Zanzibar - An African Beach Paradise

In May this year, I received an email from our product team asking if I’d be interested in visiting Zanzibar. I'd be staying at the Hideaway of Nungwi Resort and Spa. To say I was excited would be a gross understatement: I was over the moon.

This was my first trip to Zanzibar but it certainly won't be my last. At the end of the week-long journey I left the island awestruck. Zanzibar truly is a magical destination and in my opinion should be included on every East Africa itinerary.

By way of introduction: I am one of Go2Africa’s Travel Experts and also an avid photographer. An Africa travel enthusiast at heart, I've naturally developed a keen interest in travel photography and while on the road I try to capture the essence of the destination by focusing on the visual gems that grab my attention.

Travelling with my partner Anja, our goal was to experience as much of Zanzibar as possible and we did just that. This is the first of three photo essays sharing a little bit about what attracted me in each photograph.


The postcard-perfect view from Hideaway of Nungwi Resort.
The postcard-perfect view from Hideaway of Nungwi Resort.


Zanzibar is famous for its sandy beaches and warm, blue waters. We stayed at Nungwi Beach on the north-west coast, which lived up to our picture-postcard expectations. 

I took this photograph from the Hideaway of Nungwi –  this is the view! - with my GoPro camera. I like this image because it captures the essence of Nungwi Beach in a single glance. The sailing dhows in the foreground are typical of Zanzibar while the beautiful calm water and clean white beach complete the idyllic scene.

Fishing dhows lie on the beach after a busy morning.
Fishing dhows lie on the beach after a busy morning.

On our first morning at the resort we took a walk on Nungwi Beach. As we walked I was fascinated by what was going on. Scattered across the beach were small fishing dhows resting after a busy morning while their crews mended nets in preparation for the next day.

These four dhows caught my attention because it was clear they had been used earlier that morning. In the background, three fishermen can be seen cleaning out their boat. Behind that, and in complete contrast, is a large luxury catamaran. This is typical of Nungwi – it's a captivating mix of authentic African culture and luxurious holiday resorts, something that we saw regularly throughout our trip.

Shady beach salas are the perfect place to sip a cocktail.
Shady beach salas offer the perfect place to relax & sip a cocktail

I visited the new Gold of Zanzibar resort (also on Nungwi Beach). This photograph shows the hotel's large palm-leaf salas and comfy beach recliners - ideal for making the most of this tropical beach destination, especially with waiters serving chilled, fruity cocktails! 

It's worth noting that Zanzibar island is generally very tidal. At its highest point, the tide covers many of the beaches and it can be a bit of a walk to reach the water during low tide. Happily, the tidal effect at Nungwi  Beach is not as marked and you can make the most of the balmy waters throughout the day.

West-facing Nungwi enjoys spectacular sunsets.
West-facing Nungwi enjoys spectacular sunsets.

I also took this photograph from the Hideaway of Nungwi Resort. Being on Zanzibar's west coast, Nungwi enjoys the most incredible sunsets. The beautiful golden light here is typical of an African sunset and I loved the jagged shape of the coastline. The building on the right is one of the restaurants at La Gemma dell’Est resort. Imagine sitting there at sunset with a glass of champagne!

Interestingly, Zanzibar has an abundance of coral limestone - evidence that the island was once covered by the sea. You can clearly see the coral rock outcrops along the Nungwi coastline in this picture. 

Dhows will whisk you away for a 'desert island' picnic.
Charter a dhow to nearby diving spots or to explore the tiny islands just off shore.

Zanzibar is practically weathed in sandy beaches and during low tide, small sand islets emerge from the ocean, ideal for a 'Robinson Crusoe' picnic experience. They are accessible by dhow and highly recommended. We spent an afternoon on one, snorkelling the nearby coral reef and enjoying sublime swimming conditions. The day trip included a seafood barbeque on the island prepared for us.

I enjoyed the above photograph really illustrates the unique character of Zanzibar. During our trip I developed a fascination for the traditional dhows since they are such an integral part of daily life on the island. 

Read more about a Zanzibar holiday or browse our recommended Zanzibar accommodation.

Written by Stuart Parker. Connect with him on Google+.

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