If you are looking for warm lazy days and white tropical beaches then Zanzibar is a wonderful island to visit (especially in December). Stone Town is the equivalent to Venice only in Africa with its narrow walkways which allow you to immerse yourself in culture and history. It can get a bit crazy over December with a lot of travellers flocking for some sun and tropical beaches.
Ask yourself what type of Beach Holiday or experience you are after while in Zanzibar
The NE coast of Zanzibar is where the majority of the resorts and hotels are located with the beaches with the best swimming. This area doesn’t get affected by the tides dropping. Below is some information on different areas. The last one listed might be the best actually.
Stone Town, Zanzibar
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.
For a good-value hotel of reasonable quality with local flavour, start by looking at sister-hotels: the Tembo Hotel and Dhow Palace Hotel; both offer good standards and value for money.
Nungwi is a really popular area for travellers looking for relaxation, diving, beaches and location to a great village. There is so much going on in this area. All it takes is a 2 to 3 hours drive north from Stone Town. This is the northern most part of Zanzibar with the bright blue ocean surrounds it on 3 sides.
Over the last decade the coastline here has turned it into one of Zanzibar’s busiest beach areas. What was a ramshackle fishing village has become an increasingly busy place as various guesthouses, bars, shops and restaurants appear. The setting is beautiful, but the number of people in Nungwi town, the noise and the constant stream of apparently uncontrolled development do take the exclusive air off its charm.
That said, there is so much to do there and a must on every travellers plan. A visit to the turtle sanctuary is great and the night life a must. There are a number of great places to stay, one being Flame Tree Cottages with is a small guest house only a short stroll from the centre of the village. Perfect for a good nights sleep and not hearing the evenings noises from the bars.
East Coast of a Zanzibar
The NE coastline is filled with long, white sandy beaches which look out towards a long barrier reef, about a kilometre offshore. The beaches are lined by coconut palms within which there are small fishing villages and a variety of accommodation places to stay. Lodges are generally bigger than the Nungwi region, but like the north, the beaches here are flat. This means that when the tide low, the water drops a far distance and swimming is a challenge.
There’s good diving and snorkelling here, and both Matemwe Hotel and Shooting Star Hotel have nearby dive centres for easy diving and snorkelling trips.
To the north of the coast line is the Matemwe Lodge. It is a great place if you want to get away. The property is relaxing with a great atmosphere and located on a long sandy beach.
Pongwe Beach hotel is a rustic but very relaxing option for a great stay.
Michamvi Peninsula and South-east Zanzibar
As you travel down along the East coast of the island the beach is still amazing with its beautiful sand and barrier reef. The tidal pull gets greater and the villages become quieter and quieter. Jambiani is a great place for relaxation. The villages are friendly and very different to the north.
In fact, that area south of the peninsular, around Paje, Bwejuu and Jambiani, used to be the busiest part of Zanzibar’s beach scene – especially for backpackers. But in recent years low budget travellers have moved more to northern Zanzibar, around Nungwi and Kendwa, leaving this south-east stretch relatively quiet. This leaves the south-east as more of a low-key, low-impact beach retreat.
Echo Beach is a small mid-range lodge on a beautiful stretch of beach. It has a laid back atmosphere, stylish rooms, and a dive centre on site.
The Fumba area in the SE of Zanzibar is the perfect quiet location for relaxation, seeing dolphins in the wild and monkeys in the Jozani Forest. More recently it has been popular with day visitors.
2005 saw the beginning of the Fumba Beach Lodge. It is located only 30 minutes from the airport and has 40 acres of land and 3 great beach coves. It is one of the only lodges in the Menai Conservation areas.
Another one of my best places is the Unguja (meaning Zanzibar). It’s a peaceful place, perfect for snorkeling and relaxing while watching the sunset over the ocean.
Tags: adventure travel, africa travel, backpacking, budget holidays, cheap travel, Destinations, holidays, overland travel, tours in africa, travel
July 10 2012 08:58 pm | Destinations