Zanzibar beaches

Zanzibar beaches

Zanzibar Island

Most people visiting the Zanzibar archipelago end up in Unguja or Zanzibar Island as it's commonly known. Few take advantage of the fact that Zanzibar is actually an archipelago comprised of several other islands and numerous islets.

For instance just a few miles from Stone Town are several islets such as Chumbe and Chapwani which have excellent beaches and properties. Bawe and Prison Islands are great for day excursion with opportunities for excellent snorkeling available. Tumbatu Island, off the north-west coast of Unguja is one of the largest off-shore islands but has no facilities for tourists. Mnemba Island is located near the north-east coast featuring luxury accommodation. Although Mnemba is a private island, it is surrounded by a rich coral reef, which is great for scuba diving and snorkeling and is visited by several watersports centers in the area. 

Pemba is Zanzibar's sister island. Despite many years of isolation from the outside world, Pemba is receiving a small but growing number of foreign visitors. The infrastructure is much less developed on Unguja, and there are far fewer tourists, but this is seen as a plus by many! Beautiful beaches, natural forests and outstanding diving are just some of the attractions on offer.

Misali Island, off Pemba's east coast, is idyllic and excellent for diving. 

Mafia, another island in the sun and no relative of the mob, is actually governed by mainland Tanzania but is not far from the Zanzibar archipelago. 

Zanzibar's brilliant white beaches lapped by the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean provide the perfect place to relax, to soak up the sun and take a break from some busy sightseeing.  

The beaches in Zanzibar are a paradise, interspersed with picturesque fishing villages, where the people live a simple way of life, unchanged over the years. There are more than 25 fantastic beaches in Zanzibar, and some are so peaceful and remote that the only noise breaking the silence is likely to be the ocean.

At the northern tip of the island is Nungwi, approached by a road lined by banana palms, mangroves and coconut trees. This is the dhow building capital of Zanzibar Island, so it is a good place to see traditional craftsmen at work.

On the west coast of Zanzibar, Mangapwani beach   is worth a visit, and to the east are the beaches of Matemwe, Pwani Mchangani, Kiwengwa, Uroa, Bwejuu and Jambiani, all with stretches of beautiful white sands.

Zanzibar also boasts several small offshore islands which are ideal for a day-trip. Prison (or Changuu) island is the most popular with tourists because it is only a short trip from Stone Town. Originally, it was used by Arabs to detain recalcitrant slaves, and then a jail was built by the British, but it was never actually used. Visitors to Zanzibar will notice a large population of ancient Aldabra tortoises.