Tanzania Beaches

Tanzania

Tanzania in East Africa has some of the best wildlife reserves and game viewing in Africa and has also been blessed with some of the best islands and beaches. You can track chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park or enjoy game drives in the famous Serengeti National Park in the morning and be sitting on one of the finest beaches in the world later that afternoon – Tanzania really does have it all. Zanzibar is by far one of the most famous islands in the world, but there are plenty more options to choose from.

Who should come to the Tanzanian coast? With regular access from all the major wildlife reserves in Tanzania, anyone enjoying a safari in Tanzania should enjoy some time relaxing on some of the finest beaches and islands in Africa. With plenty of choice the islands and beaches of Tanzania appeal to families, honeymooners, divers and anyone else looking for a bit of sunshine, sea and sand after their East African safari.

What is there to do along the Tanzanian coast? There is plenty to do from any of the beach resorts in Tanzania ranging from snorkelling, diving, dolphin tours, spice tours, kayaking, dhow sailing, historical tours, mountain biking…the list goes on.

How do I get to the beaches of Tanzania? It all depends which option is best for you, but there are regular flights to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar from all of the main safari destinations within Tanzania making these the best options for a beach stay after your safari in Tanzania. Kenyan Airways flies to Dar es Salaam on a regular basis and so can also be an add-on to your Kenyan safari. There are regular flights from South Africa, but because of the distance, we would rather recommend Zanzibar and the other beaches and islands are best added to a safari in East Africa.

Where to stay at the Tanzanian beaches? The beaches and islands of Tanzania are plentiful and there are options for everyone, so below are just a couple of our favourites.

Fanjove Island
Fanjove Island is a private island off the coast of Tanzania, south of Dar es Salaam. It is one of 6 small islands in the Songosongo Archipelago and has palm fringed white sandy beaches and shallow turquoise waters. There are just 6 rustic A-Frame eco-friendly bungalows on the beach, all open fronted to take in the magnificent views of the Indian Ocean beyond. There is a small balcony upstairs for guests to enjoy the views. There is an open-air restaurant where guests enjoy local dishes of curries or freshly caught fish, while admiring the views. Getting to Fanjove requires a light aircraft flight from Dar es Salaam to Songosongo and then a 40-minute boat transfer to the island.

Guests staying at Fanjove Island can enjoy snorkelling direct from the beach or from a boat excursion. The undisturbed reef extends for 11kms around the island and so diving and snorkelling are exceptional. Dolphin safaris, bird watching, sea kayaking, sand bank excursions, dhow sailing, island walks, fishing or just relaxing are some of the other activities guests can enjoy while staying at the lodge.

Why we love Fanjove Island:
Privately owned
Small, intimate lodge
Private island
Great snorkelling and diving
Rustic bungalows right on the beach

Conservation efforts: Fanjove belongs to the Selous Safari Company with camps in the Selous and Ruaha, so conservation is at the forefront of what they do. They have been operating in Tanzania since 1988 and so have invested heavily in the future of the country, lobbying for policy reforms and wildlife protection as well as community education and supporting local charities. Fanjove has been built in an eco-friendly manner and runs completely off solar power and a percentage of the revenues received is ploughed back into community efforts on the islands.

Manta Resort
Manta Resorts is located on the lesser known Pemba Island which is one of the smaller neighbors to Zanzibar. Far less developed, this is obviously our preferred option for the area. Located on the far tip of the undeveloped Pemba Island is The Manta Resort, far away from any other development or lodge, giving guests privacy in this authentic tropical island. With regular flights from Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, it is just as easy to get here as it is to get to Zanzibar. From the airport it is a further 1 ½ hours drive to The Manta Resort, giving the impression you are getting off the beaten track.

Surrounded by palm fringed white sandy beaches, emerald waters and coral reefs teeming with marine life, Pemba is the quieter, more authentic sister of Zanzibar. There are just 18 rooms at The Manta Resort, divided between Seafront Villas, Superior Garden Rooms and Standard Garden Rooms. But the USP of The Manta Resort is its unique underwater room. Anchored just offshore in the blue hole is a 3-tiered floating, underwater room. On the top level is a sundeck, the middle tier is at water level and has a lounge and bathroom and below water is a glass box, bedroom where you can watch as shoals of fish swim around.

Fresh seafood as well as other Pemba specialties are served on the elevated terrace overlooking the ocean. Often the team will change the location of meals down to the beach or pool deck for variety. The best place to just relax and watch the slow pace of Pemba Island go by, is the sandy floor beach bar. Order a cocktail and watch the sunset into the ocean all with the sound of lapping waves on the shore.

Guests staying at The Manta Resort can enjoy diving on the surrounding coral reefs teeming with marine life or for the non-divers there are snorkeling excursions as well. For those not wanting to look at the fishes there are other activities including dhow sailing, Pemba Island excursions, visits to the sandbank or simply relaxing on the beach in front of the resort.

Why we love The Manta Resort:
Privately owned
Off the beaten Track location on Pemba Island
Unique Underwater Room
Excellent diving and snorkeling
Very relaxed atmosphere at the resort

Conservation efforts: The Manta Resort has its own charity called Kwanini Africa which has built schools in the nearby village, established an organic farm and they have setup a “no fish” zone around the oral reefs in front of the lodge and have been working with the local fishermen on best practices for sustainable fishing.

Mnemba Island
Just off the north-east coast of Zanzibar is the private island of Mnemba, the ultimate in barefoot luxury and with just 12 rustic beachside bungalows, guests are guaranteed privacy and exclusivity. Getting Mnemba requires a flight to Zanzibar, followed by a 1 ½-hour road transfer and finally a 15-minute boat trip across the channel. Once there, kick off your shoes, feel the sand between your toes and enjoy the peace and quiet of this private paradise.

The main area is set within the pine trees but are open so that guests can enjoy the views of the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Fresh sushi, locally caught seafood and other mouth watering meals are served at the guests’ beach bungalows, under the stars on the beach or in the dining area.

Guests staying at Mnemba Island can enjoy relaxing on the powder white beaches or in their private beach salas, or they can enjoy snorkelling, diving, dhow cruising or bit of beach yoga.

Why we love Mnemba Island:
Completely private and exclusive
Exceptional service
Fantastic food
Small private island
Close to Zanzibar

Conservation efforts: Mnemba is owned and run by andBeyond, one of the first eco-tourist companies in Africa with the main focus on communities and conservation in each of the areas where they operate. They have been awarded many accolades over the years for the incredible work. These awards include “Best in Conservation at Responsible Tourism” and “Certificate of appreciation to marine conservation of tourism” awards by the Tourism of Tanzania.