Best time to visit Zanzibar

Beach Season in Zanzibar

Visit outstanding beaches along the eastern or northern coasts with fishing villages, tropical palms, and mangrove forests washed by the Indian Ocean

Best time: June–February

Beach Season

Beach season in Zanzibar has two periods—between June and September (the best time) and October through February (humidity tends to get too high) are ideal for relaxation and holidays. The island's white beaches, outstanding barrier reefs, and UNESCO world heritage sites make this a dream destination.

The island has 25 beaches located along the eastern and northern coasts. They can offer all of the main attractions like scuba diving, snorkelling, fresh seafood, and interesting sights.

The southern edge of Zanzibar is known for its schools of bottle-nosed dolphins where you can swim with these clever mammals.

Visit the Prison Island with its inhabitants—giant tortoises. It is also a perfect destination for coral reef diving.

Ras Nungwi Beach is known for its party atmosphere. Kendwa and Paje are great for water sports, like windsurfing or kite surfing. You can also check out the seaweed fishing village of Bwejuu with its lanky palm trees or Kiwengwa with the fanciest hotels and pure stretches of sand. No matter which beach you choose, you'll surely be in paradise!

The isolated Mafia Island boasts stunning palm-fringed beaches.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Zanzibar beaches?

The ideal time to visit the Zanzibar beaches is in June-September and from October through February. The period is great for relaxation and holiday activities offered by the 25 beaches found along the coastlines, including scuba diving, snorkelling, fresh seafood, and various sightseeing opportunities. Although it is always a good time to visit Zanzibar, it's advisable to avoid the rainy season running from March-May, which may dampen your trip. Show more

Where are the best beaches in Zanzibar located?

25 beaches can be found on the Zanzibar island, and the best ones are located along the northern and eastern coastlines. The southern part of Zanzibar is characterized by bottle-nosed dolphins, dolphins that can be swum with as well as the Prison Island, which is home to giant tortoises. Water sports, like kite surfing and wind-surfing, are best in Kendwa and Paje. Kiwengwa has stretches of pure sand and hospitable hotels, while Bwejuu boasts palm trees and is a seaweed-fishing village. Mafia Island, isolated, has sandy beaches with stunning views. Show more

What are the main attractions of Zanzibar beaches?

Zanzibar's beaches are known for their crystal-clear, warm waters, white sand, and range of activities, such as snorkelling, scuba diving, and wind-surfing. Additionally, the beaches are home to giant tortoises, UNESCO heritage sites, historic Stone Town and intriguing spots in general. The southern Zanzibar beaches offer bottle-nosed dolphin residency and other surrounding activities such as coral-reef-diving, silk fishing in crystal clear waters and beautiful sunset cruises. Show more

Where can you swim with bottle-nosed dolphins in Zanzibar?

In Zanzibar, Kizimkazi is the residency for bottle-nosed dolphins, where early morning and late afternoon tours can be booked for swimming with the intelligent mammals through local hotels or tour operators. However, there has been some controversy about dolphin sightings in Zanzibar in recent years, and tourists are advised to book only with tour operators that follow responsible wildlife practices. Show more

Which Zanzibar beach is known for its party atmosphere?

Ras Nungwi Beach, found on the island's northern end, is known for its lively party atmosphere, offering various beach parties, music festivals and entertainment that generally attract young travellers. Conversely, if you seek less crowded private retreats or for family vacation, beaches such as Kendwa, Paje and Kiwengwa are better options. Comprising 25 different stretches of coastline, Zanzibar's beaches offer unique settings for various interests and preferences. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin