Turquoise sea, palm-packed beaches, timeless fishing villages and the smell of exotic spices make Zanzibar a magical and unique travel destination. If you know me or have seen my social media then you may know my undying love for sand, sea and sun. Zanzibar is one of the places that make believe in heaven. It’s magical , its beautiful. I love it.
This is another throw back post from 2011 when we went to Zanzibar. Read here about what to do in Stone Town before or after having your gorgeous time on the beaches. The beaches of Zanzibar are categorized to the East, North, North East, South, South East and West Coast with each having their own appeal. Not because of indecisiveness but then need to experience it all more less.
Read on for the different experiences.
Zanzibar East Coast: home to the island’s best and most idyllic beaches, the east coast is home to a wide range of lodges and hotels but the tidal aspect of the ocean may mean a walk to get a swim or snorkel. Pongwe Beach in my opinion is definitely the best with nothing to fault it especially as it is not crowded like other beaches. The only drawback I would call out would be there is nothing but the beach, no little towns or anything.
We opted to stay at Pongwe Beach Hotel which was a perfect choice. The beach and infinity pool felt like a private party for 2. The restaurant served amazing food and the staff were keen to serve what we liked. This would be a perfect getaway for honeymooners looking for a place to totally forget the world and concentrate on natures beauty and themselves.
On the last days of my trip I went back to the other nice beach of East Coast – Kiwengwa. This time with a different we stayed at luxury beach Resort – Bluebay Beach Resort & Spa. It is a huge property with a variety of different room styles. One big plus of staying here was the proper Carlifonia King Size bed in my superior view room and the beach walks. While here we also opted to do some activity and did jet skiing. It was all fun till I hit a coral and we got stuck having left my whistle – we got rescued at about 9pm. Good fun though.
Zanzibar North Coast: Right on the northern most point of the island, the beach that surrounds this area is truly stunning. Azure waters and white sands are what await those that come here. The only drawback really is that many of the hotels have had to perch on the coral cliffs that run north from the village and, as such, lose their beaches at high tide. I feel that this area is the most popular hence has more crowds and even a backpacker community making it idea for someone looking for some sort of night life. Kendwa Rocks on the West side is know for its full moon parties and party boat.
On this trip we stayed on the more tame side of life and split our stay between mid ranged / budget hotel Mnarani Beach Cottages and high end Z Hotel. Mnarani was actually our 1st stop on the beaches and when we arrived the clouds were grey and the rain threatening to pour. The hotel staff were not as diligent but were rather friendly. They don’t have a beach front but the hammocks and pool were a good spot for thinking and relaxing.
Z Hotel on the other hand was extremely beautiful with an air of sophistication. The pool in itself is worth spending hours staring at with it being infinity and seeming to be part of the sea. The sunsets and views were to die for. The food was great. My only qualm with the place was the staff was rather stiff but seemed to much the clientele. People were on their phones, laptops and not as sunny happy – it felt a bit cold or snooty – but that’s just me. This however could not cancel out these view.
For this reason we explored and found Cholos Bar where we ended up spending all day and evening. How do you compare any place with a place where you are served your drink whilst in the ocean – Beat that anyone 🙂
Zanzibar North-East Coast: the island’s prime location, most of Zanzibar’s top-end accommodation is set on the north-east beaches. The diving is excellent here, there’s not much tidal variation and the archipelago’s best reefs of Mnemba Island lie a kilometre offshore. This part of the island had remained untouched to tourism until the recent past but you can see why this has changed.
While here we stayed at Next Paradise. It is a boutique resort right on the beach. it has 2 swimming pools and a lovely beach. The pool sun beds have no shade whatsoever making it hard for me to spend more than 30 minutes on them. I need me some shade.
While here we decided to venture into a neighboring village and it was nice to see the contrast of the local life to the tourist resorts and hotels.
Zanzibar South Coast: the further south you go on Zanzibar, the more populated it becomes. And with people comes culture – head south for cultural and spice tours along with more opportunities to engage with the locals. I didn’t get to experience this part but I am sure it would have been just as great.
Zanzibar South-East Coast: there are plenty of beaches and resorts on the south-east of Zanzibar but it’s here that the tidal range is more marked than other regions.Here the beach is only compromised at low, low tide, the rest of the time it is possible to snorkel and swim as you like. I did not spend the night here but opted to visit a volunteer centre where I had friends working there to see what they were doing. The tourism school where they teach locals to venture into hospitality and offer adult English classes was pretty cool as tourism is where the business in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar West Coast: there are fewer lodges on Zanzibar’s west coast and it feels a little more remote but it is of course home to Stone Town, located on the island’s central-west coast. If you make it to the island’s extreme south-western corner, you’ll find the village of Kizimkazi, jumping off point for dolphin safaris where you can actually swim with dolphins.
After a good 10 days we said goodbye to this little paradise and my heart aches for some sun, sea and sand as sun healing is the language my body talks.
With current rains all I can say is “Everyday is a good day to be alive whether the sun is shining or not”- Marty Robbins.