The archipelago of Zanzibar consists of two main islands: Unguja and Pemba. Unguja (aka Zanzibar Island) is the more populated and famous of the two. This list of top Zanzibar beaches is from Zanzibar Island.
Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean, just 25 km off the coast of mainland Tanzania.
It's easy to take a short plane ride or a ferry from the capital Dar Es Salaam to Zanzibar.
Best Accommodation Deals in Zanzibar
However, we recommend you start your search with Hotels Combined, which combs all the popular booking sites to find the best price. We've included some fantastic deals near each beach below.
1. Ras Nungwi Beach
The Northern tip of Zanzibar is special. Unlike the East and West coastlines, the top island location is blessed by not having to deal with high and low tides.
This makes Nungwi the perfect Zanzibar beach if you are looking to swim around the clock without having to walk far out to sea to chase the ocean.
Nungwi is known for its party atmosphere, yet it's not to be compared with party beach destinations elsewhere in the world.
There are many bars and clubs, but the atmosphere remains Zanzibari style, chilled out, and low-key.
Where to Stay in Zanzibar: Nungwi
Lighthouse Guesthouse – A double room can be had for about $25. Breakfast is included.
Mabwe Roots Bungalows – Get a budget double bungalow with a balcony and sea view for about $45. Breakfast is included.
Related: Night Market in Zanzibar
2. Kendwa Beach
Adjacent to Nungwi, within walking distance, is Kendwa – probably my favorite beach on Zanzibar.
It's a little more laid back and a little less happening than Nungwi, which makes it a premier place to laze around.
The days are passed by relaxing on the beach, taking dips in the perfectly turquoise water, and catching shade under a banda (small shade hut).
When the sun begins to set, there's always a friendly game of beach volleyball or football amongst whoever happens to be there at the time.
Where to Stay in Zanzibar: Kendwa
Royal Palm Kendwa – A “king room” with two king beds can be had for about $60 a night. So if you can get some friends together, this could be a reasonably cheap option.
Mocco Beach Villa – Ok, so rooms here aren't super cheap but among the most affordable on this beach. Depending on the time of year, rooms can be had for $75 – $90, and breakfast is included.
Related: How to Enjoy Stone Town
3. Paje Beach
One of the more popular Southeastern beach towns on Zanzibar is Paje.
It's a great place to visit if you enjoy swimming in the ocean and interacting with other travelers.
There's a good selection of bungalows, small restaurants, and beach bars.
Paje is one of the better areas on the island to go to if you are interested in learning how to SCUBA dive or practicing other water sports like windsurfing or kite surfing.
Where to Stay in Zanzibar: Paje
Summer Dream Lodge – This well-liked place has dorms starting at about $17 per bunk per night and double rooms for about $40 ($25 for a single). Breakfast is included.
Demani Lodge Zanzibar – Another well-liked spot, complete with a swimming pool, has bunks in dorms starting at about $20 per night. Doubles with shared bath, $44, and doubles with private bathroom, $55. Breakfast included.
Related: Nungwi Village in Zanzibar
4. Bwejuu Beach
Just North of Paje is the seaweed fishing village of Bwejuu.
It's not the most pleasant beach on the island in terms of swimming, but it has a truly unique form of natural beauty.
If you are looking for a quiet beach town without even having to consider interacting with others, Bwejuu is a choice beach.
The thing I love most about Bewjuu is the swaying palm trees that are so lean they look like they could snap off but instead remain limber, dancing to the Zanzibari wind.
Where to Stay in Zanzibar: Bwejuu
Helwa Zanzibar Beach Bungalows – Rooms at this small guesthouse go from $45 – $65 depending on single or double occupancy. Breakfast is included.
Villa Bwejuu – A stay in this relatively new villa goes for about $60 per night for a double room with a private bath.
5. Kiwengwa Beach
The Northeastern coast also has some of the best Zanzibar beaches.
A few of the fanciest hotels on the island have claimed spots near Kiwengwa, where simple stretches of sand seem to go on forever.
Kiwengwa is a fantastic beach if you are looking to splurge a little and enjoy the exclusive peace of Zanzibar.
Where to Stay in Zanzibar: Kiwenga
Sipano Beach Lodge – You can get a single room on this beachfront property for $25 or a double for $30 per night. Breakfast is included, and even a tiny mini-market is on site.
Family Beach Bungalows – Room prices are between $30 – $40 for a standard double room, based on single or double occupancy. Breakfast is included, and they have a car rental available for more exploring.
The entire island of Zanzibar is filled with natural beauty everywhere you look.
No matter which beach you choose, you can be assured you'll be surrounded by that laid-back island attitude that is the spirit of Zanzibar.
Are you planning a trip to Tanzania? Include Zanzibar in your itinerary when you book a small-group tour with G Adventures.
Serengeti Safari & Zanzibar is a 12-day trip from the city of Arusha to Stone Town in Zanzibar. Go on safaris in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater before relaxing on the white-sand beaches of Zanzibar.
Kilimanjaro – Marangu Route & Zanzibar Adventure is an 11-day tour that includes climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent, followed by a relaxing stay on the beaches of Zanzibar.
East Africa Overland: Serengeti & Safari Drives is a 19-day trip from Kampala, Uganda, to Stone Town, Zanzibar. Highlights include gorilla trekking, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Zanzibar beaches.
Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the U.S. for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow-paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @migrationology.