Zanzibar is East Africa’s finest beach destination surrounded by coral reefs with numerous idyllic beaches lined by huge sweeping palm trees. Only 15 minutes by plane from the Dar es Salaam, the wonderfully sleepy island of Zanzibar is an obvious beach tack-on to a safari in mainland Tanzania.
Though most visitors spend a night or two in Zanzibar’s Stone Town it is the beaches, snorkelling and diving that attract people to Zanzibar’s shores, and with an increasing tourist trade it is remarkable that the island has kept its African charm. Zanzibar is much larger than one might expect; driving from top to bottom takes about two hours. Stone Town and the airport are found on the Western edge, with a transfer from any beach lodge taking about an hour.
Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba:
The island’s best beaches for a Zanzibar holiday are found on Zanzibar’s Eastern and Northern coastline with miles and miles of seemingly endless beaches, and a wealth of accommodation choice.
Zanzibar is the jewel in any Tanzania holiday. Pemba and Mafia islands are less well known than Zanzibar but offer some of the best unspoilt reefs for diving and snorkelling although the beaches are arguably not as good as Zanzibar.
Mafia and Pemba are the two ‘other’ islands just off the coast of Tanzania, they are less visited than the major Zanzibar which has over 300 beach hotels but offer a different style of beach get away.
A lot more remote and arguably with less beautiful beaches than Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia are real tropical islands with less tourists, more tropical under growth and very good reefs and sand spits making these islands ideal for diving and snorkelling away from the crowds.
Tanzania Mainland Coast
The mainland Tanzania coast has a few spots that are well worth visiting, the beaches south from Tanga offer soft white sands and some good dive and snorkel locations.
South of Dar es Salaam is one of the best beach hideaways in Tanzania, a 15 minute flight from Dar brings you to the wind swept remote coastline. Barefoot luxury, a beautiful spot to really relax and do very little! One of our favourite properties we like to single out is Ras Kutani.
Cities and Towns:
For those interested in cities and towns would enjoy the city areas and the key is not to spend too much time in them, since the hustle and bustle can take over. Overnight stays are most common and sometimes two nights if time permits.