Zanzibar is a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast of East Africa. It’s main island is Unguja, or mostly known as Zanzibar. The capital is Zanzibar city ( Stone Town) , also an historic trade centre.
The Zanzibar Coast
Zanzibar East Coast: home to the island’s best and most beautiful beaches, in the is coast are settled a big number of lodges and hotels.
Zanzibar North Coast: as an unwritten rule is, that the further north on Zanzibar you go, the more private and less crowded the beaches are.
Zanzibar North-East Coast: the island’s prime location, most of Zanzibar’s top-end accommodation is set on the north-east beaches. The diving is excellent here, there’s not much tidal variation and the archipelago’s best reefs of Mnemba Island lie a kilometers offshore.
Zanzibar South Coast: the further you go south, the more populated it becomes. And with people comes culture. You should head south for more opportunities to engage with the locals.
Zanzibar South-East Coast: there are plenty of beaches and resorts on the south-east of Zanzibar. But this coast is mostly affected by the tidal range.
Zanzibar West Coast: there are fewer lodges on Zanzibar’s west coast and it feels a little more remote but it is of course home to Stone Town.
The best time to visit Zanzibar
Just south of the equator, Zanzibar’s weather pattern follows that of Tanzania very closely – although always tends to be a little more humid – and occasional rain in the dry season is less uncommon than in the heart of the mainland Tanzania.
Generally the main rainy season, or the ‘long rains’, last during March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which can be heavy on any of the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.
The long dry season, when rainfall is fairly unusual, lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it’s usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – it’s a great time to visit Zanzibar. During November and December there’s another rainy season: the ‘short rains’. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable.
If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months, January and February, which is Tanzania’s ‘short dry season’, before starting to rain again in earnest in March.