Tanzania's reputation as one of Africa's greatest safari destinations often overshadows the fact that it has over 800 kilometres of dazzling Indian Ocean coastline to explore - and that's before you get to exotic Zanzibar and Tanzania's other tropical islands.

With enough variety to make it the ideal finale to a Tanzania safari or as a stand-alone vacation, a Tanzania beach holiday will appeal to every traveller. The beaches themselves are some of the finest on the East African coast while the range of world-class dive sites will delight scuba divers and snorkellers. Honeymooners will love the exclusive and indulgent beachfront lodges while parents will appreciate the range of family-friendly accommodation and activities available.

But it's not all about beaches and coral reefs: the highly diverse Tanzanian coast has a fascinating blend of cultures and cuisine. Spend time exploring back-street markets, tasting local dishes and interacting with local traders; the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed though - due to the strong Islamic influence - somewhat conservative, and you're advised to respect local traditions and sensibilities.

Pack lightly for your Tanzania beach holiday: it's usually pretty hot, sunny and humid all year round with temperatures averaging between 25 and 30°C. There are however distinct rainy seasons: try to avoid the coast during the long rains of March to April (when a number of lodges close) but there is less to worry about with the short rains of November to January.

It's generally agreed that the best time to go on a Tanzania beach holiday is during the drier and milder June to September months; the December - January holiday period is also popular but temperatures are high and there is some rain around.

We've split the coast into two distinct travel regions - the coast itself and Tanzania's islands, including Zanzibar.