The main island of the Zanzibar archipelago is a traditionally attractive place for tourists who are attracted by a beach holiday on the picturesque ocean coast. The beaches of Zanzibar, where the water is clear and the wide coastline is covered with white sand, are rightfully considered one of the best in the Indian Ocean. And the reefs around Zanzibar are excellent for diving and snorkeling.
Why go to Zanzibar for a beach vacation
The geographical position of the island is such that the air temperature almost never drops below 21 degrees Celsius. In August, when it is winters in Zanzibar, the average highs are within the range of 29-31 degrees with a minimum temperature of about 24 deg C.
For this reason, summery conditions prevail the year-round. The sea, warms up perfectly, up to 28 degrees, depending on the month.
The swimming season on the best beaches of Zanzibar lasts almost the whole year, with the exception of the periods of rains that occur in April, May and November. Read here about the best time to visit Zanzibar.
You can still swim at this time, one can never tell how much it will rain or with what intensity. However, violent and prolonged heavy rains do occur that affect the life of the whole island.
Despite these isolated “buts” that occur only a couple of times a year, in general, the island of Zanzibar is a very suitable place for a beach holiday and other attractions. What remains to be chosen is the best beach on the whole island for swimming: with or without tides, with a beautiful beach, a safe bottom and comfortable service!
Here is a list of the best beaches for swimming in Zanzibar.
1. Nakupenda Beach – bright colors of the ocean
Of all the photos of the beaches of Zanzibar, Nakupenda Beach stands out with emerald blue shades of sea water. Framed by snow-white coastal sand under a deep blue sky, the landscapes look especially picturesque. Visiting tourists are impressed by the color and affability of local residents, which complement the overall picture of a paradise.
The beach got its name after the disappearing island of Nakupenda. In fact, the surface of the island’s beach is regularly hidden under water due to strong tides. It is located near Stone Town in the western part of the island. The entire infrastructure is imported, as are the tourists. However, they all unanimously reiterate that this is the best place, and it is worth it visit it and see everything with your own eyes.
The beach is relatively small, but clean and well visited – without any problems two to three hundred vacationers are easily accommodated. The coastal cover is exclusively sandy, the entry into the sea is gradual and there are many boats available for excursions. There are also various diving options, and crystal clear waters allow great visibility of underwater life.
The beach offers excellent and hearty dinners – a lot of seafood (always fresh), beans, french fries and drinks. And also souvenirs, colorful reefs, a lot of opportunities for photos and new experiences.
2. Jambiani Beach – the appeal of the tides
On the map of the beaches of Zanzibar, Jambiani is indicated almost at the most southeastern point of the island. This is one of the most remote places in Zanzibar and for this reason is less visited by tourists.
Coastal cover – fine white sand, that remains cool even in the midday heat according to vacationers. The seabed consists of corals, at some distance from the coast overgrown with algae. Some of them are exposed during low tide. The inhabitants of the ocean here are very different: sea urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers, crabs, etc., which makes for plenty to see for children.
You should be careful when entering the sea – at the bottom there are stones that become clearly visible during low tides. This inconvenience is fixable with the help of special slippers. Fans of the tides will be able to observe kilometer-long variants of this amazing natural phenomena, wander through the open spaces, and familiarize themselves with the fauna.
Jambiani beach is famous for its small tourist influx and its remoteness. It remains a favorite corner for a secluded vacation, which is facilitated by numerous small cafes, that are cozy and inexpensive. In a village nearby there is a market; on the beach itself you will not find many hawkers.
Travelers often choose Kendwa Beach as it is among the best beaches in Zanzibar without low tide. Small in length, with a wide beach strip, it is considered the most attractive on the northwest coast of Zanzibar.
From the nearby popular Nungwi beach, it is about half an hour on foot south along the sand spit. According to observations, the water here gets murky sometimes.
In general, Kendwa is known for white sand and the sea in turquoise shades. It is usually crowded, as there are many hotels and restaurants nearby, as well as small shops and merchants.
Due to high competition, the prices are quite low. Entering the water is comfortable with beautiful starfish dotting the floor. Near some hotels and cafes, when purchasing, for example, a drink, you can use a beach umbrella or a sun lounger.
Nungwi Beach is located on the extreme northern point of the resort island. It is considered one of the best beaches without tides for swimming in Zanzibar.
The main local attraction is the coral reef, which divers actively descend to. The sand is also of coral origin, soft, white and does not heat up under the sun. The turquoise water is always a delight for the tourists. The entry into the water is comfortable, the sea is clear and clean. Ebbs and flows are small.
The Nungwi beach is visited by many tourists. Excursions to the islands of the Zanzibar archipelago begin from here. Many consider Nungwi the best place for a bathing holiday due to the lack of waves.
A huge number of hotels and restaurants provide all possible amenities, fresh seafood, quality dinners, an inexpensive menu. In the evenings, you can enjoy beautiful sunsets and watch the Maasai dance.
5. Paje Beach – ideal for kiting
It occupies the east coast five kilometers north of Jambiani beach. Page beach is vast, approximately equally distant from the extreme northern and southern points of Zanzibar. This place is distinguished by the absence of stones on the seabed and is considered one of the smallest and most even. With Nungwi and Kendwa, it is best suited beach in Zanzibar for families with children. The weather is always great here.
Paje Beach belongs to the beaches of Zanzibar with almost no low tide. During low tide, the water remains knee-deep, and during high tide it is approximately chest-to-neck high. The sand is white and even, when entering the water you need to be careful not to step on the sea urchins. So it is better to use special shoes.
There are two kite schools here that help you quickly master the technique of kite surfing. You can rent a kite and ride it on your own too.
Nearby there are many restaurants, cafes, hotels, and it is possible to book a bungalow right on the beach. Thanks to the dive center, scooter rental, sailboat rental for trip to the reef, Paje beach is quite visited by tourists . It is almost always crowded here.
6. Matemwe Beach – high tides for swimming
This beach is located on the northeast coast of the island, next to the village of the same name. Matemwe is distinguished by the availability of hotels especially for Italian tourists. The hotels are expensive and the staff speaks Italian. Air-conditioned bungalows dot the well-groomed green lawns on the coast. Despite this, the beach itself is not crowded.
The sand bank is wide and the sea coast is abundantly inhabited by marine life. Sea urchins, starfish, crabs and other pointy creatures force one to wear safety shoes while swimming.
The tides here are very high, and since the sea is shallow, you can swim almost only during the arriving water. Tourists will receive plenty of offers to fish from the owners of the boats anchored along the coast, from the Masai to watch their dance shows or to join group excursions into the sea.
7. Uroa Bay – original and colorful
Uroa is located on the east coast of Zanzibar, about 40 km from Stone Town. Local residents are active on the beach as their village is located nearby and they depend on a seaweed farm here.
The tides are very distant – the water retracts by 2-3 km. During low tide, women come to collect seafood or to work on plantations of seaweed. You can find beautiful shells if you walk along the tidal banks.
The sand is white and soft, entry into the sea is almost safe, there are not many urchins, and the water is bright green. Locals offer excursions, including Russian-speaking ones, as well as henna painting and souvenir products. You will not find many people directly on the beach here as the tourists prefer to relax at their hotels.
8. Kiwengwa Beach – Beach Holidays & Activities
The best beaches in Zanzibar for swimming include Kiwengwa. This is the northeastern coast, with well-defined tides. The sand is white and soft, with palm groves shading hotels that line beside the bright blue ocean.
The floor is clean, making bathing in the sea a delightful experience. The beach is replete with offers from local merchants and local children vie for attention. There is a lot of music, performances and fun, but you can also find secluded places.
A visit to the beaches of Zanzibar makes for an unforgettable time, full of new experiences and beautiful sights that instills a desire to return!
The best beaches for swimming in Zanzibar are: