Known as the Spice Island, the beautiful island of Zanzibar on Africa’s east coast is bursting with culture and history, seemingly at odds with its idyllic geography of white-sand beaches with palms swaying lazily in the sea breeze. Together this makes Zanzibar a fabulous place to explore as well as a dream to relax and unwind.
Zanzibar’s coastline offers some of the best beaches in the world, but sand and surf vary depending on what side of the island you’re on. On the east coast, waves break over coral reefs and sandbars offshore, and low tide reveals small pools of starfish, small minnows, and anemones. Up north, ocean swimming is much less susceptible to the tides, and smooth beaches and white sand make for dazzling days in the sun.
Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of the island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is famous for its winding alleys fringed by grand architecture, bustling bazaars, sultan’s palace, mosques, the House of Wonders, gardens and the extravagant merchants’ houses with their remarkably ornate doors.
Once little more than a ramshackle fishing village, Nungwi has been transformed into one of Unguja island’s busiest beach destinations and its second most populated village after its capital, Stone Town. Situated at the island’s northernmost tip, Nungwi is blessed with some of Zanzibar’s most idyllic swimming beaches as the water surrounding this section of the island is fairly deep and mostly unaffected by the change of tides.
Resting near the southernmost point of Zanzibar’s Unguja island, the remote little fishing village of Kizimkazi is known for its gorgeous stretches of untouched coastline, its excellent diving opportunities and its world-famous dolphin tours. The turquoise waters surrounding the village are home to an abundance of spectacular marine life including several schools of bottlenose dolphins which are frequently sighted during boat trips from the village. Kizimkazi is also renowned as the site of an ancient 12th-century mosque, thought to be the oldest mosque in Africa.