13 best beaches in Tanzania

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 31.01.2024

Tanzania is one of the most complex, romantic, friendly and scenically stunning countries in Africa. It is known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich history. Though many may come to Tanzania for its wildlife, the country is also home to some of the most exquisite beaches the continent has to offer. Here is our list of the best beaches in Tanzania.

1. Mafia Island Beach, Mafia Island

Best for: discovering local history

Mafia is East Africa’s premier diving, snorkelling and game-fishing venue and is one of the best beaches in Tanzania. The extensive offshore coral reefs are protected within a marine park. They are comprised of 50 genera of coral and harbour some 400 species of fish.

Mafia Island offers more than just natural beauty. Here you'll find historical attractions including Chole Mjini's ancient baobabs and 19th-century mansions, the ruined city of Kua on Juani Island, and the traditional shipbuilding centre on Jipondo Island.

Mafia Island Beach at sunset, Tanzania © Shutterstock

Mafia Island Beach at sunset, Tanzania © Shutterstock

2. Matemwe Beach, Unguja Island

Best for: a picture-perfect beach getaway

Matemwe Beach on Unguja Island stands out as one of the most captivating beaches along the Unguja coast. Its mesmerizing beauty is characterized by the beach's golden sands complemented by rugged coral rocks resembling mini-Himalayas.

This is by far one of the best beaches in Tanzania. The scenery is enhanced by seaweed-drying frames swaying between coconut palms, while joyful children play amidst the dazzling white coral rag houses and beached canoes. There are several places to stay nearby.

Matemwe beach, Zanzibar. Tanzania © Marius Dobilas/Shutterstock

Matemwe beach, Zanzibar. Tanzania © Marius Dobilas/Shutterstock

3. Kipepeo Beach

Best beach in Tanzania for secluded bliss

Kipepeo Beach, with its pristine shores and azure waters, is a true hidden gem. Located off the beaten path, this secluded beach offers a tranquil and serene escape from the bustling crowds.

Visitors can relax on the soft sands, bask in the warm sun, and enjoy the peaceful ambience of the surroundings. Kipepeo Beach is a true haven for those seeking tranquillity and natural beauty.

Dreaming of visiting the stunning beaches of Tanzania? Our tailor-made trip service allows you to go on the trip of your dreams without the planning or hassle. Our Big 5 & Beaches on Zanzibar trip offers the perfect mix of safari and beach holiday.

4. Mnemba Island

Best for: spotting whale sharks

Mnemba Island, located off the northeast coast near Matemwe, offers a diverse range of dive sites. Here you'll find beautiful, healthy coral reefs and thriving marine life.

The best scuba diving experiences can be found on the south side of the island. Here, strong currents create excellent drift dives showcasing pristine hard corals accompanied by schools of sergeant fish, fusiliers, and wrasse. The island, now a marine sanctuary, features notable sites such as Kichwani, Aquarium, and Big Wall.

While the highlight of the year is the annual visit of migrating whale sharks, ranging from 5 to 12 meters (16 to 39ft) in size, providing a graceful and harmless spectacle in the ocean. The sight of these massive creatures is a once-in-a-ifetime opportunity that leaves many feeling inspired.

Mnemba Island, Tanzania © Shutterstock

Mnemba Island, Tanzania © Shutterstock

5. Kendwa Beach, Zanzibar Island

Best for: lively atmosphere

Kendwa Beach, located on the coast of Zanzibar, exudes a vibrant and lively ambience. This stretch of coastline is renowned for its picturesque beauty, boasting soft, powdery sands that invite visitors to bask in the sun and unwind.

As the day turns into night, Kendwa Beach comes alive with an electric atmosphere, offering beach parties, live music, and an array of entertainment options. Stone Town, the main city of Zanzibar Island and UNESCO world heritage site, is nearby.

Kendwa beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

Kendwa beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

6. Paje Beach

Best beach in Tanzania for shopping for local crafts

Paje Beach, situated on Zanzibar's southeastern coast, is a vibrant hub for water sports and lively beach vibes. The constant breeze makes it an ideal destination for kiteboarding and windsurfing, attracting adventurers seeking thrilling water activities.

While here, visit Moto (Changa Bazaar). Here you'll find colourful woven bags, mats, baskets and more all hand-crafted by a women’s collective based near Paje Beach.

Paje Beach on Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

Paje Beach on Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

7. Nakupenda Beach, Stone Town

Best for: romantic atmosphere

Literally translated to "I love you" in Swahili, Nakupenda lives up to its romantic name. The beach is accessible only by boat trip, which adds to its secluded and romantic atmosphere.

With its powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters, Nakupenda Beach is an ideal spot for honeymooners and couples looking for a romantic getaway. As the Tanzanian proverb goes — haraka haraka haina baraka, or, "hurry hurry has no blessings".

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Our tailor made service allows you to travel without the hassle. Our Best of Kenya and Tanzania trip will take you through many stunning natural sites. All tailor made trips can be modified together with your local expert.

Nakupenda beach Zanzibar Tanzania Africa © Shutterstock

Nakupenda beach Zanzibar Tanzania Africa © Shutterstock

8. Nungwi Beach, Unguja

Best for: learning about local communities

Nungwi feels like a real backpacker destination, with small guesthouses scattered among the villagers’ homes. This idyllic beach destination is famous for its dazzling white sands and crystal-clear waters, providing the perfect backdrop for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Nungwi Beach is renowned for its rich Swahili heritage and offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Zanzibar. Visitors can explore the local village, interact with friendly locals, and even witness the traditional craftsmanship of dhow boat building.

Or find accommodation near Nungwi Beach at any budget.

Nungwi beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

Nungwi beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

9. Kirzimkazi, Zanzibar Archipelago

Best for: dolphin watching

Kizimkazi, located on the southern coast of Zanzibar, is a charming fishing village that was once a walled city. Nowadays, it has become a popular tourist destination, known for its daily boat tours that offer visitors the opportunity to watch bottlenose dolphins and swim with them.

The village is also surrounded by picturesque coastal caves, which serve as calving grounds for dolphins. It's important to choose a responsible tour operator to ensure the well-being of the dolphins.

Kizimkazi village. Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

Kirzimkazi village. Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

10. Kunduchi Beach and Ruins

Best for: a beach with historical intrigue

Kunduchi Beach offers a delightful coastal retreat with its resorts, hotels, and a host of recreational activities such as diving, windsurfing, and snorkelling. While here, be sure not to miss East Africa's largest water park — Kunduchi Wet 'n' Wild.

Just a short stroll away are the Kunduchi Ruins. You'll find here remnants of a 16th-century mosque and stunning 18th-century pillar tombs adorned with Chinese porcelain plates. Travel a few miles north one can visit the Mbweni graves.

 Lagoon created in Kunduchi beach © Shutterstock

Lagoon created in Kunduchi beach © Shutterstock

11. Pangani Town

Best for: deep sea fishing

Pangani, located 180 miles from Dar, is a coastal town with a rich history and a strong Arab influence. It showcases relics of its prosperous past through carved doorways, colonial buildings, and dilapidated Omani mansions.

Today, it is an up-and-coming resort destination in Tanzania, offering sun-soaked relaxation and spectacular beaches. The Tides is a popular choice with its colourful bungalows and exquisite food. Additionally, Pangani provides the thrill of deep-sea fishing for those seeking more than just beachside bliss.

The Beach Near Pangani, Tanzania © Shutterstock

The Beach Near Pangani, Tanzania © Shutterstock

12. Jambiani Beach, Unguja Island

Best for: stunning beach and local culture

Jambiani Beach, located on Unguja Island, entices visitors with its combination of natural beauty and vibrant local culture. Alongside the powdery white sands and turquoise waters, this charming fishing village showcases a traditional way of life.

Colourful fishing boats dotting the horizon, friendly locals, and cultural attractions such as ancient ruins and local markets add an extra layer of charm to Jambiani Beach. This is one of the best beaches in Tanzania, and arguably one of the best beaches in Africa.

Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania © Shutterstock

13. The beaches of Pemba Island

Best for: underwater adventures

Pemba Island offers unparalleled diving experiences, with diverse and spectacular sites. The coastline is adorned with uninhabited islands and the deep Pemba Channel attracts deep-sea fishing enthusiasts.

From massive walls to pristine reefs, divers encounter vibrant marine life including groupers, wrasse, and pelagic species. Misali Island is a snorkeler's delight. Along the east coast, strong currents and magnificent soft corals entice live-aboard enthusiasts, with a chance to spot hammerhead sharks and majestic humpback whales. Pemba Island is a must-visit for unforgettable underwater adventures.

Or find the accommodation of your dreams in Tanzania.

White sand beach of Pemba Island, Zanzibar. Tanzania © Shutterstock

White sand beach of Pemba Island, Zanzibar. Tanzania © Shutterstock

Planning your trip to the best beaches in Tanzania

Our local experts can plan wonderful trips for you in Tanzania. Simply get in touch when you would like to travel. We will then create a personalized itinerary, which you can amend until you are totally happy with every detail of the booking. All of our planned itineraries can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

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Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 31.01.2024

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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