Zanzibar view

Tanzanian Beaches

Although Tanzania is popularly known for its rich African heritage and culture and its magnificient Safari Parks replete with all kinds of wildlife and fauna, Tanzania also has another treasure trouve in its vacation arsenal for beach bums –  Golden Sand beaches with turquoise blue water that is so transparent that one can see the coral reefs lying on the sea bed in the shallower parts of the sea.

Best Beaches in Tanzania

If you are planning a first visit to Tanzania, most of your innate beach-relaxation thirst can easily be quenched by the islands and off-coast beaches in the Zanzibar Archipelago. If however, you do wish to venture to slightly lesser known beaches, we have got those covered in this list as well. 

Saadani National Park

Eagle eyed readers will be quick to point out that this is not a beach destination but instead is a Game Reserve, and would be right. Saadani National Park is one of the rare destinations in Tanzania that gives a unique experience of a wildlife Safari and also a stunning and relaxing beach experience at the coast. Ever seen lions, hippos, Elephants and Giraffes wander about in a beach? At the Saadani coastline, you will find the opportunity to see these mind boggling spectacle.

saadani national park

Known especially for its historic significance , what was once an important trading route and a hub for the English to transport goods to Australia and the rest of Africa is now a Safari-beach lovers dream. The indigenous communities carry the heritage of their ancestors with pride and a happy smile follows tourists throughout the beach. 

Most of the indigenous communities are now largely confined to fishing and other allied activities and the beach is rarely visited by mainstream tourists but in our experience, whoever has visited this island has fallen in love with it, which is why we place it at #1.

Nearest Landmark: Located 200 Kms from Dar-es-salaam

Region: Northern Circuit

Size: Around 1,000 sq kms

 Attractions: Safari excursions, beach lodges, cultural trips, deep sea reef diving, snorkelling

Mafia Island Beach

We have a bit of a wildlife theme going on here, the second spot on our list is taken by the Mafia Island beach that is also renowned all over the world for the close encounters with Humpback Whales and Whale Sharks that it offers to enthusiastic and adventurous tourists that visit the Island. 
 
The island was a prominent trading stop for the Arab traders who arrived in the country as early as the 8th century and was an important linking point for the rest of the world and Africa. In fact, the name of the island originates from the arabic word – morfiyeh meaning a group of islands or an archipelago. 
 
nungw beach
The archipelago consists of one large island and several smaller islands that are inhabited by various indigenous populations. The heritage and lineage of the land is clearly evident throughout the island that was initially influenced heavily by the Arab and Indian traders. Then towards the 18th century the Germans took control followed by the English. 

Due to its unique cultural influence, exciting marine activities in and around the island and its offbeat reputation, the Mafia island steals the #2 spot on our list. 

Nungwi Beach

Even if you have just begun your research on Tanzania, you may have already stumbled across this name. Nungwi Beach is a wildly popular beach in the Zanzibar autonomous region and is favored by tourists worldwide. The list of activities that can be undertaken at Nungwi is mind-boggling and the resort options range from semi-luxury to super-luxury. 
 Adding icing to the cake, the beach is situated in the Zanzibar Archipelago where every popular beach resorts can easily be accessed by road or by a short ferry. The island has a history of small ship-building that is referred to Dhow-building, and allied activities and extensive shipping. It is now almost exclusively a tourist destination. 
 
Turtle conservation efforts to reverse the effect of extensive hunting has been recently marked with striking progress and the island is home to a small aquarium and Turtle farm as well. 
 
Travel experts worldwide claim that the Nungwi beach is one of the fastest growing tourist hotspots in the world. In the period between 2008 – 2013, the occupancy rates for tourists in the beach rose by more than 130% and the beach is increasingly preferred by Russian, Arab, Indian and Western tourists alike. 
 

Nearest Landmark: Located 50 Kms from Stone Town in Zanzibar

Region: Zanzibar Autonomous Region

Size: Around 1,000 sq kms

 Attractions: Museums, Luxury Beach Lodges, Scuba Diving, Surfing, Snorkelling, Turtle conservation Aquariums, cultural walks and road-trips to Zanzibar’s Stone town. 

Expert tip: Renting a vehicle from Zanzibar stone town to get to Nungwi is the cheapest and most convenient option

Bongoyo Island

Introverts and peace-seakers – this one is for you. Bongoyo island is an incredible day-trip beach getaway that is only one short ferry ride away from Dar-es-salaam. In fact, the island is part of Dar-es-salaam marine reserve and -wait for it- the island is completely uninhabited. That’s right, the isolated island has no settlements or hotels making it impossible to stay overnight. 
Whoever visits beaches for the scenery during the night anyway, right? Bongoyo island boasts some incredible views, mangroves surrounding the island and also make way for beautiful birds and the water is, of course, turquoise blue. 
 
Fishermen from the nearby island villages will be more than happy to take you around for a quick fishing trip which is an experience in itself.  Very few select this Bongoyo Island for their beach vacation but the ones that do almost certainly fall in love with it. 
 
Nakupenda Beach
 
Lovebirds and honeymoon couples worldwide, this one is for you. The word Nakupenda in Swahili literally translates to “I love you” and the beach does have an unusually high number of couples visiting it annually. Possibly because it is also located very close to Stone Town in the heart of Zanzibar where most couples opt to stay during their Honeymoon. 
 
Oh one more thing – The island beach is almost submerged under the sea and experts believe that it will be completely submerged underneath the Indian ocean within the next two decades. The lovely beach has a couple of beach bars and a whole lot of adventure boat operators who offer amazing Snorkelling and Scuba diving experiences. 
After an exhausting day at the sandbar,  a lovely boat ride back to Stonetown followed by a delicious dinner is a mesmerizing experience for couples. 
 
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