Zanzibar

Best Beaches in Zanzibar – Nungwi, Stone Town, Paje, and More

Finding the best beach can be a challenge in a country that is just one island full of endless shores. It can definitely seem quite overwhelming. But whether you’re looking for pristine beaches, white sands, turquoise waters, or just a little peace and quiet, Zanzibar certainly has it all. So here we have it, the best beaches in Zanzibar, divided by region.

Northern Beaches – Pristine and Bustling

The Northern Beaches of Zanzibar offer some of the island’s most picturesque shores. Pristine white sands, turquoise, crystal clear waters, and luxurious resorts. Imagine a postcard for a tropical destination. That is the North Coast. And the best beaches on the north coast? Nungwi and Kendwa. Just about a 15-minute drive away from each other, these beaches are almost exactly the same. Beautiful, clean, and full of people and activities.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Nungwi

Because the north offers some of the best beaches in the country, it is also usually the most crowded. Tourists come from all around to stay at their all-inclusive resorts on the pristine beachfront. Because of this, the north coast is also significantly more expensive than some other areas of Zanzibar (almost 3x the price for the equivalent stay on the east coast)

One of the most alluring aspects of the north coast is the fact that the tides do not differ so drastically throughout the day. Although there is a very clear high tide and low tide, it is possible to swim at all hours of the day (and night). On the east coast, the tide difference is so drastic that you can’t really swim in the ocean for a good portion of the day.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Nungwi

If you are looking to do any type of water sports like jet skiing, the north coast is the best place! Since most of the tourists go straight there, they also offer the most activities. You can also find water sports options in the other areas of Zanzibar, but it is the most easily accessible from the North Coast.

1. Nungwi

Beyond being famous for its beautiful beaches, Nungwi is famous for being the center of dhow (traditional boat) building in Zanzibar. Originally discovered by backpackers and hippies, it has become much more touristic over the years as resort after resort popped up along the beachfront. Regardless, it is still an amazing place with a wonderful mix of people. Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful sunsets from one of the areas rooftop bars!

Best beaches in Zanzibar Nungwi

2. Kendwa

Although essentially the same as the nearby Nungwi beach (they are only about 15 minutes drive apart), Kendwa does boast the best place to party in all of Zanzibar. Kendwa Rocks has a monthly full moon party at their club right on the beach.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Nungwi Kendwa

Where to Stay on the North Coast

We spent three lovely nights in Nungwi at the Z Hotel. The resort itself was simply lovely with an infinity-like pool, a private beach, and a rooftop bar. The staff were absolutely AMAZING and they made our time there feel so special. If you’re looking to go horseback riding on the beach, they also have their own stables – Zanzibar Horse Club.

Nungwi Z Hotel Zanzibar Itinerary

If you’re looking for a less expensive option or traveling solo, Nungwi also has many bungalows to rent and lovely hostels!

Eastern Beaches – Restful and Quiet

The East Coast of Zanzibar is a completely different atmosphere compared to the bustling north coast. Everything is much more relaxed, there is far less to do (in a good way) and there is a truly peaceful vibe, Not to mention that everything is MUCH less expensive. The biggest downside is that the tides vary a lot during the day. I would say that for at least half the day they will be so far back that you really can’t realistically go swimming in the ocean (without walking a significant distance). But, once the tides come in, it makes it worth it!

Best beaches in Zanzibar Bwenjuu

3. Bwenjuu

Bwenjuu is a very small little town, the definition of quiet and peaceful. We stayed at the Sahari Hotel in Bwenjuu and had some of the loveliest days of our trip. We could stargaze at the clear sky with no light pollution. There were no sounds at all except for the few other guests, total relaxation. When we first drove up I was a bit skeptical of the quiet, but after just a few moments it was clear how enjoyable it would be.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Bwenjuu

4. Michamvi

The beach itself at Michamvi will most likely be fairly empty. Michamvi itself is actually a peninsula with very lovely beaches. But what used to be a quaint fisherman’s town, has turned into one of Zanzibar’s most famous tourist attractions. The Rock Restaurant was built on a rock in the middle of the ocean on Michamvi Pingwe beach. It instantly became one of Zanzibar’s most memorable icons.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Michamvi

5. Paje

Paje beach, just a short distance from Bwenjuu is one of the more popping east coast beaches. The town is a big larger than some of the others in the area and is definitely the best place to go kite surfing (probably in all Zanzibar). Paje also has a few lovely clubs where you can spend the whole night partying until you see the sun rising on the beach. B4 and Jambo are the most famous and have an amazing vibe. If you want to go club hopping, you can just walk right along the beach about 15-20 minutes between the two.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Paje

Where to Stay on the East Coast

The most important tip for where to stay on the East Coast…..Find a place with a pool. Realistically, you probably won’t be able to go swimming in the ocean until around 2pm, so a pool comes in very handy.

In general, the east coast is much less expensive than the northern coast (by about 1/3) and even stone town (about 1/2), but the same quality. We stayed at Sahari Hotel and absolutely loved it. The food was delicious, the pool was lovely, and the Wi-Fi was the best we had in all of Zanzibar (I was actually able to have full work meetings).

Stone Town (West Coast) – Perfect Combination of City and Beaches

Stone Town itself is not famous for the most beautiful beaches in Zanzibar. Oftentimes the water is a bit rougher than in other areas, not quite as clear, and full of boats (it is a port city after all). But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some amazing beaches to offer.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Stone Town

6. Nakupenda

Nakupenda Island, about a 20 minute boat ride from Stone Town, has one of the loveliest beaches in all Zanzibar, in my opinion. It’s a tiny, entirely empty island…not a tree or a shrub in sight. As a matter of fact, in the evening the island disappears entirely as the tides come up. But visiting in the morning or afternoon proves to be one of the loveliest experiences. If you go before 12pm I can almost guarantee you’ll have the island almost entirely to yourself. The clear waters, the stunning snorkeling opportunities, the brightest whitest sands. It’s truly a little oasis.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Nakupenda

7. Hotel Beaches

Although compared to some of Zanzibar’s other beaches, Stone Town may not be listed among the absolute best, they are still quite lovely! The nicest beach that we found was in front of the Serena Hotel or the Beach House. In the evenings the beach is full of locals playing football and enjoying the sunset. It’s really such a lovely atmosphere and opportunity to understand the local culture.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Stone Town

Check all all the amazing things to do in Stone Town: VISITING STONE TOWN? EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW -THINGS TO DO, PLACES TO EAT, WHERE TO STAY | ZANZIBAR TRAVEL

8. Mnemba Island – Luxurious Private Island Experience

By far the most luxurious option of them all, Mnemba Island is not for those on a budget. The island is very exclusive and private. There is a private coast guard that patrols the area to ensure no strangers land on the precious white shores. But, if you’re willing to spend a pretty penny I can assure you the experience will be like no other!

Best beaches in Zanzibar Mnemba

If you are more budget-oriented (like me) you can at least go snorkeling in the area surrounding the island. It is by far the best snorkeling in Zanzibar with a huge and stunning coral reef. Sea turtles are known to make the occasional appearance and are often seen hatching their eggs on Mnemba itself. You won’t be allowed to go near the actual land of the island, but the waters are stunningly clear and the snorkeling is definitely worth it.

Best beaches in Zanzibar Mnemba

Check out the details of this handmade swimsuit here: ZANZIBAR – THE 2 OUTFITS I MADE JUST FOR MY TRIP TO PARADISE | FASHION DESIGN

Locals will proudly tell you that Bill Gates, Naomi Campbell, and Tom Cruise have all visited this lovely place for a truly private and luxurious experience.

Looking for more amazing things to do in Zanzibar? Check out: 18 AMAZING THINGS YOU CAN’T MISS ON YOUR TRIP TO ZANZIBAR | THINGS TO DO

Have other questions before your visit? Check out: ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ZANZIBAR | EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR TRIP

Lots of Love and Safe Travels,

Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters

Join the discussion

  1. Pingback: Ultimate Guide to Zanzibar- Everything You Need to Know Before Your Trip

  2. Vansh Tiwari

    The photographs beautifully depict the writing. I can relate Zanzibar with North & South Goa.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you!! I’ve never been to Goa but hopefully one day…it looks lovely πŸ™‚

      • Vansh Tiwari

        Yeah, I had been to Goa almost a year back & I am still publishing the content from Goa. Now, I had been running a series of e days, hope you will visit by blog & you’ll love the series.

      • Colorful Sisters

        WOW I just went to check it out and it’s incredible! Looks like a truly magical place, with the wildlife and waterfalls. Your photography is lovely as well!

      • Vansh Tiwari

        Thank you 😊

  3. jbcowgill

    Ah, le beach. No shoes, no problem.

  4. theglutenfreepuglover@gmail.com

    Sounds amazing! My next trip (post pandemic) will be St. Lucia and the Grenadine Islands, but I will definitely have to go here sometime in the future.

  5. Chris Franklin

    This is awesome! The scenery is gorgeous

  6. oldbirdtravels

    You been to Tanzania? Madagascar? I’m still searching for escape but not just beach?

    • Colorful Sisters

      I didn’t have time to go to Tanzania mainland, unfortunately….but I did spend lots of time in Kenya which is very very similar wildlife and nature wise!

      • oldbirdtravels

        It’s just that I can’t do just beach I get too fidgety so I need a place that has many interesting stuff I can be nosy about 🀣

      • Colorful Sisters

        Hahahaa I understand! If you want a little of both, you can take a ferry from Zanzibar to mainland Tanzania. It takes about 1.5/2 hours and you can explore as much as you want!!!

      • oldbirdtravels

        Oooooooh! Sounds good to me

      • Colorful Sisters

        I hope you get to visit!! It’s really amazing πŸ™‚ and I’ve hear so many great things about Tanzania itself. Mount Kilimanjaro is just a short 1.5 hour flight away as well!

      • oldbirdtravels

        Not sure how cool they’d be on jet hopping like we normally do all over🀣

      • Colorful Sisters

        Actually because the governemnt of Tanzania/Zanzibar has an official policy that covid does not exist in their country, they have life proceeding like normal. Of all the travels I’ve had this year so far, the only flights that were full were around Tanzania/Zanzibar. My flight back to Israel had a short layover in Mt Kilimanjaro and the plane was packed!

      • oldbirdtravels

        How wonderful. Let’s hope maybe some countries will stay like that and I can leave ghastly UK.

      • Colorful Sisters

        I hope so too!

  7. travelling_han

    Amazing, your post is making me seriously miss the beach as we sit here in snow for the third week running in the UK!

    • Colorful Sisters

      Oh noooo I can imagine!! I’m so happy that we moved far away from cold locations!! It’s already spring in Israel and we can go to the beach during the day! Sending you some of our warm sunshine your way πŸ™‚

  8. Pascal Doe

    Amazing content! πŸ™‚

  9. Frank @ Beach Walk Reflections

    Impressive … I favor less crowded with firm sand for walking – so which would be the best for me?

    • Colorful Sisters

      I would definetly reccomned one of the East Coast beaches! They are much much quieter than any other area….such a peaceful vibe. Bwenjuu was among my absolute favorite places. Great for long walks and beautiful sunrises without many people around at all πŸ™‚

  10. Pingback: Zanzibar - The 2 Outfits I Made Just for My Trip | Fashion Design

  11. Pingback: 10 Days in Paradise - Best Itinerary for First Time Travelers to Zanzibar

  12. Life After Fifty

    cool place..got to schedule a visit..regards

    • Colorful Sisters

      I hope you do get to visit sometime! It’s lovely πŸ™‚

  13. David

    The Beach – – – my kind of place

  14. Marian

    Went to Zanzibar in 1997. Your photos brought back lovely memories.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Amazing! I wonder how much it has changed since?!

  15. Max

    Beautiful photos Zanzibar Tourism Industry should pay you considerably try visiting Zimbabwe next time plenty to see.

    • Colorful Sisters

      I would love to visit Zimbabwe some day!! I’ve seen some impressive landscapes there πŸ™‚

  16. yournellathematatgoddess

    I’m loving the post and the blog!!! 😍😍

  17. Juanita

    I love that stripped bikini ! Where can I get one?

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thanks so much!!! We’re not selling our clothing yet…but maybe someday πŸ™‚

  18. Graeme Duke

    Excellent post. I have just done 2 day trips…kendwa and nungwi on one day…and bwejuu, paje and jambiani yesterday. You are spot on with your observations! It’s difficult to choose which one to spend more time in now.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Amazing!! Hope you enjoyed your time in the lovely Zanzibar!

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