Adventure Beaches

The 6 Places That Feel Like Home When in Zanzibar

Unique Places in Africa
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

Only 15 minutes from the mainland, you’ll be at the romantic, exotic Zanzibar archipelago, awakening memories of Arabian nights. But before embarking on the journey, thoughts of the best places to live in Zanzibar must have crossed your mind. 

Surrounded by coral reefs with idyllic beaches lined by huge sweeping palm trees, Zanzibar is one of the finest beach destinations in the world.

Zanzibar Islands

Zanzibar has some of the best beaches. Photo/ Sima Safari.

Beach life is hard to beat here, and with the ever-increasing tourist trade, it is remarkable how the island has kept its African charm. 

Apart from the stunning beaches, Zanzibar is also a prime tourist destination due to its fascinating historical towns. 

Known to have something for everyone, the archipelago of islands is an ideal place to escape from the world.

And here, we will look at the best places to live in Zanzibar while enjoying a relaxed pace of life, natural beauty and a sense of peace. 

1. Nungwi 

Nungwi has gained popularity in recent years to become one of the busiest beach destinations in Zanzibar. It is a charming little village in the northern part of Zanzibar. 

During the daytime, you’ll find beachside hustle and bustle, populated by spring breakers, hippies and gap-year students.


Nungwi beach. Photo/ HotelFriend.

At night, music rocks, bonfire blazes, and cocktail flow as people wait for dawn break to swim, sunbathe and engage in exotic tropical amenities. 

Nungwi is, without a doubt, one of the best places to live in Zanzibar. Some of the hotels to stay in Nungwi include Z Hotel, Nungwi Dreams by Mantis and Hotel Riu Palace Zanzibar. 

2. Kendwa 

Around three kilometres from the bustling Nungwi is Kendwa. In fact, you can walk along the beach to Nungwi itself if the tide is out.  Kendwa is popular for the Full Moon Party, a monthly beach party run by Kendwarocks. If you’re not a party lover, you can tour Kendwa village or go snorkelling and spend some quality time with marine life. 

Where to stay in Kendwa include Zuri Zanzibar, Gold Zanzibar Beach House & Spa, Kendwa Beach Resort and Kendwa Rocks Hotel. 

3. Jambiani 

Jambiani is an old fishing village situated on the southeast coast of the main island of Zanzibar, Unguja. The majority of the locals here are either seaweed farmers or fishermen. Jambiani is the portion of Zanzibar where you experience a slow pace of life. 

The powdery white sand of Jambiani is seven kilometres long and lined with palm trees. A few kilometres from the shore, you’ll find a beautiful coral reef where you can go for snorkelling tours. And between the shore and the reef is a lagoon that is excellent for windsurfing. 

Most of the accommodations in Jambiani are family-run lodges and guesthouses. Hotels to stay in Nungwi include Blue Moon Resort, Ifa Beach Resort, Blue Oyster Hotel and The Loop Beach Resort. 

4. Stone Town 

Also known as Mji Mkongwe, Stone Town is the largest town in the archipelago. The storied town is a warren of old buildings, mosques, colonial buildings and more historic architecture.

Stone Town

Stone Town – Zanzibar. Photo/

Notable buildings include the Palace of Wonders and the towering St Joseph’s Cathedral. If you love history, Stone Town should be on your bucket list for the best places to live in Zanzibar. Luxurious hotels in Old Town include Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Tembo House Hotel and Mizingani Seafront Hotel. 

5. Paje

Located on the southeast coast of the island, Paje is another small fishing village in Zanzibar. Here, you cannot help but picture bright, white sands, turquoise waters and palm trees swaying in the breeze. 

Paje is the right place to live in Zanzibar if you want to spend your days lying back on the sand without care. You can also do kite-surfing and scuba diving, which is amazing because of a host of marine life, including eels, turtles and starfish.

Paje beach

Kite-surfing in Paje beach. Photo/ Kite Jungle.

Some of the luxurious hotels to stay in Paje include Kisiwa on the Beach, Aluna Paje and VRclub Paje Palms Beach Resort. 

6. Bwejuu 

Bwejuu is considered by many to be the most beautiful island in Zanzibar. The coastal village situated South of Mafia is great for lounging on the beaches and hanging out, making it one of the best places to live in Zanzibar. 

Here, you’ll get a wonderful experience swimming in the turquoise waters. This area is good for all budgets.  The hotels where you can stay in Bwejuu include The Sands Beach Resort, Kijani Beach Villas and Indigo Beach Zanzibar. 

About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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