Far and away the most famous and engaqing beach experience in Tanzania is Zanzibar. The Zanzibar archipelago consists of over 50 islands – which vary from tiny outcrops to the larger, more populated islands of Zanzibar (Unguja) and Pemba. The beaches are often stunning: powdery white sand, shaded by palm trees. The sea is shallow, but venture further out into the sparkling, turquoise water and you’ll find coral reefs for great snorkelling and diving. The larger islands are lush and highly fertile and everywhere the air is suffused with the aroma of fruit and spices; it’s an intoxicating, exotic atmosphere.
Because Zanzibar has so many holiday options, we’ve devoted a section of our website solely to it. But visitors to Zanzibar’s beaches are nothing new; they’ve been coming for over 2,000 years! The monsoon winds of the Indian Ocean enabled trade between Zanzibar, Arabia, Persia, mainland Africa and India, leaving the archipelago with a long history and a rich cultural mix.
The heart of Zanzibar, Stone Town, was constructed during the 19th century: a labyrinth of narrow alleys complete with palaces, mosques, and tiny shops. It’s noisy, busy and not very clean – but it has a vibrant, exotic atmosphere that can be enticing! Stay here for a night or two – it’s often convenient for international flights – at one of the beautiful converted merchant’s houses, and look forward to eating out.
Two or three hours drive from Stone Town, the village of Nungwi marks the northern-most tip of Zanzibar. The turquoise-blue ocean surrounds it on three sides; Nungwi has long been a magnet for visitors seeking paradise. Come for some good diving and beaches, and proximity to a lively village where there’s always a lot going on.