The spice island of Zanzibar with its interesting history influenced by early Arab traders offers beautiful beaches at the Indian Ocean and beach hotels of all standards. Consisting of the main islands Unguja and Pemba as well as of several smaller untouched islands, the Zanzibar Archipelago features gorgeous, palm-fringed white sandy beaches that stretch into the warm turquoise waters and invite visitors to unwind and soak up the sun.
The capital of Zanzibar City with its old historic centre of Stone Town, a UNESCO world heritage site, is situated on Unguja Island and is often referred to simply as Zanzibar. Its eventful history of gruesome slave and exotic trade still shows traces everywhere. Magnificent Sultan’s palaces and grand Arab houses, winding alleys and bustling bazaars give visitors the feeling of being immersed in the world of Sindbad and Alibaba.
Select your beach hotel:
For many tourists, the first stop will be the historical city centre which is also referred to as Stone Town. With its fascinating buildings and winding roads and alleys where one is bound to get lost at some point, Stone Town will definitely be one of your highlights.
from 75 USD pp sharing / bb
This centrally located hotel housed in an modern renovated old town house, offers a rooftop terrace with a superb 360° panoramic view of Stone Town.
75 USD pp sharing / bb
With its own beach and spectacular view over the ocean, the Tembo Hotel is a perfect, central starting point for trips to the historical centre of Stone Town.
50 USD pp sharing / bb
This historic boutique hotel has been lovingly restored and is now an oasis of calm, amid the hustle and bustle of Stone Town.
from 64 USD pp sharing / bb
Deep within the winding streets of Stone Town lies the Zanzibar Coffee House, which spoils guests with its own freshly roasted coffee.
from 156 USD pp sharing / bb
The Zanzibar Serena Hotel has an ideal location in Stone Town – directly on the harbour promenade with great views and at the same time offers access to the historical old town centre.
Experience nature at its best, far away from any form of civilisation and modern infrastructure. Chumbe, an award-winning island situated off Zanzibar offers secluded and pristine beaches and is surrounded by a biodiverse coral reef. With its eco-friendly and sustainable setup, it’s perfect for nature enthusiast yearning for the ultimate Robinson-Crusoe-feeling.
from 260 USD pp sharing / fb
Chumbe Island exudes a comfortable Robinson-Crusoe-feeling. The African inspired bungalows, with their palm leaf rooftops, provide a unique and private atmosphere.
In the north, approximately 50 km from Stone Town, is Nungwi. Once a sleepy fishing village, it is now a popular island destination full of life. It is also one of the only places from where you can see both the sunrise and sunset over the ocean.
from 115 USD pp sharing / bb
Situated directly on the Indian Ocean, the Z-Hotel easily wins the hearts of its visitors with it elegant and modern style mixed with a bit of Zanzibar flair.
from 123 USD pp sharing / hb
This boutique hotel at the extreme northern tip of the island offers two in one – calm and relaxing privacy plus its proximity to the bustling fishing village of Nungwi.
from 110 USD pp sharing / fb
Larger Hotel Complex in the extreme north of Zanzibar, offering many extras.
The east coast of Zanzibar is very popular amongst visitors seeking beautiful beaches and tranquillity and it is just like a tropical paradise with its miles of palm-fringed beaches.. Compared to other regions of the island, the coral reef on the east coast is at its furthest distance from the shore and swimming is only possible during high tide..
from 85 USD pp sharing / bb
The Spice Island Hotel & Resort offers European comfort and is very popular with German-speaking guests, due to German Management.
from 209 USD pp sharing / ai
Luxurious all inclusive hotel with spa, offering a large variety of recreational activities.
from 48 USD pp sharing / bb
Located directly at the beautiful Jambiani Beach on the East Coast of Zanzibar, Blue Oyster Hotel is still an insider tip and is offering good value for money.
from 40 USD pp sharing / bb
Casa Del Mar is located at Jambiani Beach on the East coast of Zanzibar. It lies at one of the few beach stretches of Zanzibar where it is always possible to swim.
from 123 USD pp sharing / bb
Relax and be pampered in style – that is the motto of this elegant and sophisticated designed hotel on the northeast coast of Zanzibar.
from 54 USD pp sharing / bb
This simple, but well-kept hotel offers a family friendly atmosphere and is located on a long sandy beach on the southern coast.
from 134 USD pp sharing / hb
This owner-managed hotel is located away from the busy island beaches, in a small bay on the southeast coast. It is an ideal place for all those who prefer seclusion with peace and quiet.
from 88 USD pp sharing / hb
This larger hotel complex is located on the northeast coast and surrounded by extensive gardens. The hotel offers many leisure activities and entertainment programs, and features the largest pool on the island.
from 330 USD pp sharing / ai
Stylish 5-star boutique hotel on the east coast, combining the highest exclusivity with pure relaxation.
from 185 USD pp sharing / fb
This family villa complex with only 4 rooms, is perfect for small groups and families looking for privacy and tranquillity.
What to do on Zanzibar?
If you are an active person and tend to get bored after one or two days at the beach, don’t worry as Zanzibar also has something in store for you. Many hotels and local operators arrange day trips to small islands or to the coral reefs. Professional PADI diving schools offer beginners and professionals alike a full range of scuba diving with professional equipment.
Other water sports such as kiting, kayaking, catamaran sailing, wind surfing, deep sea fishing, water skiing, parasailing and jet skiing are also on offer and provide lots of fun.
Also worth a visit are Zanzibar’s many spice plantations and the unique Jozani forest with the endemic Zanzibar red colobus monkeys.
Facts about Zanzibar
The Zanzibari cuisine cannot be characterised as it has many cultural influences. Fish, vegetables, chicken and a rich selection of fruits and spices can be found in many dishes.
The climate in the area is most often humid and warm. It is best described as typical, tropical island climate – warm to hot all year around.
Zanzibar and its neighbour Pemba have an average water temperature of 24-27 ° C throughout the year. With its stunning underwater scenery and unique abundance of fish commonly found in the Indian Ocean, it is a great destination especially for divers and snorkelers alike..
The annually increasing range of beach hotels is testimony to the rising number of visitors. Although Tanzania’s coasts and the archipelago of Zanzibar were still treated as a “tip” years ago, they now have become a good competitor to the always popular beaches of Kenya.
Zanzibar used to be considered a less popular destination, due to horrendous prices and an unfriendly reputation. But fortunately, that is all in the past and today, the island welcomes tourists from all over the world.
Many airlines – national as well as international carriers – provide flights to Zanzibar and connect the island to the rest of the world. When flying to the island, you will land at Zanzibar airport which is located on the outskirts of Zanzibar City.