Most travelers come to Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and for game viewing in Ngorongoro conservation area and Serengeti National Park. But when you are done with climbing mountains and game viewing, Tanzania’s picturesque coastline awaits. In fact, Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, has been repeatedly voted as one of the best beach destinations in Africa.

In this article, James Gatheru, the safari director for, reviews the 10 best beaches in Tanzania and Zanzibar. Let’s start the countdown.

Matemwe, Zanzibar

Matemwe beach is a white sand beach lined with palm trees in the northeastern part of Zanzibar. For travelers looking to relax and reconnect with nature, Matemwe beach is the place to be. Here you will find a few travelers and pristine communities fishing and selling fish. You can also try local dishes from the stalls. There are many places to stay near the beach; I would recommend you stay in Matemwe lodge, which is a few meters away from the Beach.

Misali Island, Pemba

Surrounded by stunning coral reefs and crystal water, Misali Island offers the best diving and snorkeling in East Africa. The island is located 50km away from Tanzania mainland.

It is part of the Pemba Conservation Area, which means that all beachgoers, divers, and snorkelers pay an admission fee. There are no settlements on this island, and camping is not permitted. However, local fishers are allowed on the island. We recommend booking your stay in Sharook Riviera Grand Lodge for its surreality and proximity to the beach.

Mbezi Beach

Mbezi Beach is located north of the Zanzibar between the Indian Ocean and the new Bagamoyo road away from the hustle and bustle of the town. It is among the most visited beach destinations in Dar Es Salaam. Want a quiet, relaxed, and a private beach vacation? Mbezi Beach is the place to be. I recommend booking your accommodation in the Landmark Mbezi Beach Resort, which is a few meters away from the beach.

Nakupenda Beach

The name Nakupenda is a Swahili word which means ‘I love you.’ It is a fantastic sandbank and the most spectacular beach located a few meters away from Stone Town. Relaxing on the Indian ocean white sands with your loved one is unforgettable.

For swimmers and snorkelers, the turquoise waters of Nakupenda Beach are so inviting. When coming to the beach, bring your parasol pants, as there is no shade on the sandbank.

The beach has many lodges with bars where you can relax with your drink, watching the sun go down. I suggest you stay in Park Hyatt Zanzibar, the best lodge in Stone Town.

Kendwa Beach

Kendwa Beach is located on the northwestern coastline of Unguja. The beach is one of the liveliest and most crowded places in Zanzibar. If you are a nightlife lover, Kendwa beach is the place to be. The staff occasionally organize a full moon party for the guests, and it goes on till morning.

The beach has plenty of fantastic activities and day trips for you to choose from. The activities include fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The waters are home to marine life and beautiful coral reefs.

Eating your dinner or taking your favorite drink while watching the sunset is a breathtaking moment. There are loads of restaurants, bars, and hotels catering for all budgets. BeachFront Kendwa is among the best lodges in Kendwa Beach. The restaurant is located 50 min away, has a private beach, and offers the best accommodation facilities in the area.

Jambiani Beach

Jambiani Beach is 55 km away from Stone Town, a 1.5 hours drive. It is the perfect place if you are looking to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Some of the fun activities to participate in during your stay at the beach include dhow sailing, snorkeling, and diving in Stingray city, one of the best dive sites in East Africa.

You can also visit the community living around the beach to learn more about their culture and their meals. Note that the official language in Tanzania is Swahili. So, if you are planning to travel to interact with the locals, you need to master basic swahili words and vocabulary, or hire a translator.

But not to worry, most safari and beach holiday directors are fluent in Swahili. They will easily and conveniently guide you across Zanzibar and Tanzania.

Overall, the beach is quiet with lodges and restaurants where you can taste delicious seafood dishes. Looking for a lodge to spend your night, Jambiani Beach House is the place to do it. The house is located a few steps away from the beach, giving you ethereal views of the Indian Ocean.

Prison Island

Prison Island, also known as Changuu Island, is located 30 minutes away from Stone Town. Turquoise waters and beautiful scenery surrounds the island. The island is historical because it was used as a slave port and quarantine station during ancient times.

Today, the island is full of trees, and it is home to the Giant tortoise. The prison remains are seen scattered every corner of the island. The island’s stunning beach offers fantastic snorkeling and boat rides.

Mbudya Island Beach

The beach is on the coastline of mainland Tanzania and 20min boat ride away from Dar Es Salaam. Want a peaceful vacation away from the noises of Dar Es Salaam town, Mbudya Island is the spot to head to. You will spend your day sitting on welcoming white sand and perfect blue waters, which is home to colorful fish and beautiful coral reefs.

There are plenty of activities such as boat rides, diving, snorkeling, and fishing.

Nungwi Beach

Nungwi Beach is located in the Northern part of Zanzibar and it is 52 km away from Stone Town. The warm waters and sparkling white sand from the ocean are great for swimming. The beach offers many activities such as night fishing, boat rides, snorkeling, and diving.

There are lots of lodges, hotels, and bars where you can relax and enjoy your favorite drink.

Want to spend a night in Nungwi Beach, Fisherman’s Seafood & Grill is the place to stay. The hotel offers delicious seafood dishes and outstanding views of the ocean.

Paje Beach

Paje Beach is located east of Unguja an hour away from the Stone Town; the beach has sparkling white sand and warm turquoise water perfect for swimming. If you are looking for a peaceful vacation, Paje Beach is a paradise for you. The beach has lots of activities such as kitesurfing, swimming, and diving.

The tides on the beach are low, helping you walk for kilometers in and out of the ocean with your loved ones. There are many lodges near the beach, but I recommend you stay at Paje Beach Apartments.

Wrapping Up

These are the top 10 best beaches in Zanzibar and Tanzania. Even better, beach holidays in this Island are pretty affordable, going for as low as $150 per day. Head over to or and start planning your beach holiday to Tanzania.

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