Destinations

Zanzibar Ranked Best Beach Destination in Africa

Gallivant Africa

On 15th October, 2022, Zanzibar Island was named Africa’s leading beach destination by the 29th World Travel Awards (WTA), for the 2nd year running!

It topped the WTA 2022 rankings, beating some of Africa’s best, including Cape Town, South Africa; Diani, Kenya and Dakhla, Morocco.

Zanzibar Island is a jewel in the ocean, surrounded by beaches that rate among the finest in the world. Here you can swim, snorkel or just lounge the hours away, while shoals of luminous fish graze over nearby coral gardens and pods of dolphins frolic offshore.

In the island’s capital, Zanzibar Town, sits the historic quarter of Stone Town, with a mesmerizing mix of influences from Africa, Arabia, India and Europe.

For these reasons and more, Zanzibar Island (officially called Unguja) is the archipelago’s focal point, and the most popular destination for visitors, but choose your spot carefully. While it’s easy to find tranquil beauty or party buzz (or both), increasing development threatens the island’s ineluctable magic and fragile community resources.

Zanzibar’s beaches are justifiably famous. Fine white sands edge clear turquoise waters, traditional Arabic dhows sail into the dawn, silhouetted against pastel-tinted skies. Coconut palms wave gently in the breeze. Whether as post-safari relaxation or as a stand-alone destination, the beaches on Zanzibar’s east coast and around its northern tip offer a quintessential tropical island paradise. Each beach has its own personality. Paje is known for its kitesurfing. Matemwe has a more chilled vibe, and entices with its powdery sands and glimpses of village life. Nungwi, in northern Zanzibar, sees tradition mix with contemporary life. Fishing boats launch from the beach and dhow builders ply their ancient craft against a backdrop of western-style hotels and partying. Nearby Kendwa shares some of Nungwi’s buzz, but everything is more spread out, and the beach here has the advantage of being swimmable around the clock. Quiet Pongwe is more isolated, and good for getting away from the crowds. Jambiani, with its impossibly turquoise waters and sun-bleached coral-rag houses, is an ideal spot to gain insights into local life.

All the beaches are within a one to two hour drive of Stone Town. Transport in private minivans or public dalla-dallas is frequent and affordable, and it is quite feasible to base yourself at the beaches and explore Stone Town on a series of day trips.

Gallivant Africa
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