Nungwi, at a glance

Nungwi is the second-largest settlement, after Stone Town on Zanzibar's main island Unguja.

Once a hub for dhow building, Nungwi straddles the line between modernity and tradition. Although the tourism industry has significantly developed the area, you can still watch the dhow boats cast off for a night of deep-sea fishing.

The clear blue waters are beautifully calm, thanks in part to its tip-of-the-island location, where the changing of tides is less dramatic than some other islands.

Nungwi is a tourist hotspot due to its prime location on the main island, exquisite beauty, activities and accommodation to suit all budgets.

Places to stay range from swanky 5-star hotels overlooking the white dove sands to boutiques, cottages and budget backpackers with dormitory-style rooms.

If you're looking for a quiet and secluded beach stay, then Nungwi may not be the right choice for you.

However, if you want an action-packed beach getaway in a place with a thriving nightlife and don't mind the touristy (normally younger) crowds, then Nungwi fits the bill. 

Nungwi

Where Does Nungwi Fit In Your Tanzanian Adventure?

Zanzibar is just a short flight away from all the major cities in Tanzania, so fitting it into any itinerary is quite simple.

Nungwi, and Zanzibar in general, is a great choice after a safari on the mainland. You can travel direct from the Serengeti National Park and be sitting on a beach in less than three hours.

Once you have arrived at the main island, It is worth exploring the historic Stone Town and staying overnight, if you're not crunched for time before travelling two hours north to Nungwi. 

Nungwi

Easy pickings, Serengeti National Park

Things to Do

Beaches

No beach holiday is complete without spending hours reading a book while you lie on the soft white sand and soak up the sun. Nungwi is perfect for this, as tide changes are very calm, meaning most of the beach stays unaffected, and you undisturbed.

Kendwa lies 3 km (15-minute drive) from Nungwi. This equally beautiful beach is the go-to for young travellers and backpackers, with shack-style bars lining the beachfront and music playing all night. If you're keen on a party, then The Rock hotel is notorious for its Saturday night parties.

If you prefer a quieter beach, we recommend taking a trip (by car or taxi) to Matemwe, 25 km to the South of Nungwi, for a day. This area is quieter, with smaller boutique hotels, and is the preferred spot for locals. 

Nungwi

Explore Zanzibar's History

Take a short walk to visit one of the island's oldest buildings, Ras Nungwi, a lighthouse built-in 1886.  Although not open to the public, it is worth the short walk to view from the outside.

Alternatively, near Nungwi village are the Tazari caves, an extensive network of caves believed to have been the hiding place for slaves in pre-colonial Zanzibar during the Arab slave trade.

Cultural visits to the surrounding village also give a good insight into the local area, traditions and history of Zanzibar. 

Picturesque sunset at Zanzibar.

Picturesque sunset at Zanzibar.

Bars and Restaurants

There is a huge number of tasty dining options in Nungwi. Most hotel restaurants on the ground and on the beach are open to non-guests.

A prominent feature of the menu is fresh seafood, and we recommend trying the lobster, snapper, and jumbo prawns. 

Some excellent restaurants and bars to try include;

Langi Langi Beach Bungalows restaurant has some of the best food on the beach, as well as an excellent view. We recommend trying the curries and masalas. This restaurant is very popular, so it is probably best to reserve.

Mama Mia is an Italian restaurant run by two Italian brothers and with one epic sea view. They even have Italian gelato and pastries and delicious pizza.

Cholo’s bar has a lively atmosphere with funky décor, including halved dhows and hammocks. The bar serves good beer and often has live music.

Nungwi

The Mnarani Turtle Conservation Pond

The Mnarani Turtle Conservation is located to the right of Nungwi Beach, just passed the fishing village. You can either drive here or walk along the beach during low tide.

Here you can view and feed their Green and Hawksbill sea turtles that swim freely in a tidal lagoon.

You can also view tiny newborns and learn about each stage of their conservation process.

You can't swim with the turtles here (as often seen on Instagram) – that's the 'Baraka Natural Aquarium', which is close by. 

Nungwi

Water Sports

Nungwi is extremely popular for water sports, particularly kite surfing, diving and snorkelling.

All these activities can be adjusted to the traveller's experience level.

Lessons are available and easy to book through a local kitesurfing/diving school, where you can also rent equipment. 

Snorkelling and diving usually take place off Mnemba Island, which is just a short boat trip away.  

Nungwi

Places to Stay

Nungwi is best known for its array of luxury beach-front resorts, and Essque Zalu Zanzibar does not disappoint. Nestled in a cove overlooking the ocean and surrounded by forest, this resort features a large swimming pool, wellness spa, three restaurants and three bars all specialising in different cuisines.

There's plenty of accommodation in the 40 wonderful suites and 8 three or four-bedroomed villas, all furnished in serene style with Swahili-inspired pieces and real attention to the personal touches. All rooms overlook either the tranquil aquamarine cove or the garden.

Nungwi

If you're looking for mid-range accommodation, then look no further than GOasis, only a five-minute walk from the beach and is highly rated by past travellers.

The bedrooms are simple but elegant and have everything you need to be comfortable.

Guests can relax in the lounge, in front of the swimming pool, have a cocktail at the bar or enjoy a meal in the Goasis restaurant.

The property provides on-site all the island tours, massages at a cost, bike and car hire.

There are plenty of budget options, too. Although not directly overlooking the beach, they are often not too far away. Nakupenda Villa, Maasai Villa, and Wakanda Hotel are all popular choices and less than five minutes from the beach or town centre. 

Nungwi

When to Go

The best season to visit Nungwi is during the long dry season, which falls from July to September.

However, these months are peak travel season. They will be busier, and some lodges, hotels, and parks will apply higher rates.

If possible, you'll want to avoid visiting during the long rainy season from March to May. The rains are often heavy and sudden, which can result in activities being cancelled last minute. 

Nungwi

Getting There

There is no airstrip in Nungwi, so the only way to get there is a two-hour drive from Stone Town.

You can hire a taxi from the airport for approximately $60. Remember to negotiate, and do not enter the vehicle until you have agreed to a price with the driver. 

Renting a car is also a good choice, but you will need to get a temporary Zanzibar driving licence, which the rental company will organise for you and costs approximately $10 at the time of writing. 

Shared taxis can also be booked using The Zanzibus. This is the cheaper but lengthier option, at only $10 per person.

However, the cheapest option is the dala dala, a minibus that may not have space for those travelling with a lot of luggage. 

These only leave when they are full, and as such, don't run on a timetable. If you want to try this authentic experience, take 116 from Darajani/Creek Road in Stone Town.

It should roughly cost $0.80, but some drivers insist you pay a 'tourist' rate.

Picturesque sunset at Zanzibar.

Picturesque sunset at Zanzibar.

Permits, Visas, and Vaccines

As a semi-autonomous region, Zanzibar requires a separate visa for those travelling from the UK, Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand (although other commonwealth member states, South Africans, Namibians and others do not require a visa). 

The tourist visa can be bought on arrival, or online. In both instances, the visa costs $50 for a 3-month single entry visa, or $100 for US passport holders (at time of writing). This can be paid in cash or by card.

Zanzibar requires yellow fever vaccines for those who have travelled from yellow fever epidemic areas - so if you have just finished a safari in Tanzania, don't forget to bring along proof of vaccination. WHO recommends the following vaccines for Tanzania in general: Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid, Cholera, Rabies.

Nungwi

Discover More of Zanzibar and Tanzania

Zanzibar

Zanzibar

The Zanzibar archipelago is the meeting point between Africa, Arabia and India. This semi-autonomous region is a popular post-safari destination, providing a tropical beach …

Discover More

Mnemba Island

Mnemba Island

Mnemba Island is a hidden oasis of white sand and sapphire waters. The private island is a secluded paradise for couples and families who want to unwind, make memories, and …

Discover More

Stone Town

Stone Town

A labyrinth of chaotic alleyways interposed between towering limestone houses with ornately carved arched hardwood doors with brass finishings and terracotta roofs. Stone Town is a…

Discover More

Lake Tanganyika

Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, Kenya

White sandy beaches, azure blue waters, and old mango trees; Lake Tanganyika is a beautiful spot to catch your breath on your journey through Tanzania. That doesn't mean there's no…

Discover More

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti comes from the Maa word ‘Serengit’, which translates to ‘the place where the land moves on forever’. It is the far-reaching, endless savannahs that inspired …

Discover More

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is part of Tanzania's northern safari circuit that also includes Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. Tanzania's sixth largest park, Tarangire has …

Discover More

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Crater - with its lush green plains, woodland trees and wildflowers - is one of the most popular travel destinations in Tanzania. A stunningly beautiful place, it's …

Discover More

Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam

While Dar es Salaam is often confused assumed to be Tanzania’s capital, this title actually falls to Dodoma. Dar es Salaam is the country’s economic hub and by far its most …

Discover More

Grumeti River

Grumeti River

The crocodile infested Grumeti River is one of the first obstacles facing the wildebeests on their migration from Tanzania to the Maasai Mara during the Great Migration. Often …

Discover More

Ready to plan your African adventure?

1
Listen

Listen

2
Match

Match

3
Reserve

Reserve

Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure, we can help.

+1 315 636-4279