden fishing dhows, and ocean explorers discover the glorious depths of thriving coral reefs all around.

The best beaches on Zanzibar Island are to the North and East, where the sun shines on luminescent clear waters in a range of striking turquoise blues, and the sand is clean and bright and fine. The northern peninsula of Zanzibar is truly stunning, and for anyone with a passion for beaches it has all the elements of paradise. Nungwi is located on the northern peninsula. This is the dhow building capital of Zanzibar Island, so it is a good place to see traditional craftsmen at work.

On the west coast of Zanzibar, Mangapwani beach is worth a visit, and to the east are the beaches of Matemwe, Pwani Mchangani, Kiwengwa, Uroa, Bwejuu and Jambiani, all with apparently endless swathes of sand sweeping as far as the eye can see. The sea is generally fairly shallow and gently shelving. When the tide is out, the way is opened to walk the long distances exposed and bathe in shallow pools left warming in the sand.

Chumbe Island Coral Park

Chumbe Island Coral Park is just off Zanzibar, and is the first marine sanctuary in Zanzibar. It is a colourful small island surrounded by a shallow reef alive with 90% of all coral species ever recorded in East Africa, estimated around two hundred species. The fronds and shadows of this wide coral garden are home to over 350 species of fish, sea turtles and lobster, and the small coral rag island rises up at the centre with a host of other living creatures its protective embrace.


Mnemba Island is a tiny dream island with the impressive accolade of being one of the most romantic and exclusive coral atoll islands in the world. It’s sandy shores are surrounded by a rich, colourful reef brimming with fish, both small and pretty and large and impressive, such as dolphin, barracuda, tuna and shark-like swimmers. The islands centre is a cool pine forest.


The main island of Zanzibar, Unguja has a fauna which reflects its connection to the African mainland during the last ice age. Endemic mammals with continental relatives include the Zanzibar red colobus, one of Africa’s rarest primates. The Zanzibar red colobus may number only about 1500. Isolated on this island for at least 1,000 years, the Zanzibar red colobus is recognized as a distinct species, with different coat patterns, calls and food habits than related colobus species on the mainland.

Zanzibar red colobus live in a wide variety of drier areas of coastal thickets and coral rag scrub, as well as mangrove swamps and agricultural areas. About one third of the red colobus live in and around Jozani Forest- Ironically, the easiest monkeys to see are on farm land adjacent to the reserve. They are used to people and the low vegetation means they come close to the ground.

Rare native animals include the Zanzibar leopard, which is critically endangered and possibly extinct and the recently described Zanzibar servaline genet. There are no large wild animals in Zanzibar, and forest areas such as Jozani are inhabited by monkeys, bush-pigs, small antelopes, civets, and, rumor has it, the elusive Zanzibar leopard.

Various species of mongoose can also be found on the island. There is a wide variety of birdlife, and a large number of butterflies in rural areas. Pemba island is separated from Unguja island and the African  continent by deep channels and has a correspondingly restricted fauna, reflecting its comparative isolation from the mainland. Its best-known endemic is the Pemba flying fox.


The two Islands are located in the Indian Ocean about 35km off the coast of mainland Tanzania at longitude 39 degrees East and latitude 6 degrees South of Equator. Pemba is about 40 miles long and 14 miles wide. It has a surface area of 608 square miles (2,332 square kilometers). It is located about 36 miles from the continent and 29 miles north-east of Unguja Island. Unguja Island is 50 miles long and 24 miles wide. It has a surface area of 995 square miles. It is separated from the continent by a 21 mile corridor at its narrowest point. Its highest point is 390 feet above sea level.


Zanzibar experiences ideal holiday weather for most of the year, with the exception of April and May, which are seasonally subject to the long rains. Short rains can occur in November but are characterized by short showers, which do not last long.

The heat of summer is seasonally often calmed by windy conditions, resulting in pleasant sea breezes, particularly on the North and East coast. Being near the equator, the islands are warm all year round but officially summer and winter peak in December and June respectively. Zanzibar is blessed with an average of 7-8 hours of sunshine daily.


  • SUMMER – November to May Hot, some humidity with some rains in November, May and June.
  • WINTER – June to October Warm with rains in June, otherwise sunny.
  • BEST – December to March and July to October

Accommodation at Zanzibar's Beaches

Amaan Bungalows

Amaan Bungalows Beach Resort

Discover the ideal blend of modern elegance and classic charm at Amaan Bungalows. The resort is located on a beachfront, with the beachfront rooms situated amongst a tropical paradise of pristine beauty.


Baraza Resort & Spa

Baraza Resort and Spa might be mistaken for a whitewashed sultan’s palace, with shimmering mosaic interiors, lots of creamy, carved marble and battered brass lanterns. It is wonderfully grand and Arabic in style.

Bluebay Beach Resort1

Bluebay Beach Resort

Most of the bedroom cottages are located on rising ground which overlooks verdant tropical gardens, the sparkling white sandy beach and the azure Indian Ocean and its coral reef.

Breezes Zanzibar1

Breezes Beach Club & Spa

Each of the rooms at Breeze's is decorated in shades of ivory and stone and all have traditional wood carvings and hand-crafted furniture.

Che Che Vule Villa

Che Che Vule

All villa's have private balconies and a large living room, leading out to the sun deck which provides outstanding views and private access to the sandy beach and crystalline ocean.

Chumbe Island Coral Park1

Chumbe Island Coral Park

Chumbe has seven stunning eco-buildings each incorporating state-of-the-art eco-architecture and using local materials with coconut palm thatch.

Dongwe Ocean View 2

Dongwe Ocean View

A new boutique resort situated on one of Zanzibar’s most beautiful beaches. It boasts breathtaking scenery and is the perfect setting for a relaxing holiday.

Dream Of Zanzibar4

Dream Of Zanzibar

The exclusive and elegant atmosphere of the hotel is perfect for guests looking for the perfect luxury hideaway.

Echo Beach Villa

Echo Beach Hotel

At Echo Beach Hotel, large private villas offer spacious and stylish accommodation combining unpretentious African architecture with state of the art technology, interior design, fixtures and fittings.

Fumba Beach Lodge2

Fumba Beach Lodge

The main focus of the lodge is on the communal area, which is made up of a beautiful old dhow which has been converted into a bar by the sea.

Kasha Boutique Hotel 1

Kasha Boutique Hotel

The hotel, which is built on a cliff, has 11 luxury villas epitomizing beauty and absolute serenity, situated with an amazing view over the lagoon of the Mnemba Atoll coral reef.

Kendwa Rocks, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Kendwa Rocks

Kendwa Rocks caters for every need and budget. The relaxed Zanzibari atmosphere of the hotel will relax you in no time.

Kikidini Villas1

Kikadini Villas

A stay in the Kikadini Villas is a truly magical experience. With "The Arabian Nights" in mind, each of the 4 individually styled villas has been designed to incorporate Arabic architecture.


Kilindi Zanzibar

The resort, fringed by casuarina trees and set on a magnificent beach, offers luxurious accommodations in 15 arched pavilion-style villas with unique domed roofs, spread across acres of lush tropical gardens.

Kono Kono Villa Outside

Kono Kono Beach Villas

This magnificent property consists of eleven villas that have been designed to provide you with maximum relaxation. Each villa has been roofed with “Makuti” thatch rustic materials and each has its own private plunge pool.

La Gemma Dell 'est, Zanzibar, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

La Gemma Dell'Est

This is Zanzibar's largest hotel and is known for its modern European style, its exquisite views from every room, and for its welcoming waters, which are suitable for swimming all day long.

Mapenzi Beach Club5

Mapenzi Beach Club

While admiring the luxurious gardens with tall palm trees and colourful bougainvillea or the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean, the deluxe rooms will ensure that you relax in the sheer beauty of tropical nature.

Matemwe Lodge5

Matemwe Lodge

Matemwe's secluded location and famed relaxed atmosphere makes it the ideal place to unwind. Fresh seafood, refreshing cocktails and relaxing massages are just some of the laid-back daily routines.

Matemwe Retreat3

Matemwe Retreat

Matemwe Retreat consists of four self contained private villas, each with uninterrupted views of the turquoise Indian Ocean. The villas have been designed to cater for those looking for pure escapism and feature in-house dining and private butler service.

Mchanga Beach Lodge

Mchanga Beach Lodge

Each room has its own sea facing, makuti covered sand terrace including two chairs and a table where early morning coffee and tea are delivered. A perfect way to start the day.

Mnemba Island Lodge2

Mnemba Island Lodge

Mnemba Island Lodge is an exclusive retreat for those seeking the ultimate idyll and complete desert island chic.

Neptune Pwani Beach1

Neptune Pwani Beach

The Neptune Pwani Beach has been meticulously created, emulating traditional Zanzibar style, using the best in local design, interiors and furnishing and meeting top international standards.

Ocean Paradise Resort

Ocean Paradise Resort

Coconut palms swinging in the breeze, white sandy beach, beautiful landscaped gardens, traditional style round chalets with pitched makuti roof, a stunning waterfall feature and the largest swimming pool in Zanzibar are just some of the sights that await you.

Pongwe Beach Hotel 1

Pongwe Beach Hotel

The resort’s beautiful gardens surround sixteen beach front Zanzibarian cottages. You will find various local hand crafted Zanzibarian doors and traditional beds decorating the rooms.

Samaki Lodge, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Samaki Lodge

Samaki Lodge has a private beach, equipped with beds, tables and umbrellas and is ideal for sunbathing and relaxing under the hot African sun.

Shooting Star Rooftops

Shooting Star

Accommodation at Shooting Star Lodge is built to a high standard in traditional Zanzibari style with white lime-washed walls, high beamed ceilings and large windows.

Star Of the East1

Star Of The East

Personal butler service, a private beach and unmatched all-inclusive services accommodate the most discerning traveler with ultimate comfort, privacy and luxury.

Sultan Sands2

Sultan Sands

Sultan Sands is a large resort, with rooms built in single storey African style rondavels. Each rondavel consists of two tastefully decorated rooms with a separate changing room leading into the superbly appointed en-suite bathroom.


The Palms

Once rated as number one island destination by the BBC Holiday program 'World Top Ten Islands', this property comprises of six private villas that are beautifully designed and decorated to create an atmosphere of pure relaxed, understated elegance.

The Residence1

The Residence

Set in isolated splendor on the south west coast of the island, on 32 hectares of pristine land once occupied by the Shirazi Princes, The Residence Zanzibar is a dream fit for a Sultan.

Z Hotel

The Z Hotel

Set in a lush, tropical garden with direct access to the white powder beaches and warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the Z hotel has been finished to a high specification by an international team of architects and interior designers.

Zanzibari Hotel1

The Zanzibar Hotel

At the Zanzibar Hotel they focus on providing an intimate, tranquil and private atmosphere with an added personal touch that will ease you into relaxation.

Unguja Lodge09

Unguja Lodge

The design of Unguja is modern and quite unique with lots of large white curving walls and high thatched makuti roofs giving a feeling of space to the central areas.

Uroa Bay Beach Resort7

Uroa Bay Beach Resort

Uroa Bay Beach Resort has 3 different styles of accommodation including, sea front rooms, sea view rooms and garden view rooms.

Zanzibar Safari Club, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Zanzibar Safari Club

This hotel perfectly combines a high standard of international hospitality and services with the best exotic touches of the local lifestyle, offering to its guests a real, yet magical experience of Zanzibar.

Optional Activities in Zanzibar's Beaches