Zanzibar Beaches

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living" - Miriam Beard

Zanzibar Island also known as “Unguja” has gained a lot of popularity as a beach holiday destination, and yet still retains its authentic island style and laid back Zanzibari charm. The island has a rich history and an extraordinary blend of African, Arabic and European cultures, best seen in Stone Town, where the colourful tapestry is most evident in the architecture and marketplaces. In addition to the remarkable history and culture, Zanzibar offers some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean are home to varied marine life and exceptional coral reefs, making a look beneath the turquoise waters spectacular. Zanzibar Island is a destination in itself, however, combining a Tanzania safari adventure with a relaxed beach holiday makes for a truly memorable and well-rounded holiday in Africa.

From humble beginnings as a fishing village and dhow-making centre known only to a handful of visitors, NUNGWI – being the village and beaches either side of Zanzibar’s northernmost point. Nungwi has three distinct areas; Nungwi Village which sits a short distance inland and is practically invisible from the shore, and the two main stretches of beach, where almost all the beach resorts, bars and restaurants are located. The Eastern Shore is quite calm, with no facilities outside of its few boutique beach resorts, which make it a nice retreat for couples and its beach is attractively wild. The Western Shore iCs much busier with larger hotels and ideal for those who are looking for a party mood. The most intimate place to stay at Nungwi is at the: Mnarani Beach Cottages. A Nungwi Village visit which can be combined with a visit to the dhow builders centre and a visit to the Mnarani Aquarium as well as a Sunset Dhow Cruise are some of the interesting, and captivating activities to enjoy here.

Pongwe Beach is located at the southern end of the white sand that runs from Matemwe to Chwaka Bay. Featuring a permanent sand beach, complete with lapping waves and azure waters, the area has fabulous beaches perhaps the best piece of beach on Zanzibar Island. At low tide, it is not ideal to swim in the ocean however, the Pongwe Beach Hotel does have a nice swimming pool which looks out to the powdery sandy beach and the infinite Indian Ocean. The hotel prides itself in serving guests as one of Zanzibar’s most relaxing hotels within a stress-free environment in a spectacular location.

Matemwe is a village and beach area located on the northeast coast of Zanzibar. Here the main source of income is based on agriculture especially seaweed and fishing. The area has quality beach resorts that are ideal for the visitors who prefer exclusivity by getting away from the mass tourism that flock the busier coastlines on Zanzibar Island. A beach holiday at Matemwe allows you to enjoy long walks along the white sand powdery beach and to enjoy the beautiful crystal sea while relaxing and experiencing a laidback beach holiday. The Matemwe Beach is the longest of Zanzibar and is subject to tides. Matemwe has a beginners PADI course where beginners can learn how to dive. Advanced divers can explore the nearby Mnemba atoll which lies 15 minutes away and is perfect for snorkelling and diving, allowing you to discover the show that the reef provides, together with the spectacular marine life in it. Renowned as one of the best snorkelling and dive sites off the African coast, Mnemba Reef is home to a startling diversity of tropical fish and a resident of bottlenose dolphins. Sail out to the reef on a dhow, accompanied by our watersports staff who will guide you through this underwater world. A private snorkelling excursion can be arranged at the resort. Guests can also enjoy kayaking, kite surfing and other high-adrenaline watersports around the Matemwe Beach.

Michamvi Peninsula

Michamvi is flanked to the east by especially dreamy beaches. The northern tip - Ras Michamvi area has lovely sandy coves and with more personal boutique beach resorts that have superb views. Wherever you stay on Michamvi, interaction with locals is limited, and you’re also limited in your choice of restaurants and bars, as the ones in all-inclusive resorts (mostly in and around Dongwe) do not admit day-trippers. That said, if you just want sand and sea, and are content with the activities offered by your chosen hotel, you’ll have a wonderful time. Where to stay… How to get there… What to do…

The long beach at Jambiani possesses a wild and windy beauty, and is quite the best place in Zanzibar to enjoy the pleasures of both beach and village life without feeling hampered about where you can swim or how you dress (on the beach, that is; obviously, cover up when in the village). The barrier reef lies a few Kilometres out, and the nearby lagoon has a mix of sandbanks, coral reefs and shallow water, great for snorkelling, and for exploring around pools at low tide. The beach, as long as much of the east coast, is very tidal, so swimming is only possible at high tide unless you fancy a long walk.

Almost at the southern tip of Unguja, 53km from Stone Town, KIZIMKAZI is best known to tourists for its dolphin tours, and to historians for being one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on Zanzibar. The dolphin tours here start at Menai Bay which is home to resident pods of bottlenose and indo-pacific humpback, and swimming with dolphins is, for many visitors, a dream come true. At Tima Tours we have a Zanzibar Cultural Tour that takes visitors to Kizimkazi village on a day trip from Stone Town.