First of all, the south east coast is definitely the better place to be in Zanzibar - it is not as crowded as the north (ie. Nungwi and Kendwa). Paje is the next busiest place, but Ndame is perfectly located - near enough to walk to the action, but you can also just hang out there and you have no hassle. The lodge has meters and meters of beachfront, the rooms all dotted along the front and the restaurant has some delicious food! Most importantly, the staff are super-friendly and you think like they really enjoy working there - you don't find that in many places.
Ndame is not super luxury, but it is exactly why it is so nice - you just feel relaxed and at home there.
Mambo Poa Tours is a new tour agency located on the South East Coast of Zanzibar. We heard a lot of discussion about Zanzibar becoming over touristy and over-charged, but we did not find this the case to be on the south east coast. Jambiani is a perfect base to stay, and the boys from Mambo Poa had some really interesting tours, beside the usual tours. We did a snorkelling trip, a day out in Stone Town (ask them about a combo of Spice tour, City Tour and Prison Island - it was a day full of fun!) and to a place in the south of the island with an abandoned hotel site (definitely something different.) You can tell that the boys know their island and they were nice and honest guys to hang out with.
For its excellent atmosphere! Very private and undisturbed room. It is spotless, very spacious, and very tastefully decorated. Food was great: simple, fresh and cooked in an open kitchen.
Nungwi beach in northern Zanzibar is as close to paradise as you can get! The warm, crystal clear Indian Ocean, straw roofed beach huts and white soft sands make it the perfect place to relax and soak up the African sun. Blending into the tropical natural environment there are plenty of cheap, mid range and luxury hotels, restaurants and bars available to enjoy a cocktail or an evening meal to suit the backpacker and those with a taste for luxury. Local people live just beyond the coastline where you can have a taste of local foods and culture and you're only a cheap yet hair raising 20 minute bus ride to Stone Town the birth place of Freddie Mercury, with its winding maze of cobbled streets, famous intricately carved wooden doors, exquisite coffee, local art,and its massive and overwhelming cooked fish market which happens every evening. A variety of watersports are available including scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing trips, windsurfing and romantic rides in locally built dhows. You can even watch local fisherman catching the night's meal or building and repairing their traditional dhows. A turtle sanctuary is well worth the visit and every full moon a huge party erupts on a beach nearby that draws huge crowds of tourists from all over Zanzibar.
Google map: bit.ly/OxNlQz
Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, there are worst places to find yourself stranded than on the coral-ringed Chumbe Island, located off the coast of Zanzibar. Chumbe combines sustainable ecological living with luxury; an affordable, private haven with a conscience. As a guest on this island paradise (and there are never more than 14 people at any one time), you have your very own beach, steps away from the front door of your beautiful palm thatched eco-bungalow. The beaches surround a marine protected coral park with world-class snorkelling, as well as being home to a historic lighthouse and the protected (and nocturnal) coconut crabs. The beaches are perfect for relaxation, nature spotting and romance, far removed from those of a typical holiday resort. On our first night, we were the only guests on the island. On our final night, the staff (always attentive without being intrusive) arranged a private, secluded candlelit dinner for two on the beach as a surprise. Bliss.
At Jambiani you will find miles of unspoiled beach and complete peace broken only by the sounds of the sea and the wind in the trees. You can stay right on the beach in guest houses built in the local thatched style. We stayed off-season in Jambiani guesthouse and had the whole house to ourselves. Lounging in the shady garden we watched the beach landscape change throughout the day. We swam early when the tide was up and then watched the sea recede until it was almost out of sight, observing the colours change from the grey of early morning to the shimmering turquoise of midday. The beach was largely inhabited by locals fishing from dhows and later as the beach grew in size women farming seaweed which patterned the sand. At lunchtime we ate freshly caught fish and drank local beers in small friendly beach cafes.
I recommend the beach on the Indian Ocean side of the coral-ringed Chumbe Island, located off the coast of Zanzibar. Chumbe combines sustainable ecological living with luxury; an affordable, private haven with a conscience. As a guest on this island paradise (and there are never more than 14 people at any one time), you have your very own beach, steps away from the front door of your beautiful palm thatched eco-bungalow. The beaches surround a marine protected coral park with world-class snorkelling, as well as being home to a historic lighthouse and the protected (and nocturnal) coconut crabs. The beaches are perfect for relaxation, nature spotting and romance, far removed from those of a typical holiday resort. On our first night, we were the only guests on the island. On our final night, the staff (always attentive without being intrusive) arranged a private, secluded candlelit dinner for two on the beach as a surprise. Bliss.
An idyllic stretch of white sand beach spilling into the crystal clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean accessible either along the beach from Nungwi at low tide or a long haul clamber down from the main access road that drives through the island. By day you stretch out on the deserted sands and watch the fishermen casually push off in their dhows. You can cool off and swim in the beautiful blue shallows before relaxing with a cold beer as the amazing sun sets over the Indian Ocean - creating silhouettes of the fleets of fishing dhows on the horizon - you can even clamber onto an old one laid to rest on the beach. By night you can eat fresh king fish with coconut rice on the cooled swathes of sands before swinging in a hammock, looking up and almost touching the stars as they spread across and light the remote blackness around you. Idyllic, isolated and immense.
Kendwa, near Nungwhi - north west coast of Zanzibar.
Google map: bit.ly/rQcysW
This place is called Hondo Hondo in the village because of the many hornbills which fly around the camp. The ensuite tents have great stone floor bathrooms and comfortable double beds so it feels like you are at home until you look out of the window or up from the bathroom - they are open air! When I had a shower there were monkeys in the trees watching me I am sure. The food is good and their bar has a good view up into the forest where we went walking in the morning. The forest is good for walking but very hot so make sure to take lots of water. A good place, very comfortable, and hidden from the rest of Tanzania
+255 (0) 784 479 427
What turned out to be one of the most enjoyable trips we have made to Africa, arranged by Chris and Lynne at Go2Tanzania. I took over 5,000 images, Manyara Ranch was the highlight. We had a wonderful time thanks to the skill patience and understanding of our guide Njano. Followed by bliss on the beach at Fumba.
Bacon and eggs with fresh Tanzanian coffee cannot get better than this. Kingfishers, herons, storks, sun birds, rollers, hippos, crocodiles. You will share your early morning with them all, enveloped by the astounding landscape of Ruaha National Park in Southern Tanzania. An AfrikaAfrika Safaris guide will spot each and every fascinating creature, revealing the scene in its full glory. This lesser known park offers an astounding array of wildlife as well as a range of bio zones that dazzle in their variety. Baobabs, those wise, ancient trees, punctuate the vista. Breathtaking
A superb small beach lodge on the northern tip of the island.
Great service, superb food and diving and the best beach we saw on the island. We arranged our trip with Africa Odyssey who had videos of all the locations which really helped
Amazing island hideaway. Totally kicks Zanzibar into touch. The most romantic, most beautiful beach lodge I have ever stayed in, and the food simply blows you away.
There are miles and miles of white sandy beaches, and the whale sharks hang out right by the lodge so you can go throw yourself off a boat and swim around with these amazing animals. Truly a hidden gem. Get yourself there!
A remote and relaxed tented camp on the borders of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park in the Kilombero Valley. It's a great place to go for birding and hiking, and the view from the top of Sanje Waterfall out across the sugar cane and the huge Kilombero Valley is breath-taking. Food good, beer cold, staff smiley, monkeys and birds onsite to watch, elephants in the night ... We also rented bikes and went for a ride through the village nearby and into the sugar cane fields. Great few days in a place hardly anyone even knows is there!
Mangula, Kilombero Valley, tanzania. Drive to Mikumi and turn left, basically.
Udzungwa Forest Campsite (HondoHondo).
Dar Es Salaam, PO BOX 34514, Tanzania
+255 (0) 22 261 7166
Google map: bit.ly/9QCBbQ
A beautiful laid back, romantic, beach hotel, where you really do feel like a castaway.
The airy cottages are extremely comfortable and spacious, with good bathroom, huge bed and covered terrace with hammocks and seating. They are well spaced out so all you can hear is the ocean.
The food is excellent, with the emphasis on fish for lunch and dinner.
You can spend all day chilling on the beach but there are other activities, such as the walk around the lagoon through the forest, kayaking round the lagoon and boogie boarding. There are no motorised beach activities, which is a bonus.
The lodge is involved in a turtle conservation project so sometimes you can see the baby turtles hatching, unfortunately that didn't happen while we were there but it must be fantastic.
There were quite a few honeymooners there while we were and I can see why.
My favourite beach I discovered while backpacking around Africa last year was Kendwa, on the north-western tip of Zanzibar’s principal island Unguja. Zanzibar is steeped in history, its capital Stone Town being a UNESCO world heritage site, with vivid reminders of the island’s past as the centre of the slave trade. You can (and I did) spend days wandering around the labyrinth of narrow streets and market stalls, senses inundated by exotic smells, colourful sights and deafening sounds. But if you can drag yourself away from the hustle and bustle and head north, you will come to Kendwa - a true paradise of white sand, clear skies and turquoise sea. But there’s much more to it than that: I stayed at Kendwa Rocks, a very chilled out backpacker place with accommodation of varying degrees of luxury – from basic dorms to luxury beach bandas. There is a bar/restaurant right on the beach (which is run by a very cool rasta who was always very friendly) which hosts a full moon party every month. I was lucky enough to be there for one of these legendary shindigs and the slight apprehension I felt as a lone traveller soon disappeared as I found myself drinking konyagi (a spirit which can be likened to a cross between gin and vodka) with other revelers and dancing until the sun came up. A truly once in a lifetime experience! I met such an interesting mix of people at Kendwa, from fellow European backpackers to Zanzibar locals and Maasai from northern Tanzania. An excellent place to relax, if you like your beach hangouts a little rough around the edges and with a real local flavour. It's also possible to take a boat trip to the neighbouring private Mafia island to snorkel or dive - highly recommended, and best booked by talking to the local guys who run the trips (as well as providing snorkelling gear and a modest lunch of barbequed fish and rice). The Maasai sell traditional art, jewellery and carvings in shacks along the beach and it's also possible to get a really good massage for around $5.
An old beautifully restored house in Stone Town, Zanzibar, recommended for its delicious coffee and cakes but also for the friendly local staff. Upstairs there are a small selection of rooms and suites all named after a type of coffee,eg, cappuccino. By night the hotel is a quiet romantic retreat, after the coffee house closes in the early evening it is only open to guests. Rooms have traditional canopied Zanzibar beds draped with extravagant mosquito nets. The hotel is decorated throughout with antique furniture, and scented with local spices and of course coffee. The locality is bustling with life being close to the large local market and bus station but inside all is tranquil. In the evening you return to find the vast beds covered with flower petals, in the morning you can take a leisurely breakfast on the exotic roof terrace, that looks like it has come from "The Arabian Nights" and admire the amazing views of the town.
From US $75-125 per room/suite per night
Stone Town, Zanzibar,close to bus station,follow the signs or ask a taxi driver to direct you they will be happy to do so though access is via narrow alley ways,on foot only.
details on www.riftvalley-zanzibar.com
The Utengule Country Hotel Ltd
PO Box 139, Mbeya, Tanzania
It is a pristine beach near the north end of the island. I went a while back, and I've heard it is more developed than before, but it was beautiful. We hired Vespas and took the dirt roads far north.
This guy also seems to have hired Vespas to do it, and hit some other sites throughout Africa. Jealous of: www.ruba.com/guide/Santiago_Ripley/Best_Places_to_See_in_Eastern_Africa
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