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Zanzibar Beaches

Mile upon mile of palm-fringed shores snake around a coastline that extends out into thriving, colourful coral reefs and the calm of the Indian Ocean.  The quality of Zanzibar's best beaches can rival anywhere in the world making it an ideal setting for an unforgettable African honeymoon.  The gin-clear waters are traditionally fished, either by hand or by the traditional wooden dhows, pervading all with the colourful life of the birthplace of African Swahili. For ease of discussion, we can divide the main island into 4 distinct beach areas, the north, north east, south east and south west. 
 
The Northern beach area extends up from Kendwa to Nungwi village.  Kendwa is an excellent beach, but traditionally the location for  hippy 'traveller' style accommodation and reggae bars.  Further up, but benefitting from the beautiful beach aspect here, are big hotels, such as the whopping Gemma dell Este, mainly populated by package tours and a large Italian clientele; not everyone’s cup of tea.  Further on and you reach Nungwi village, a built up version of Kendwa and one of the few places on the entire island where there is any form of nightlife beyond your hotel. The Z Hotel is the best westernised lodge here and would suit a group of young professionals seeking a party.  On the very northernmost pinnacle of the Island, 30 minutes walk from Nungwi Village, is Ras Nungwi beach, arguably the best on the island.  This area has smaller, more discreet hotels and less people.  Ras Nungwi is the best lodge here and a lodge that over the years has proved to offer reliably good service and accommodation standards.  It is one of our favourites on the island, and the clear leader in its price bracket.The North East beach runs from Matemwe to Pongwe... The beach is more deep set and properly shaded by palm trees.  At either end of this stretch you’ll find beautiful, secluded areas and smaller accommodation. The central stretch is dominated by big hotels like the Fairmont, Ocean Paradise and the Kempinski.  Right up the top end of the beach, Matemwe Bungalows and the exclusive Matemwe Retreat are the best lodges in the area and again, two of our favourite lodges on the island.  Further down the beach lies Mchanga Beach Lodge, a fairly new eight roomed lodge that has a beautifully laid back atmosphere and doesn't permit children!  All the hotels here head out to the Mnemba Atoll for Zanzibar's best snorkelling and diving.  At the other end of this beach region is Pongwe Beach Hotel, a highly recommended no-frills little beach lodge in a remote spot with a fantastic beach.  In the middle section of the beach, perched on a cliff top is Shooting Star, another excellent mid-range hotel perched over a beautiful stretch of beach.

The South East beach is similar to the North East beach, but with slightly quieter extended sands. Stretching out along this coast are the managerially linked trio of Palms, Baraza and Breezes– three great options that each cater to different tastes from families to top-end honeymooners.  These properties are literally right next door to each other but have reliably provided the best resort accommodation on Zanzibar for years.  Breezes is the largest of the three and appeals to families; with about 80 rooms, Breezes has more of a mass-market feel than its upmarket sister Baraza, whose 35 rooms come complete with private plunge pools, and quite a hefty price tag!  The exclusive six-roomed Palms hotel is nestled between the two. The other notable lodge in this region area is a real office favourite - Echo Beach.  Run independently by Sue and Andrew, Echo has some of the finest dining in its price range – or anywhere on the island for that matter!
 
The South West is not blessed with beach.  There are a couple of nice lodges in Fumba and Unguja and the snorkeling is pretty good.  But for people after that picture postcard beach idyll and the promise of certain paradise….this is not where we’d recommend!

AT A GLANCE

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Some Of Our Favourite Zanzibar Beach Lodges

Some Of Our Favourite Tanzania Lodges

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