Zanzibar Beach Resorts
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.
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.
Zanibar 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.