In the southern hemisphere, washed by the waters of the Indian Ocean, is the island of Zanzibar – the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago in Tanzania. At its farthest northern tip is the fishing village of Nungwi. Nungwi is the second or third largest settlement on Zanzibar, with a population of about 5,500 people.
Nungwi is characterized by absolutely all the attributes present in fishing villages: a functioning lighthouse, a fish market with a daily varied catch, a shipyard for the manufacture and repair of ships for fishermen.
For a long time this settlement remained aloof from the tourism business developing in Zanzibar, but tourists coming here from all over the world realized that Nungwi has the best beach on the island. The number of vacationers was constantly growing and, as a result, the village began to be surrounded by hotels, restaurants, bars, shops. Now the resort of Nungwi is one of the busiest and most popular places for a beach holiday in Zanzibar.
If we talk about accommodation on the Nungwi Beach in Zanzibar, then it is expensive, despite that there are a lot of hotels here. But the really good ones, which you can safely call the best hotels in Zanzibar in terms of price-to-quality ratio, number about ten only.
Below are these best hotels on the Nungwi Beach that are highly rated on booking.com and are popular among tourists.
1. DoubleTree Resort by Hilton 4 *
Is suitable for those tourists for whom comfortable living conditions are important. The hotel is located in the north of Zanzibar, almost on the beach, so the rooms offer magnificent views of the ocean. For a double room in DoubleTree in the high season you have to pay $300 – $370 per night.
2. Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort 5 *
Is located on the north coast of the island, on a beach with a coral reef. The hotel has a gorgeous tropical garden, there are 4 outdoor pools, a gym and water sports facilities. The hotel operates on an all-inclusive program, and if you compare with other options in Nungwi, then for the same money, guests get much more here. The cost of a double room per day is $350 – 500.
3. Warere Beach 4 * hotel
In the village of Nungwi, at a distance of a kilometer from the lighthouse and not far from the beach, there is a Warere Beach 4 * hotel. Some of the advantages: there is a World Wide supermarket nearby, there is an outdoor pool in the hotel premises, and there a private beach is equipped. Double room in high season will cost $70 – $150 per day.
4. Ebony & Ivory Beach Bungalows
The popular Ebony & Ivory Beach Bungalows are located in the central part of the beach, next to a souvenir market and a liquor store. This location can be considered a huge advantage for this Nungwi hotel, because in Tanzania, alcohol shopping is a huge rarity. Double rooms here you can rent quite cheaply: $35 – $100 per day depending on the season.
5. Amaan Bungalows 3 *
This complex is located within walking distance from the beach, it offers an outdoor pool and a spa and wellness center. The cost of a double room is between $70 – $150.
Beach holidays in Nungwi
The beaches in Nungwi are the most wonderful in Zanzibar. The water is clear, clean, warm and with constantly changing shades. The sand is snow-white, soft, fluffy and as good as it gets. There is practically no garbage on the shore, only sometimes water brings in a lot of algae.
The sandy coastal strip is long, divided into several beaches. There are always quite a lot of people on the main beach, which starts from DoubleTree by Hilton and stretches west towards the beaches of Kendwa.
But Nungwi beach is considered the best, because you can swim there even at low tide: because of the greater depths of the ocean, the water does not leave the coast more than 300 meters for 3-4 hours in time. Ebb tides are much more pronounced on the northern coast of Zanzibar Island, closer to the lighthouse and fishing shipyard.
At low tide, you can walk far along the beach, you can even walk to Kendwa. But you need to be careful not to step on sea urchins – at low tide they are found near the water’s edge.
You also need to keep track of time, because the water returns very quickly! If, nevertheless, during a long walk, you catch a tide, you can hail the boats. The local residents often swim to the shore and offer 10,000 shillings to be brought to Nungwi or Kendwa.
There are sun loungers with umbrellas on the Nungwi beaches – they are located next to the souvenir bazaar, the fee for the whole day is 10,000 shillings. If you wish, you can rent a double catamaran with the captain – for an hour and a half you will have to pay $30.
Sunset at Nungwi Beach in Zanzibar provides a great opportunity to click amazing photos. Not only is nature at this time of indescribable beauty, the cafes on the shore arrange tables with lit candles in a beautiful manner. In short, it becomes very nice and romantic.
But, there is one huge negative point that interferes with a relaxing holiday on the beaches of Nungwi, maybe even throughout Zanzibar. That is endless harassment from beach hawkers, who try to very intrusively sell an excursion, souvenirs, massages, etc. They wait for vacationers immediately at the exit of the hotel, and then on the beach at the exit from the water. Sometimes, these hawkers get so annoying that you have to run from the beach to the hotel.
How to have fun in Nungwi
Fishing lovers will find Nungwi a great beach to holiday in Zanzibar. Here, in the settlement of fishermen, lie some fantastic opportunities to go fishing in the ocean. The nearest ocean waters usually catch dorado, tuna, barracuda and sea bass.
2. Surfing / Paddling
On the Nungwi beach, the conditions are ideal for practicing surfing. A board, paddle and vest can be rented for $15 per hour. Two kilometers from the Warere Beach Hotel, there is the East Africa Divers Diving Center, where you can not only rent the necessary equipment, but also use the services of a PADI guide/trainer.
If you wish, you can take a walk along the beach to the lighthouse or go to the village to buy fresh exotic fruits. If you go to the lighthouse and to the fishing village, it is better to put on at least a pair or shorts with a T-shirt, because the local population sometimes reacts too aggressively to white tourists in swimsuits. It is important to remember that it is completely safe only in hotels and on the coast, where there is security.
By the way, almost any place in Nungwi is located within walking distance, although there is also a taxi service here. The cost of trips are not too high. For example, to get from the more comfortable eastern part of the beach to the more lively western part, you will have to pay about $3.
3. Mnarani marine turtles
Among the places recommended for visiting in Nungwi, Mnarani Marine Turtles is worth mentioning. This is a small picturesque reserve with green turtles and biss turtles. It is located on the north side, near the lighthouse, a little deep in the island, and you can go to it directly from the beach.
Mnarani Marine Turtles has nursery aquariums with small turtles and slightly older ones, as well as a natural lagoon with adult turtles. In this reservoir, visitors are allowed to swim with turtles and feed them cabbage and algae, which are issued by employees on the spot.
Important: swimwear should not be green, as turtles can confuse them with food and bite.
And here you can take beautiful photos in memory of Nungwi and Zanzibar, against the background of the picturesque lagoon, while feeding turtles or swimming with them.
It is better to come on a tour in the morning (opening at 10:00), when there are still a few people. Admission price is $7 per person if you just look, or $10 per person if you wish to swim and feed the turtles.
4. Nungwi natural aquarium
The Nungwi Natural Aquarium is located directly on the beach, and the entrance to it is right at the beach.
Here you can see turtles, from very young to adults, but they are not allowed to swim with them – just watch and feed. In the premises of the nursery there is a skeleton of a huge adult whale, as well as many remains of dolphins, which died on a large scale in 2006.
Admission fee is $5 per person.
4. Island Tours
From Nungwi, you can travel around the island with various tours. You can go on a trip yourself or as an organized group (as a rule, each hotel offers various excursion programs).
For example, you can take a walk in the Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, which many call simply the Jozani rainforest. It’s only an hour to go from Nungwi. Wild monkeys walk freely in the park, and watching them is quite a pleasure.
No less exciting will be a trip to the Cheetah Rock Reserve. In fact, this is a shelter for rescued wild animals, in which conditions are created to mimic their natural habitats.
Many companies can take you on an hour-long excursion to one of the spice farms in Zanzibar (there are several of them in Zanzibar). On the farm you can see, touch, smell and try a lot of things: turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, pepper, cloves, cardamom.
On the east coast of the island of Zanzibar is the administrative center of the same name. You can go there only for the sake of the old Stone Town center, in which the main attractions are concentrated. 5 hours are enough to go around Stone town, on your own or with a guide who offers their services for tourists on city streets.
Cost of food in Nungwi
The infrastructure on the Nungwi Beach in Zanzibar is relatively well developed: there is a World Wide supermarket, two shops with alcohol, and a lot of restaurants with a huge assortment of dishes at affordable prices. By the way, due to great competition, the cost of food in Nungwi is the lowest on the island. Approximate prices in restaurants on the beach are indicated below in local currency (shillings):
- grilled fish (tuna, king, dorado) with rice, potatoes and vegetables – 10,000;
- medium lobster (2 pieces), grilled, with rice, potatoes and vegetables – 25,000;
- Lobster paste (portion) – 16,000;
- grilled squid with rice, potatoes and vegetables – 14,000;
- grilled octopus with rice, potatoes and vegetables – 14,000;
- king prawns (4 pieces) from the grill, with rice, potatoes and vegetables – 15,000;
- assorted pizza – 16,000;
- chicken soup – 5,000;
- beer (0.5 liter bottle) – in the store 3,500, in the bar 4,000;
- water (1 liter bottle) – 1,000.
Of the fruits on the market, you can buy pineapples (the price depending on the season can be 1,000 or between 2,500 – 3,000 shillings), bananas and passion fruit (3,000 shillings each) and mangoes (prices depend on the size of the fruit).
Near the only roundabout in Nungwi, there is an eatery where fast food is prepared for local residents. On a huge roasting pan, they fried meat, egg and onion wrapped in dough. One piece of this dish costs 3,000 shillings. It is very tasty, if you can ignore the relatively unhygienic conditions prevailing around. This eating joint opens in the evening, after sunset.
Weather in Nungwi
In June-October, the air on the island warms up to +26 ° C during the day, and in December-February the temperature rises to +28 – +37 ° C, sometimes even to +40 ° C.The climate in Zanzibar is characterized by enviable constancy, so it’s enough to know the months favorable for rest in order for this vacation to be successful.
April-May and November are the rainy season, which are sometimes weak, and often so strong that they completely close the hotels. Flying to Zanzibar at this time is also not worth it because malaria mosquitoes become especially active during this time. The chances of being bitten by these insects during the dry period are extremely slim.
The most suitable months for a vacation in Zanzibar, including on the Nungwi beach, are January-March, June-October, December.
Since the sun on the island is very active, you should definitely take a strong sunscreen on your trip. And in any case, in the afternoon in the open sun on the beach you can be no longer than an hour. It is best to swim in the morning, from 8:00 to 10:00 and in the afternoon, from 16:00 to 18:00.
How to get to Nungwi
During any trip to Nungwi, this question always arises: “How to get from the Zanzibar airport to the hotel in Nungwi?” You can take a taxi, or you can use public transport as we describe below.
1. Public transport
This option is the cheapest, but at the same time the longest and most tedious. It is unlikely that it will be suitable for vacationers with children and large luggage, but it is quite suitable for financially constrained travelers without things.
First you need to get to Stone Town, using a taxi ($ 10-15) or dala-dala ($ 1). “Dala-dala” – this is what Tanzania calls minibuses converted from small trucks. The same dala dala and buses go from Stone Town to Nungwi (ticket $ 1.5). Such a path in time will take 2-3 hours, and in addition you still need to walk to the hotel.
Right in the parking lot near Zanzibar Airport there are many taxi minibuses. But the problem is that you will have to communicate with the driver in broken English.
It is much more convenient to book a transfer in advance: the driver will meet you at the airport, the trip. It is advisable to contact Zanzibar companies or taxi drivers already checked by other travelers. You may need these contacts:
- Taxi driver Mr. Ally – Organizes a transfer “airport-hotel”, excursions to attractions. If you bargain, it can provide a good discount (transfer to Nungwi not for 50, but for $ 35). Email: [email protected], Facebook: Ally Makei; Phone: +255 773 104273.
- Zanzibar Express Car Hire – Here you can rent a car, book a transfer and tour. You can also agree on a discount. Company website: www.zanzibarexpresscarhire.com.
Prices on the page are for September 2018.
When planning a trip to Nungwi (Zanzibar, Tanzania), read this article again. We have collected a lot of diverse information, which is sure to come in handy on a picturesque island with luxurious beaches. Enjoy your holiday in Zanzibar!