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Zanzibar is a tropical island and a beach destination, often included as an add-on after a Tanzanian or Kenyan safari. Zanzibar’s gentle coral beaches are calm with unpredictable tides, often allowing you to walk up to a quarter mile on the sand and sometimes all the way out to the reefs. Zanzibar’s world-renowned beaches are complimented by its rich cultural history. Its oldest remaining building is a mosque at Kizimkazi that dates back to 1107 and, if you can tear yourself away from the beach, is a must-see. The capital, Stone Town, is a world heritage site and is fascinating for its culture, Sultan’s Palace, and mosque. It also offers a really interesting spice tour and excursions to see the colobus monkeys. Zanzibar offers a plethora of water-based activities, many of which the mainland Tanzanian Coast does not. These include snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing, fishing, kayaking, and sailing.

The best beaches are on the west coast up to the northern tip of the island where our favorite properties are: Kilindi, Breezes, Baraza, and Anna of Zanzibar. We also like Mnemba Island, east of the northern tip of Zanzibar, where our favorite property is Mnemba Island Lodge. Zanzibar can be visited year-round but April, May, and November can bring heavy rains.

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Lara Ray