Zanzibar Resorts

Turquoise waters and coral reefs...

Overview

Think of a Zanzibar beach resort. Images of pristine, white sandy beaches lapped by warm turquoise waters will float into your mind. Add a few coconut palms, nearby coral reefs, great cuisine and hospitality. And you have a pretty fair impression of a stay at one of the top Zanzibar resorts.

Zanzibar only really began welcoming overseas visitors in the late 1980s. This means that aside from a few Zanzibar resorts catering for incoming southern Europeans on direct charters (not featured here!), there are plenty of smaller Zanzibar beach lodges. All offer local character and oodles of charm.

Zanzibar Beach Resorts on the East Coast

The Zanzibar resorts on the East Coast are probably the best known. And they most closely reflect the classic Zanzibar beach paradigm - Long white beaches which overlook a long barrier reef just offshore.

Zanzibar Beach Resorts on the North East Coast

The North-East offers various beaches such as Matemwe, Kiwengwa, Paje, and Pongwe. This area is famous for its fine beaches, the contrasting colours of the Indian Ocean and the coral reef. Great options include Matemwe Lodge, Kasha Boutique Hotel and Zanzibar White Sand.
The South-East includes the Michamvi Peninsula, which also offers long powdery beaches, palm trees and a barrier reef for snorkelling. Here the tidal effect is not so marked as further north so that your sea view remains attractive at all times. Plus from here you can take an excursion to visit the red colobus monkeys in the Jozani Forest.  Check out the perennial favourite Breezes Beach Club or its more exclusive sister hotels, Zawadi Hotel and Baraza Resort & Spa.

Zanzibar Resorts on the North & North-West Coast

Some of the Zanzibar beach resorts in the far north face the mainland (and thus are less affected by the tidal range). Ras Nungwi is probably best area for experienced divers. But the village of Nungwi itself has become quite busy and over-developed. Yet there are some more secluded Zanzibar lodges such as Zuri Zanzibar and Elewana Kilindi. Note that the transfer time to the far north is quite long, up to 2 hours. So it's ideal for a longer stay.

Zanzibar Resorts on the South-West Coast

There are also some great little Zanzibar resorts in the south-west of the island - such as Fumba Beach Lodge or Unguja Resort. The beaches here may lack the classic coconut palm adornment. But they have their own charm and tranquillity in this friendly and unpretentious part of Zanzibar. Dolphin encounters are also a strong possibility here as the dolphin pods often congregate off the southern coast near Kizimkazi. The South-west is also less affected by the tidal range.

Note on Tidal Range - It’s worth mentioning that the shallow gradient of most of the beaches on Zanzibar means that you cannot swim in the sea at low tide. Plus some visitors report annoyance at the large populations of sea urchins.

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Ginny Russell

Co-founder & Director
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. Ginny has returned from the UK to Africa at least twice a year for 25 years and advocates for Slow Travel and a more immersive experience.

Explore the Zanzibar Resorts map

When to visit Zanzibar Resorts

January to mid -March

Summer in Zanzibar Resorts

Zanzibar has a tropical climate which means hot and humid for most of the year, with plenty of rain. There is a steady rainfall through the year apart from a fairly dry spell from June to September. However this rain takes the form of short, sharp thundery rain-showers, usually in the late afternoons. So in the summer months it doesn’t interfere with your beach time. As there’s plenty of sunshine at other times (averaging 9 hours per day). It’s a hot 32-33C during the day and a warm to hot 23-24C at night.
AVG RAINFALL 108mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 Hours
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

Mid-March to May

Rain season in Zanzibar Resorts

This is the rainiest time of the year and not recommended for a Zanzibar beach holiday – especially April which sees nearly 400mm of rain in one month. It typically rains at least every other day during this time. This slightly cools down the temperatures but not by much! April is particularly cloudy with only 6 hours of sunshine. However late May sees the rain drying up and hotel prices and offers remain keen so this could be a good time to stay at some of the more expensive resorts.
AVG RAINFALL 108mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 Hours
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

June to October

Best time in Zanzibar Resorts

This is a reasonably dry period with short showers every 4 days on average. It’s a wonderful time for some beach relaxation after your safari as temperatures are still hot (29C during the day) and a very pleasant 21C at night). Days are dry and sunny with 8 hours of sunshine on average.
AVG RAINFALL 108mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 Hours
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

November to December

Short rains in Zanzibar Resorts

This is start of the “short” summer rains with hot and humid conditions and short, sharp thundery rain-showers, usually in the late afternoons. Rainfall tends to be higher at the start of summer (November and December) before settling down later on. However there’s still plenty of sunshine around.
AVG RAINFALL 108mm
AVG DAYLIGHT 7 Hours
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

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Accommodation

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The Palms Review

The Palms was built a few years ago as the five star sister hotel to Breezes. It is very small with only six villas so it offers the exclusivity and personal attention which the grander and larger Baraza hotel may not. It has a more traditional, less Arabic ambience to it.

The suites are smart with a terrace, two day beds and a small spa bath. Inside there’s a sitting area (with TV and DVD player) which is open plan into the bedroom. Behind the bedroom is a large dressing room and sizeable bathroom (with separate toilet/bidet). The spa bath is functional but not super-stylish but perhaps I am being picky.

It doesn’t take kids under 16 years (though curiously each villa has a second bedroom with a single bed, and shower room so an older child could share with you. Go figure!)

However what is particularly nice about Palms is that each villa has its own private ‘banda’ right on raised beach area behind the main beach, with steps directly down to the main beach. Here are two loungers, coffee table and a double day bed which is screened on three sides for privacy and also protection from the winds. (I am actually writing this sitting on my banda day bed!) This is a really nice feature of The Palms - which Baraza doesn’t have. I suspect that a lot of people simply hang out at their banda for much of the day. The staff bring you sundowner cocktails and nibbles to your banda or morning coffee if they see that you have headed down there. Nice touch!

However overall I still prefer Baraza next door to The Palms, except perhaps at the peak of high season...

Cedarberg : Kate Bergh