Deciding Where to Stay on Zanzibar

What best describes you?

  1. Dig your feet in the sand, lay back, and do nothing.
  2. Something reasonably priced with some amenities and a pool.
  3. International, all-inclusive with lots of amenities including a nightclub.
  4. Luxury with all the amenities.
  5. Elite luxury with the very best of everything.
  6. Party like a rock star.
  7. Go shopping, eat at a different restaurant every night, experience the town culture of Zanzibar.

What Area of the Island is for You?


  • Busier hotel area, so it feels a bit like the “real” world in a tropical setting.  Many restaurants and bars in the area.
  • Relatively close to Mnemba Island for Scuba diving.
  • Low tide is best for the beach because there is little left at high tide.
  • B&B


  • Nicer lodges with good amenities.
  • No restaurants in the area.
  • Swim at high tide, reef walking at low tide.
  • Half-board


  • Small, quiet, simple hotels to get away from it all.
  • Some restaurants in area.
  • Swim at high tide, reef walking at low tide.
  • Shorter drive to Stone Town.
  • B&B or Half-board


  • Good for snorkeling, quiet.
  • Shorter drive to Stone Town.
  • Half-board


  • Hotels have some beach but still close to Stone Town.


  • Party at night spot – think hookah pipes.
  • Hotels are generally cheaper and do not have pools.
  • Beach is long and wide at both high and low tides.
  • B&B


  • Party at night spot.
  • Some restaurants.
  • Lots of kite surfing (can be a nuisance in the water).
  • B&B or Half-board

Things To Do


  • Spice Tour
  • Mnemba Island for Scuba diving and snorkeling


  • Jozani Forest
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Safari Blue
  • Stone Town

General Notes

Tides are very drastic on Zanzibar.  Almost all areas have a beach at either high tide or low tide, but not both.  On the east coast, the tide goes way out, and you can walk out up to 1km on the sand and coral.

Just about everywhere on the island, it is best to wear reef shoes or sandals in the water if you are walking because of sharp coral and sea urchins.

It takes at least 1 hour from Stone Town to the south and southwest area of the island, and 1.5 hours to the northern part of the island.  There can be traffic and police inspection stops.

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