Zanzibar is a tropical island with sandy beaches and is often included as a relaxing end to a Tanzanian or Kenyan safari. Zanzibar’s gentle coral beaches are calm with unpredictable tides, often allowing you to walk at low tide up to a quarter mile on the sand and sometimes all the way out to the reefs. Zanzibar’s world-renowned beaches are complimented by its rich cultural history. Its oldest remaining building is a mosque at Kizimkazi that dates back to 1107 and is worth a visit, if you can tear yourself away from the beach. The capital city of Stone Town is a UNESCO world heritage site and is fascinating for its culture, Sultan’s Palace, and mosque. Zanzibar offers a plethora of water-based activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing, fishing, kayaking, and sailing.  When you need a break from the beach, you can take an interesting (yet pretty kitschy) Spice Tour or visit the colobus monkeys at Jozani Forest.  Zanzibar can be visited year-round but April, May, and November can bring heavy rains. Island life can also be pretty hot and humid, so we highly recommend a resort with air conditioning.

The best beaches with less variations in the tide are on the west coast up to the northern tip of the island, while the best snorkeling and scuba diving is off the coast of Mnemba Island, located east of the northern tip of Zanzibar. 

Our favorite accommodations on Zanzibar

Recommended itineraries featuring Zanzibar

Other beaches to explore

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