Paje beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Zanzibar!
Keep reading to find out what you can experience in and around Paje and for tips for your trip to the east coast of Zanzibar.
Table of Contents
- Paje Beach
- Activities on Paje Beach
- Eating in Paje
- Paje Town
- The Best Time to go to Paje
- Getting to Paje from Zanzibar Airport or Stone Town
- Is Paje Zanzibar’s most Beautiful Beach?
The small fishing village of Paje is located on a 20 km long sandy beach on the east coast of Zanzibar.
Due to an offshore coral reef, there are only little waves here and you can swim without the fear of choppy waters.
The almost white, fine sand is perfect for lying down and relaying on the beach. In addition, the sand hardly heats up, so you don’t have to worry about scorching the soles of your feet.
Sea Tides in Paje
High and low tides are particularly pronounced on Paje. The tide alternates roughly every 7 hours.
That means you can’t just jump into the turquoise blue water at any time.
During low tide, the water recedes nearly two kilometers and you can wade through the sand towards the horizon. The beach is still quite attractive even at low tide. You can walk forever in the shallow water.
The best swimming time is always around high tide. Two hours before high tide and two hours after high tide there is enough water to splash around extensively.
You can easily check the low and high tide times online.
Seaweed on the Beach
The tide always washes a lot of seaweed onto the beach. That doesn’t bother anyone, but it can ruin the postcard image of the picturesque beach a bit.
Many restaurants and accommodations on the beach therefore sweep up the seaweed and bury it in the ground.
Even when swimming or walking in the sea you sometimes go through the seaweed or it swims around you. It poses no danger but it is not appealing either.
The amount of seaweed floating around in the ocean or accumulating on the beach also seems to vary throughout the year.
For the local women, the seaweed is of great importance. They set up small seaweed farms, let the seaweed grow there and later dry it.
It is then processed into powder and used in cosmetics and food.
Let’s be honest. Your vacation on the beach will sometimes be a bit disturbed by the large number of beach boys that roam on Paje beach.
Always looking for a way to sell something, they chat up everyone who crosses their path.
You will be greeted in a friendly way, asked how you are and where you are from. After about a minute of small talk, you will almost be expected to buy jewelry, book a tour, or get a massage.
While this is not so bad the first few times, but it can get pretty annoying in the long run.
You can shorten the whole thing by either not reacting to them at all or by saying directly that you are not interested.
Activities on Paje Beach
The things to do in Paje are mostly all centered around the beach. That is no wonder because the sand and sea is the showpiece in this part of the world!
If you have had enough of the sun and beach, you can also experience a lot in the area around Paje.
Here are somethings you can enjoy at Paje and nearby destinations within 30 minutes of traveling.
One of the most popular activities in Paje is kitesurfing. Due to the constantly blowing wind and the low waves the conditions are optimal for kite-surfers.
As you might have guessed, there are a few kitesurfing schools on the beach that provide you with trained instructors and material. For one hour you have to pay about 50€. If you enroll for more hours, you can negotiate the price.
If you are already a practiced kite-surfer, you can also rent the equipment in the schools and then roll out on the water.
Even if you are not into kitesurfing, you can enjoy watching the surfers and their colorful wings in the sky above the sea.
In the high season it can get crowded with the many kite surfers. So be vigilant when you are in the waters.
Walk from Paje to Bwejuu or Jambiani
The 20 km long sandy beach literally calls for a long walk. You can walk north or south from Paje and spend hours on the way. At low tide it is also worth taking a walk towards the sea!
If you walk north from there, the next small town is Bwejuu. You can reach it after a good hour’s walk on the beach.
The level of the sea can change rapidly within this hour due to the changing tides! So either you walk in bathing suits or time it so that the water is not so high.
In the southern direction you can walk towards Jambiani. After about 15 minutes of walking you will have to trudge through a lot of seaweed, but the rest of the way always leads over the sand.
You can reach Jambiani after a 1.5 hour walk.
We were advised not to walk between the beach locations after sunset for safety reasons. But we always felt safe during the day and just after sunset.
Enjoy the Beach
The best way to enjoy the beach and the sea in Paje is on a sun lounger in the shade.
The African sun is quite harsh and the probability of sunburns here is high. Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in particular you should either always have the sunscreen ready to use or regularly go into the shade.
Along the beach you can also use the loungers of the various restaurants or hotels. As long as you buy something here, the use of loungers and parasols is free.
Visit Jozani Forest
Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is the only national park in Zanzibar. It is mainly the Red Colobus monkeys that attracts visitors to this ancient forest.
From Paje you can reach Jozani after 15 kilometers on the main road towards Stone Town.
You can either drive this route yourself with a rented scooter, take a taxi or take the Daladala (1000 TSH) towards Stone Town.
You can only visit Jozani National Park with a guide. The entrance fee of US$ 12 includes the guide who will lead you through the forest and over the mangroves.
The motivation and knowledge of the guide varies greatly and it is a matter of luck who gets assigned to you. At the end of the tour, the guides expect a tip.
You can book the excursion as a complete tour at your hotel or in the town. Then you have to calculate about $30 per person. It will be cheaper if you travel on your own with the Daldala.
If you take the local buses you will save a lot of money that way.
You can only take photos from the street if you can show an entry ticket to the park. We were made aware of this several times and also heard how other travelers were encouraged to buy tickets.
Since you are helping to preserve the Jozani Forest with your ticket, we think it’s okay. The tour isn’t terrific, but the forest is a nice spot where you can see some endemic species.
The highlight, of course, are the monkeys that freely climb around the trees.
Go on a Blue Safari Boat Trip
The Blue Safari is a snorkeling trip to a small island where you can swim around and explore the waters and the coral reef off the east coast.
In the morning you will be driven north by car about 30 minutes to board the boat for the excursion.
Each Blue Safari includes snorkeling at multiple locations and lunch on a sand-bank. Various sea creatures freshly prepared on a grill are served for lunch.
On the way back you can see a baobab tree and mangroves. The Blue Safari is often offered for $50 per person, but there is room for negotiation.
Eat at the Rock Restaurant
Only 15 kilometers north of Paje is the most famous restaurant in Zanzibar. The Rock is situated on a huge rock that gets surrounded by water at high tide. This unique location has made the restaurant famous and attracts a steady stream of visitors.
In the high season it can happen that the restaurant is fully booked for weeks.
If you really want to eat here, you should reserve a table online in good time. It’s fairly easy to do on the website.
Note that you are not allowed to book a table here just to have a drink. Eating a meal is mandatory.
Prices at The Rock Restaurant are significantly higher than other restaurants in Zanzibar. Here you pay for the location and the view!
For a cocktail you have to shell out 10 US$, the main courses cost north of 20$.
The food ok but not great. Portions are smaller than other restaurants. The cocktails are pretty good though.
Our tip: check beforehand when the tide is low or high. We specially coordinated our visit so that we could still arrive at low tide and walk to the restaurant. Two hours later the tide came in and we were rowed back to the beach in a boat.
Watch the Sunset at Michamvi
Just a few minutes drive from The Rock is the sunset beach at Michamvi.
Because of its location, it’s the only place on the East Coast where you can watch a sunset. At Sunset Beach you can watch the sun disappear and sip a sundowner in one of the bars or restaurants there.
Eating in Paje
The choice of restaurants in Paje is pretty wide. In fact it is said to have one of the best food scenes on the east coast of Zanzibar.
We can only recommend that you try out a few restaurants and give the local dishes a try as well.
However, you should not go out to eat if you are too hungry. Sometimes it takes up to an hour until you have a meal in front of you.
You will notice that the food is freshly cooked here. But the downside is that the service is slow and chaotic at times.
Beach Restaurants in Paje
At the southern end of the beach of Paje is the B4 Beachclub which offers regular events. Here you can dance into the sunset to electronic beats while enjoying the best burgers in town.
The burgers cost you from 20,000 TSH and come in 4 different versions. There are also vegan dishes, delicious drinks and shakes.
We were really excited about the pizza on the beach. In Delight restaurant, Italian food is offered in a stylish ambience. You have a sea view and very nice waiters on both of its two floors.
The pizzas cost between 20,000 and 27,000 TSH, which are almost European prices. The dough is super delicious and the topping is really good. The pizza is big enough for two to share.
Our tip: Sunday evening is Pizza Night and there is a 15% discount on all pizzas at Delight.
A few meters from Delight is Fisherman Restaurant, a local restaurant with many seafood dishes on the menu.
You can either sit on the terrace or on the beach when the tide is out. It is particularly nice here when there is music in the evening.
The main courses cost between 15,000 and 20,000 TSH, which are normal prices in Paje.
We must have waited an hour for our food here, so don’t be in a rush when you come here. The organization is a bit chaotic, but the food is okay.
Street food in Paje
If you want to try authentic Zanzibari cuisine, you will find it on Paje’s main street.
There you can eat like the locals do. There is a large selection and the food is very cheap.
There is chapati, grilled meat skewers (so-called mishkaki) and grilled corn on the cob. You can also get samosas with different fillings and other types of bread.
A specialty are the Mayay chips. These are french-fries that are baked into a kind of pancake in an egg.
The small town of Paje stretches mainly between the beach and the main road.
Behind the beach hotels, the simple huts with corrugated iron roofs are scattered around the sandy streets. There is a school in the village and a large soccer field, which is used for training even on the hottest days.
If you walk from the beach to the main road, cows will cross your path from time to time or watch you with tired eyes.
Locals often take little notice of you as a tourist unless they have an interest in selling you something.
Along the main road there are two small supermarkets selling biscuits, water and soft drinks. Here you can also get sunscreen or shower stuff, but you have to reckon with high prices for the imported goods.
Withdrawing Money in Paje
The only ATMS in town are at the roundabout in Paje.
Note that even if the machine doesn’t tell you that you have to pay machine fees – you still have to! That will be on your receipt later.
It often happens that the ATMs are empty.
In such a case, another ATM is located about 10 minutes on the road towards Stone Town at a gas station. It charges even higher fees (17,500TSH), but you can withdraw up to 600,000 TSH here.
Not far from the roundabout on the road towards Jambiani there is a laundry where you can have things washed. Unfortunately, they charge per item of clothing here, so this service is not cheap.
For example 1000 TSH will be charged per shirt. But it’s pretty quick, the laundry is air-dried and you get everything back neatly folded.
The Best Time to go to Paje
Paje is most beautiful in the summer months between June and August.
The humidity is not quite as high in the Tanzanian winter and the temperatures still reach a pleasant 25 to 30 degrees centigrade thanks to the tropical climate.
The sea is said to have a little less seaweed and in the evening it cools down to 20°C.
However, the high season is from December to February, even though these are the hottest months of the year.
The sea water is bathtub temperature and the sun rays are baking hot. It gets pretty crowded around Christmas and you should look for accommodation early.
In the rainy season in April and May, few tourists come to Paje and some hotels close for the off season completely.
Read more about when to travel to Zanzibar.
Getting to Paje from Zanzibar Airport or Stone Town
If you land at the international airport on Zanzibar, you have to cross the islands once to get to Paje.
The easiest way to get there is by taxi.
Usually your accommodation can organize a driver to pick you up at the airport and drop you off right in front of the door.
For the airport transfer you have to calculate about 35$.
If you’re traveling from Stone Town, you have a few more options. For the taxi ride to Paje you pay about 30$ or 60,000 TSH.
Alternatively, you can also take the public buses, the Daladalas. These stop at the roundabout in Paje and from here you have to walk the last few meters to your accommodation.
You should pay a maximum of 4000 TSH to take the Daladala from Stone Town.
Is Paje Zanzibar’s most Beautiful Beach?
Even if Paje has already been well conquered by tourists, the place still is an absolute jewel.
The beach accommodations are thatched and never higher than two stories.
As a result, the beach looks almost untouched and is one of the most beautiful beaches on Zanzibar.