After a few days in Stone Town, we were looking forward to exploring the rest of the island. More importantly, we were ready for some beach time. So our next stop was north of Zanzibar, to Nungwi beach.
Read more about the Zanzibar beaches we visited and find out which is our favourite.
TRAVELLING TO NUNGWI BEACH ZANZIBAR
Nungi beach is located in the north of Zanzibar. To reach Nungwi beach, we travelled from Stone Town. We traveled by dala dala (4,000THS equating $2) which certainly ensured we were awake and alert by the time we arrived! If not a little hair-raising, this is the most efficient way to travel around Zanzibar, a taxi would cost around $25/$30. We built an affinity to the dala dalas by the end of our time in Zanzibar as it allowed us to chat with the locals and experience the culture first hand.
Arriving in Nungwi with our over-packed bags and a small map, we managed to locate our next accommodation, Casa Carlotta. A beautiful private garden and a spacious room awaited us. A short walk through the villages, located about 2 minutes from the beach.
THING TO DO IN NUNGWI BEACH
In Nungwi you can expect plenty of activities including diving, island trips, and sunset boat tours. But with this comes busy beaches, many holidayers and maybe more touts looking to sell their tours or local goods!
The beach has plenty of bars and western food, some of it on the more pricey end we saw in Zanzibar. However, if you head further down the beach you can find cheaper eats such as pizzas available from 10,000 TZS – around $5. We would encourage you to head away from the resorts to explore the local eateries for tasty cheap Zanzibar eats. You are also directly supporting the local community this way.
We could feel that Nungwi beach had been THE place to visit in Zanzibar over the last 20 years. Nungwi is now the place many locals from Tanzania mainland migrate and take a shot at building a life for themselves in the tourism sector.
Therefore, you will meet a lot of Maasai beach boys. The Maasai are friendly and eager to chat, share their story and of course, sell you some of their goods. These guys are characters and all have unique stories. These stories often involve killing lions with their bare hands. Having travelled from their Tanzanian tribes around Moshi and Arusha, the Maasai use the high tourist destinations as an opportunity to make a living from the tourism sector. We later discovered that Nungwi beach was one of the busier beaches on Zanzibar, with a higher volume of Maasai beach boys, when compared to other beaches.
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON NUNGWI BEACH ZANZIBAR
We spent 2 nights in Nungwi beach, Zanzibar which definitely felt like long enough. During our stay, we enjoyed the bars and the garden in Casa Carlota where we cooked our own meals. However, we couldn’t help but feel a disconnection between the western tourist resorts and the local community. There is a large contrast between the rows of big resorts then a few roads parallel you were walking through the half-built homes of local families.
While tourism is doing wonders for the Zanzibar economy, we didn’t feel like the resorts on Nungwi beach helped to bring out the spirit of the local community or integrate as best as it could have. We were ready to explore some of the more remote parts to Zanzibar.
SO WE HEADED SOUTH OF NUNGWI TO KIDOTI
From Nungwi our new host Mwamba kindly collected us from Nungwi. We drove slightly south of the island to Kidoti, also on the north-west coast of Zanzibar. Everybody knew Mwamba! He was a local legend on the island and we knew we would be in for a good few days at the Kidoti Gardens.
A little apprehensive of the mile-long bumpy dirt track we were being driven down, we soon discovered our new home, a hidden sanctuary. Kidoti Gardens is Situated on a raised area on the coast, with a beautiful view of the sea and the sound of the waves crashing against the cliff.
THE SECRET SANCTUARY OF KIDOTI
The Kidoti Gardens, were eco-friendly solar powered bungalows, hidden away in the Zanzibar jungle. The porch of our bungalow had a beautiful view of the sea; we were ready to switch off from the busyness of Stone Town and Nungwi.
During our stay, we enjoyed a range of activities including biking, paddle boarding, and kayaking. We were even able to kayak over to our own private island for the day! This was all included in the cost of our stay, which was around $30 a night.
When we returned, we had a delicious meal to tuck into, that their local chef cooked us. Dinners would range from curries to fresh seafood they had caught that day, for around 17,000 TZS ($8).
But before this, we could enjoy a beautiful sundowner. Where you are situated on the island, you are spoiled by an incredible sunset. In the evening you could enjoy a campfire. Enjoy the sound of the waves colliding with the cliff edge and the hum of prayer across the coastline from the nearby village. You can then indulge in the evening entertainment of a clear night sky for incredible stargazing views.
Mwamba and Sarp made our stay most enjoyable and very relaxing. We would recommend this place to anybody visiting the island and wanting a place to truly switch off.
THINGS TO AVOID IN NUNGWI
- Avoid giving the children food or money in Nungwi. While it’s very tempting as you want to help, you will just promote begging. You are also unfairly helping some children over others which can cause conflict between them.
- Don’t just stick to the resorts in Nungwi. Take a walk away from the beach and you will discover a lot of local eateries. You have a range of Zanzibar cuisine to try at a cheaper price and will directly support the local community. Same with nightlife and grocery shopping. Outside of working with a dedicated organisation this a perfect and easy way to give to the local communities!
- If you want a local night out then avoid the Full Moon party in Kendwa until the early morning. The party is located in a hotel resort and catered to westerners.