A few years ago I was introduced to the concept of experiential travel. Experiential travel is when you immerse yourself in cultural activities and connect with locals and other travelers at a destination. Through shared experiences you form deep personal connections with a country’s history, its people and nature. You leave feeling inspired and transformed. Not only do you learn about yourself but also the world around you. From safari rides to cooking with locals and exploring Zanzibar beaches, Tanzania has so much to offer curious travelers looking to experience something new in Africa.
In addition to Tanzania being home to the highest mountain on the African continent – Mount Kilimanjaro, many visit Tanzania to simply relax on its picturesque beaches in Zanzibar. Also known as “The Spice Island”, Zanzibar is an archipelagos island surrounded by many other small islands off the coast of mainland Tanzania. It consists of two main islands Unguja (also known as Zanzibar) and Pemba. Pemba is the smaller lesser known island.
Along its coastline, Zanzibar is studded with coral reefs and pristine beaches. Each beach is unique and has its own flare. If you’re ready to slip into your bathing suit, here are four Zanzibar beaches in Tanzania that will take your breath away.
Things to know:
Zanzibar is a predominantly Muslim island so although it’s perfectly fine to wear shorts and bikinis at the beach to be respectful, consider covering up when heading into town.
Idyllic Zanzibar Beaches
Nakupenda means “I love you” in Swahili, a sentiment that many travelers feel when they visit this white sand beach in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Nakupenda Beach is a sand bank only 20 minutes from Stone Town (a UNESCO World Heritage site) in Zanzibar. Essentially Nakupenda Beach is a strip of pristine white sand in the middle of the Indian Ocean that disappears during high tide. Many people visit the nearby Prison Island first and spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach.
During low tide sunbathe on the sandbank, enjoy a BBQ picnic with fresh fish and exotic fruits or discover marine life and colorful corals while snorkeling. Just don’t forget to pack your favorite beach towel and sunscreen because there’s no shade on the island. Stay until the end to see the sandbank disappear into the ocean.
Nungwi Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Zanzibar because there’s almost no tide. At this northernmost beach enjoy the clear water around the clock.
Nungwi Beach has something for everyone. There’s a lively side with lots of hotels and bars and a quiet and secluded side for those looking to get away from the crowds.
Nungwi Beach is also one of the best places on the island for deep-sea fishing. Off the coastline catch yellowfin tuna and kingfish. You can also take a break from swimming and sunbathing to visit the nearby Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond which conserves the native population of sea turtles in Zanzibar. The conservation pond has rescued more than 200 turtles trapped in fishermen nets.
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Kendwa Beach is another Zanzibar beach on the northeastern coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania. Similar to Nungwi Beach you can enjoy the water at anytime since there’s almost no tide. During low tide you can walk from Nungwi Beach to Kendwa Beach, they are that close.
Want to party under the full moon? Head to Kendwa Beach where you can party all night long at the full moon parties hosted by Kendwa Rocks.
Kendwa’s powdery white sand is also great for running or playing sports.
Welcome to Paradise.
Known as the backpacker beach for its affordable hostels and laid back vibe, Paje Beach is a long beach with sapphire waters on the east coast of Zanzibar. Since there’s a lot of wind, Paje is ideal for kite surfing. Interested in learning how to kite surf? Learn to kite surf at one of the many nearby kitesurf schools.
To wrap things up, The World Pursuit does an incredible job capturing the highlights of some of Zanzibar’s beautiful beaches in this video.
What’s your favorite beach in Zanzibar?
Other Zanzibar Resources:
- The Best Beaches of Zanzibar
- Travel to Zanzibar: 12 Things To Know Before You Visit
- Zanzibar Beach Guide
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 5x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here.