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Beaches of Mafia, Pemba and Zanzibar

The top Tanzania islands are the Mafia, Pemba, and Zanzibar. All of them are the perfect beach getaway to spend some days in paradise.

Zanzibar is the largest and most famous of the islands separately, but there are the other two islands, Mafia and Pemba, you may want to consider.


Mafia is a conglomerate of several small islands on the mainland in Zanzibar. It means “group of islands” in the southern part of Zanzibar.

Mafia has pristine sandy beaches and a relaxed, personable atmosphere, perfect for rest after a safari. The waters around the Island are famous for having some of the richest reefs in the world, with a vast diversity of corals and tropical fish. More than 350 marine species have been recorded off Mafia’s shores, but between November and March, whale sharks are particularly prominent here.

There are also land-based activities, including trips to the bustling village on tiny Chole Island and the ruined one on Juani Island.


Pemba is 50km north of Zanzibar, and this Island has minimal tourist infrastructure. It is still untouched by commercial tourism and remains mostly ‘undiscovered’ by visitors to Tanzania.

Compared to flat and sandy Zanzibar, Pemba is green and lush with fertile hills and clove plantations. Pemba is called “The Green Island,” and for good reason. Its perfect growing weather and rich soil produce a wealth of vegetation, so it’s a magnificent walking country. Good beaches are a little harder to find here, with dense mangroves along much of the coastline, but this largely undiscovered Island is home to some of the best diving and snorkeling in Africa. The coral reefs surrounding Pemba provide a home and shelter to an abundance of marine life, yours to discover. The Island offers great dive sites with abundant marine life, untouched corals, and dizzying vertical drop-offs. A short boat ride away are various off-shore islands, such as Msili, where you can find great beaches that may be lacking on Pemba.

The towns of Chake-Chake (the capital), Mkoani, and Wete have some interesting cultural and archaeological attractions influenced by the local Arab and Waswahili peoples.


Located about 22 miles (35km) off the east coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is an archipelago consisting of the central Island of Unguja (commonly known as Zanzibar); Zanzibar is the largest and best known of these three islands, in particular for its tropical nature and exotic appearance. It is a mixture of multiracial and multicultural backgrounds, which makes Stone Town a fascinating historic center. Stone town is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old quarter of Zanzibar town is the largest population center on Unguja Island (Zanzibar Island).

Also known as the Spice Islands, Zanzibar evokes images of an exotic paradise with white palm-fringed beaches and turquoise coves, dreamy dhows with billowing white sails, and ancient Islamic ruins. Today’s idyllic beach resorts belie the Island’s haunting history of slavery, and Zanzibar combines Arabic alleyways and historical monuments with coral reefs and excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Different Beach Zones

The northern beaches of Zanzibmainlycularly celebrated for their beauty, and excursions to Pemba Island and Mafia Island are a treat for beachgoers. Othefavoritesfavourites include Kendwa Beach and Nungwi Beach, which are close together on the northwestern tip of the Island, and have good resort facilities; Uroa Bay, in the middle of the east coast, which still retains a pleasflavoral flavour; Paje Beach, on the east coast, is said to be the best spot on Zanzibar for kite surfing; Nakupenda Beach, accessible by a short boat trip from Stone Town, which is pristine and usually desan actual a proper paradise beach; and the beaches of Changuu Island (Prison Island), where beach lounging can be combined with a visit to the old qcenterine center and the resident giant tortoises. It is possible to arrange many different water sports and boats, and scuba diving and snorkeling are world-class.

Zanzibar is more than just picturesque beaches, though, as the Islamic heritage infusing the Island with an exotic, ancient atmosphere and the legacy of the slave trade ensure some historical interest.


WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE ARCHIPELAGO: The beaches of Mafia, Pemba and Zanzibar?

The best time to visit the archipelago is late June, July, August, September, and early October. This is the time of the so-called dry season with lots of sunshine. Water conditions are also perfect at this time of year, with lots of wildlife and marine around the archipelago.

November and some of December bring a short rain season, which means there will be some potent and refreshing rain during the day, which should not spoil your Zanzibar hot all.

Reach out should you visit any of Mafia, Pemba, or Zanzibar’s beaches. 


How would you like your African experience? Adventurous? Romantic? Active? Relaxing? From each sunrise brimming with promise to every mesmerizing sundown, let Tanzania seduce you in whichever way you choose.


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