Where to Stay in Zanzibar

When I was figuring out where to stay in Zanzibar, I noticed it was somewhat difficult to find information about the different areas, including the attractions, vibes, and general pros & cons.

To help you plan your trip, I’ll share what I found through my research and personal experience. I separated it into general descriptions, activities and accommodations to help you navigate this beautiful island.

Descriptions

  • Northwest: fun and busy; has long and wide beaches during both tides
    • My personal favorite!
    • Nungwi: northern tip; good diving; bustling backpacker center; many hotels/bars
      • the perfect spot to visit Mnemba Atol (a great snorkel spot an hour sail away)
    • Kendwa: pristine beach; fun with backpackers; not as busy as Nungwi
      • a place to party at night, or partake in hookah
  • Northeast: very relaxed; can only swim when the tide is in, but has gorgeous beaches
    • Matemwe: not the best beaches; small fishing village
  • Southeast: generally more relaxed
    • Paje: some restaurants; great beach
    • Jambiani: very relaxed; small quiet & simple; next to Paje
    • Bwejuu: great swimming beaches & area; right by Paje
  • Southwest:
    • Stone Town: not the best place to stay (very touristy), but fun to go out to eat and explore. Lots to do here

Activities

  • North Coast:
    • Kite-surf at Ras Nungwi beach
    • Mnemba Atoll Marine Park: snorkel or scuba in clear warm waters
      • on Mnemba Island
      • Spanish Dancer Divers gives daily trips
  • Middle:
    • Jozani Forest: nature trails, exotic trees, Red Colobus monkeys
      • $10 entry fee – go to the mangrove forest; insist getting what you pay for with your guide
  • Southeast:
    • Rizimkazi dolphin tour: Rising Sun Dive center at Breezes resort in Bwejuu
      • tour can include Jozani Forest
    • Seaweed center at Paje
    • Kite-surf at Paje
  • Southwest:
    • Menai Bay Conservation Area
      • Snorkel Excursions – Fumba water sports
      • See humpbacks, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles
    • Stone Town:
      • House of Wonders, Arab Fort, market
      • Fahari Zanzibar: makes high quality bags, jewelry & accessories
      • Spice tour
        • Be careful when buying spices/teas that are packaged as “variety packs”; don’t buy these from the street

Accommodations

  • Northwest:
    • Nungwi:
      • Double Tree Hilton
      • Amaan Bungalows
      • Flame Tree Cottages
      • Sazani Beach Hotel
      • Essque Zalu Zanzibar – expensive
      • Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel
      • Milele Villas – great reviews; 15 minutes away from Nungwi & Kendwa
      • Kilindi Zanzibar
      • Smiles Beach Hotel
      • Ora Resort Nungwi Lodge
      • G. Oasis
    • Kendwa:
      • Kendwa Rocks
      • Eden Village Kendwa Beach Resort
      • Les Toits de Palme
  • Northeast:
    • Matemwe:
      • Villa Kiva
      • Zanzibar Retreat hotel – great reviews
      • Blue bay beach resort – Kiwengwa Beach
      • Shooting Star lodge (not the one in stone town!) – cliff, infinity pool; great views and cheap, Kiwengwa Beach
      • Villa Dida Resort, Pwani Mchangani
    • Other:
      • Tamarind Beach Hotel – bungalow; Unguja
      • Mchanga- small, cozy
  • Southeast:
    • Paje:
      • Savanna & Ocean b&b
    • Jambiani :
      • Blue Oyster Hotel – great reviews & cheap
      • Villa de Coco – good reviews
      • Reef & Beach Resort Zanzibar
      • Coral Rock Hotel – great food and location; more expensive
      • Mbuyuni Beach Village – cheap; has a bar/lounge
    • Bwejuu:
      • Echo Beach Hotel- awesome food & service
      • Breezes Beach Club & Spa- large and good quality; may be expensive
      • Fontaine Garden Village
  • Southwest:
    • Stone Town:
      • Park Hyatt
      • 236 Hurumzi
      • Maru Maru: boutique hotel; good value
      • Double Tree

Have any advice to share about Zanzibar? Agree or disagree with my descriptions? Please share in a comment!

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