Zanzibar Is Tanzania’s White Sand Beach Paradise

zanzibar beaches

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You may have noticed that a certain paradise in Tanzania has started making its way into your Instagram feed. Zanzibar’s white sand beaches, bright blue water, spice markets and historic towns are calling to travelers eager to spend some time in the ocean.

The Zanzibar archipelago is located off the east coast of Africa. It’s made up of several palm tree-filled islands in the Indian Ocean. On the main island of Unguja, you’ll find an open-air market selling avocados, bananas and fruit — exactly the kind of food you want for a beach picnic on soft white sand before wading into the welcoming water.

Does all this have you dreaming of sunbathing on a Zanzibar beach? Us, too. These are the best beaches in and near Zanzibar for your next African holiday.


There are plenty of beach resorts and guesthouses on Kendwa Beach, but that’s only because the swimming is so good here that you’ll want to be able to walk straight out your door and into the surf. Even the waterfront hotels here aren’t like the ones in the United States, where massive complexes overshadow the water. You’ll still get the relaxed beach vibe, too.

Kendwa Beach is also home to Tanzania’s Full Moon Party, an African version of the popular parties in Thailand.


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Located on the northern tip of the island, Nungwi was a traditional fishing village that turned into a tourist destination. There are still fishing boats that launch from the beach, but there are also hotels for travelers to rest after a day of watersport. If you’re searching for an adventure, Nungwi is your beach. This is where you’ll find some of the best snorkeling, scuba diving and kitesurfing.


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Matemwe offers a more secluded beach experience. It’s positioned on the northeast coast of the island. It’s a favorite for divers since the coral reefs here are pristine and there’s a plethora of marine life to be seen underwater.


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Paje is another great adventure spot. The beach is shaped like a lagoon and is protected from the reef further offshore. This means it’s more suited to beginner kitesurfers than other spots on the island, while advanced surfers will still enjoy the conditions (if it’s not too crowded).


On the southeast coast of Zanzibar, you’ll find Jambiani. It’s less touristed than Kendwa or Nungwi, but also slightly less classically stunning — it’s all degrees of lovely here. However, you’ll find fewer people trying to sell you treats or trinkets while you sunbathe.

What to know before you go…

In order to reach Zanzibar, you’ll have to travel from Dar es Salaam. That likely means a ferry ride to Zanzibar Island or a quick flight from the big airport to the smaller island one.

The capital of the island is Stone Town, where you’ll find historic buildings, restaurants and hotels. But you’re here for the water, so we vote to stay on the beach.

Also, you have to pay attention to the tides in Zanzibar. There are several beaches (for example, Kendwa and Nungwi) where it’s possible to walk between them during low tide but the pathway is completely covered by water at high tide.


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