Best Places to Stay and Surf in Zanzibar

DailyStoke Team

Zanzibar surf season and weather conditions

Like all islands Zanzibar is blessed with 360 degrees of ocean exposure. However, it’s only on the west coast that the island gets surf. The east side is just 30 miles from Tanzania on mainland Africa and the south and north ends are blocked by the coastal curve of the continent. Fortunately there’s more to do here than just surf.

Blessed with steady year-round tropical temperatures that rarely go above or below of 75-85 Fahrenheit, the beautiful aqua waters remain steady too. From the mangrove estuaries to reefs to open beaches you can count on a sea temperature of 80 degrees throughout the year. 

Conditions in April, May, November and December often suffer since those are by far the rainiest months of the year. From June to October kiteboarders are stoked as the Kusi winds blow from the southeast and it’s relatively dry.

Zanzibar surfing spots and beaches

Surf reports for the west coast of Zanzibar are best when cyclones blow across the Indian Ocean or the Arabian Sea. Forecasts at this time will show long-interval, well organised swell trains. However winds can be a problem as swell coincide with the windy months.

Zanzibar is a trifecta of water sports. The kiteboarding in Zanzibar is world class with Paje and Bweluu being the centre of action. Dongwi and the Nungwi Reefs are great for surfing when swells push through during the monsoon season. The island’s mangroves offer a rare chance for flatwater paddling through some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.

Surf schools and lessons in Zanzibar

Surf lessons are available through Surf Zanzabar, an outfit that caters to both SUP and surf disciplines. The group offers surf tours and will throw in surf lessons as part of the package, helping beginners with a few basics. This company also does a series of SUP tours through the mangroves and also something called a “Honeymoon SUP Tour”.  SUP rentals start at $75 a day and surfboards at $30. The rates go down when you book a multi-day rental.

Aquaholics Zanzabar gives private surf lessons starting at $55 but emphasises the best way is through a booked “total package.” You can book out a 3-surf-trip deal starting out at just $160 while a 10-trip commitment will set you back $470. The instructors here are really keen to help you master all aspects of surfing, whether it’s kite or traditional. 

Rated the best kite surf school on the island, Zanzibar Kite Paradise offers private two hour lessons starting at $165, or you can book 10-hours of lessons (broken up over several sessions) for just $750. The full-service facility is geared toward core kiters but still welcoming to newbies and those who just want to give it a try.

Hotels for surfers in Zanzibar

The Palm Inn in Zanzibar is an all-inclusive facility featuring villas done with a design composition that blends both traditional Tanzanian structures with modern luxury. Users rave about the fresh seafood (with specialties like urchin, lobster and shrimp) at the main restaurant. Their spa specialises in honeymoon duo treatments including facial, body and hand and foot treatments, yoga classes and massage. But you don’t have to be a newlywed to opt in; these spa offerings feel just as good after a long day of surfing or SUPing. Rooms start at 120€

For the full luxury stay Zanzibar style, the White Sand Villas are 11 individual units each with its own swimming pool and butler. They also boast three bars and a spa. The resort sits right on the beach and some of the best kiteboarding in the area. And of course you can SUP on calm days. Rooms start at 100€ per night.

The Surf Inn Zanzibar are a cluster of apartments in Paje. The beach faces southeast and picks up its best surf from cyclones moving offshore. The wind in the area is great for kiting and a full-service kite centre is next door to the Surf Inn. Shared dorm rooms start at 27€ and a single room with private bath will set you back 62€. The town is bustling with other kiteboarders and surfers. so there’s a pretty casual vibe to the whole area.

Zanzibar is a great vacation place for water sports activities.

Zanzibar surfing guide and tips prepared by Bryan Dickerson (wavepoolmag.com) for Dailystoke.com’s surf guides

Photo by Antony Sastre

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