The most popular areas to stay in Zanzibar are Nungwi, Kendwa, Paje, Jambiani and Stone Town, its capital. In addition to these areas there are others with paradisiacal beaches that are also worth considering. Check out the best areas to stay in Zanzibar and get it right with your choice.
Zanzibar is located in Tanzania, on the east coast of Africa and facing the Indian Ocean. This archipelago includes the islands of Unguja or Zanzibar, Pemba and 50 other smaller islets. In addition, it is one of the jewels of the continent, because it is dotted with more than 25 kilometers of evocative beaches, with fine white sand and translucent waters, of authentic postcard.
Among its practically wild landscapes are coconut groves, incredible mangroves, coral cliffs, atolls and hidden islands, which are the closest to the sky on earth. In addition, they are home to the red colobus monkey, the only place where it lives.
Zanzibar distills an environment in which Indian, English, Swahili and Omani influences are perfectly appreciated. Strolling through its corners is to feel that time has frozen in that era in which buyers from everywhere came to market with ivory and spices, as it was the center of commerce throughout the area that includes East Africa. Hence, it is known as the island of spices.
Its capital, Stone Town, preserves the essence of yesteryear and shows the influences of all the peoples that have passed through it, both in the architecture and customs prevailing as in the character of its inhabitants. It is the treasure of the island, a privileged place to shelter from the incessant sun that gives light and heat to its beaches.
Villages like Nungwi, where traditional dhows float on its waters and tranquility invades everything, they finish shaping the essence of this destination.
Zanzibari cuisine is the result of British, Indian and Arab influences. Spices star in innumerable dishes of fish, seafood and meat; but also the intense sauces, the most common being coconut and sweet potato puree. Among the most traditional dishes are samosa, ugali, urojo or nyama choma.
Zanzibar is one of the most magnificent islands on the African map, where life has varied very little. Tranquility and beauty are the real protagonists, which insert the traveler in a bubble and urge only one thing: enjoy.
If you have in mind visiting this little piece of paradise and looking for information on the best areas to stay in Zanzibar, read on. We give you detailed information about each one of them.
The best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Zanzibar
Zanzibar is one of the favorite destinations for couples looking to enjoy their honeymoon or a romantic getaway; of lovers of the sun, the beach and tropical destinations; of maritime sports devotees or those interested in African culture.
An exotic destination that has gradually captured the attention of the traveler and that keeps incredible surprises.
The offer of accommodation has been increasing in recent years and integrates a good variety: bungalows, beachfront resorts, hotel complexes on islets, mid-range hotels, traditional cabins …
Accommodation prices are not expensive, although it is true that they depend on the season. The most expensive areas to stay in Zanzibar are Nungwi and Jambiani. The cheapest are Kendwa, Paje, Stone Town or Bwejuu.
This small village is located southeast of Zanzibar. Like the rest of the zanzibari map, its great claim is the beach, which has a very peaceful atmosphere. In addition, it has the perfect waves for surfing and kitesurfing and has rich coral bottoms that make it ideal for diving and snorkeling.
However, the local atmosphere of the town also attracts a good number of travelers, since it can be seen traditional trades such as seaweed collection, construction of traditional boats -hows- or work with coconut fibers.
Its unpaved streets are decorated with Swahili-style houses, some traditional shops and stores, so walking through them is a real opportunity for those who want to delve into the local culture.
It is a highly recommended area to stay in Zanzibar for travelers who intend to practice maritime sports and also flee from the crowds.
The number of hotels is not too generous, although in recent years it has increased substantially. The good news is that prices are lower than elsewhere. In fact, it is possible to sleep in a 4-star hotel for about $ 50 a night.
Accommodations in Paje
This bay is located between Kendwa and Nungwi, at the southern end of Kiwengwa Beach. Small in size, it is one of the most incredible in the archipelago, as it has a beautiful beach washed by turquoise waters and fine white sand. It is a place that invites only one to let go and enjoy.
Staying in Zanzibar here means sleeping in one of the most special and spectacular parts of this African destination.
Given its small size, it does not have too many accommodations and hotel complexes predominate. The prices are a bit high, although it is also possible to find some with low prices. A 4-star hotel costs less than $ 70 a night.
This tiny fishing village sits on the southeast coast of Zanzibar, and is one of the oldest and most traditional. Traditionally dedicated to the breeding and harvesting of algae, it has more than five kilometers of crystalline water beaches, around which a good number of hotel complexes, bungalows and middle-class hotels are located.
Its beaches offer the ideal waves for the practice of maritime sports such as surfing or kitesurfing; and they have rich coral bottoms that allow you to enjoy diving, panoramic navigation or snorkeling in its broadest sense.
It can also boast of being one of the most authentic, constituting a magnet for lovers of ethnology and African cultures. Among its streets you can see the locals walking barefoot, flirtatious shops, local workshops and some restaurants, where it is possible to taste traditional delicacies of zanzibari cuisine.
It is one of the most privileged areas to stay in Zanzibar, because it allows you to have contact with the locals, experience the local culture and also enjoy the beach and different maritime disciplines.
It is a unique destination that has a good offer of hotels, many of them on the beachfront. Prices, given its location, vary depending on the season. However, for about $ 70 you can stay in a 4-star hotel.
This small town extends in the southeast part of the island, between Paje and Michamvi and about seven kilometers from Jambiani. It has gone from being one of the quietest to welcoming many travelers looking to enjoy its beaches, embraced by coconut palms, palm trees and tropical vegetation, and the incredible natural spaces that it treasures.
The tranquility invades all its corners, reason why it constitutes a paradise for those who look for peace. Walking along the beach you can see locals fish or collect red algae, activities that are the basis of their economy.
There are not many hotels here. However, if you want to sleep in a quiet, beautiful and traditional area, it is one of the most recommended areas to stay in Zanzibar. Despite the reduced offer of accommodation, prices are not high. So, you can stay in a cabin or in a bungalow for about $ 40 a night.
Hotels in Bwejuu
Stone Town is the main island. Formerly it was the epicenter of the spice trade, which made it the most important city in East Africa. It even became the largest producer of the clove balloon, although it also stood out for cardamom and nutmeg plantations.
Today it is a special city, whose corners and constructions are a faithful reflection of all the cultures that have inhabited it as the Moorish, Swahili, Persian, Indian, European and Arab. A true melting pot of cultures that embark those who visit in a very special experience.
Its old town is declared a World Heritage Site, as it treasures very beautiful and valuable buildings such as the Sultan’s Palace, the House of Wonders or the Old Fort.
But the attractions of this zanzibari city do not remain in those mentioned. She treasures Livingstone’s small palace, the Anglican cathedral, the Persian baths, the Forodhani gardens or the palace museum.
The architecture of the houses that decorate it is another of the differentiating elements. Most of the doors of the buildings contain sharp pieces of metal, which were included to prevent the elephants from destroying them, printing a great aesthetic uniqueness. In addition, they are carved and show a rich decorative profusion, which indicated the status of its inhabitants.
When buying local products, the reference place is the city market, one of the largest outdoor markets in the country. In their positions you will find from avocados to elephant garlic, which are only grown on the island.
The promenade area shows the seafaring facet of this charming city overlooking the Indian Ocean. Its pier has some recommended restaurants to enjoy fresh seafood, as well as local dishes. They also make a delicious sugarcane juice.
It is less than 10 km from Zanzibar International Airport, which is connected to the city center by bus. In addition, it has the jetty where the ferries that connect with other nearby towns and villages, and with the container depart.
Stonte Town is one of the best options to stay in Zanzibar, because it is the perfect refuge to take advantage of the incessant heat of the nearby towns and villages or enjoy a unique multicultural environment.
In addition, it has access to the main services and is excellently communicated with the other regions of Zanzibar.
As expected, the offer of accommodation is very generous and there are all types and categories. The prices are very varied. By booking in advance, it is possible to access a 4-star hotel for $ 50 or $ 60.
Accommodations in Stone Town
This town is located north of the island of Zanzibar, and is one of the largest of all that dot it. In the past it was dedicated to fishing and the construction of traditional boats or dhow, but today it lives on tourism.
The reason is that it is dotted with one of the best beaches in the world, which many call the jewel of the East African coast. It is ideal to enjoy a swim and various water activities such as snorkeling or diving.
Around the beach there is an extensive offer of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues where you can enjoy the fun and nightlife of the area. In addition, it has the fish market.
Attached to this is the dhow building center, where you can see on site how the locals build these typical fishing boats. Not far away is the Mnarani and Baraka turtle aquarium, which offer the experience of swimming among them or feeding them.
The town is also an excellent starting point to move to the marine reserve of Mnemba, where you can enjoy diving, the sea and the sun.
It is very well connected to the rest of the areas by Dala Dala 116 bus from Darajani or Creek Road in Stone Town.
It is an excellent sleeping area in Zanzibar, especially for those who want to enjoy the benefits of the sea and, at the same time, have contact with the locals.
As its main tourist destination, it has a very extensive offer of accommodation, in which the hotel complexes and bungalows on the beachfront stand out. Prices vary depending on the time of year. Even so, the average of a 4-star hotel ranges between $ 100 and $ 120 a night.
Accommodations in Nungwi
This town is located about three kilometers from Nungwi, from where you can get there by taking a pleasant walk along the coast at low tide.
Smaller and with a more local atmosphere than its neighbor, it has a beautiful beach that increasingly attracts more travelers, especially those who seek to enjoy a swim and water sports such as snorkeling, diving, parasailing, flyboard or jet ski, among others .
The full moon parties held on the beach are increasingly popular, offering the opportunity to enter the most festive facet of Zanzibar.
To get to this zanzibari town you can take a private bus or taxi in Stone Town. There is also the option of arriving by private boat from Nungwi
It is an area that must be taken into account when staying in Zanzibar who seek to recreate in the sea, beauty and tranquility or stay in a bungalow overlooking the sea, as there are a good number of them.
By receiving less influx of tourism than its neighbor, it has a more limited hotel offer, but with cheap prices. In fact, it is one of the most chosen places for backpackers to sleep in Zanzibar. Here it is possible to stay in a 4-star hotel for around $ 50 or $ 60.
This town on the northwest coast of Zanzibari, still retains its traditional charm. In fact, he continues to live from fishing and seaweed farming. This evocative atmosphere and its paradisiacal beach make it one of the most special enclaves to stay in Zanzibar.
The beach is also an excellent opportunity to connect with nature, enjoy maritime sports, its seabed or its warm and transparent waters. For its part, the town allows you to enter the more local and traditional Zanzibar.
The surroundings treasure incredible places such as the coral reef and the Mnemba lagoon, which is a paradise for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, since its bottoms are home to numerous species such as giant turtles, snappers or trumpet fish. Between July and November, it is possible to see humpback whales on their annual migration route.
It is acceptably communicated with other nearby towns such as Nungwi, from where you can reach by taxi; or Stone Town, where you can take a taxi or a dala dala, a private bus.
The offer of hotels is a bit concise, limited to a few bungalows, small hotels and cottages. Prices are not too high if we compare them with other more tourist towns. For one $ 70 it is possible to sleep in a 4 star hotel.
On the northwest coast, between Pongwe and Pwani Mchangani, is this enclave, one of the most paradisiacal of Zanzibar. The main claim is its beautiful practically paradisiacal beaches, which exert powerful appeal for those who seek to enjoy the possibilities offered by the sea without too much company.
However, the traditional village that stretches behind it is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the rural beauty of Zanzibar.
Those who wish to enjoy alternative activities to the sea, can make an excursion to the natural caves of the same name. Integra three and are a true visual spectacle.
This enclave is not very extensive, but it has a quite interesting offer of accommodation and with prices suitable for all budgets. Here it is possible to stay in a 4-star hotel for about $ 70 a night, but also in a 5-star hotel from $ 100 a night.