If you’ve been on a safari in Tanzania, chances are your travel agent has suggested a brief stay on the beach at Jambiani. And you’ll have a handful of choices of B&B’s and full-blown hotels. But more than that, think of the relaxation you and your party will find on a beach that is far away from it all and will isolate you from the hustle and bustle of the world. Spectacular white sand, the kind that is soft among your toes, and the sweet hospitality of a people craving for a chance to serve and show you a glimpse of their culture. We love it here and know we can’t stay forever, but who knows?
Why was it so many safaris chose to end their trek in Zanzibar? During the period of the great safaris Zanzibar was an Oman colony. Wonderful palaces graced the islands, and room and board was cheap, grand, and very relaxing. We almost knew what to expect. And yet, you’re tricked into thinking it’s just another beach. It’s not. Jambiani Beach is in its own category.
Pristine white sand, yet coarse enough to pack well near the water, Jambiani is a joy to walk on. The crystals glisten in the sun, and we thought about sunburn by reflection. Who knew this gem even existed? It’s well worth the trip if you’re anywhere near Tanzania.
Although when you think of Zanzibar, you think of the largest island, Unguja, Zanzibar is a collection of a few islands, including Pemba, where one of the worlds largest production of cloves is located, and the island of Mafia, where sports fishing and scuba reign.
Most tourists come to Zanzibar for the beaches. The islands are literally surrounded with them, but the best picks are on the east shore of Unguja, the main island. Zanzibar beaches on the west shore are too close to the port of Stone Town, with shipping, pollution, and what comes with city life.
If you run into a fellow tourist in Zanzibar, you may be told that the beautiful beach at Jambiani is crowded and that everyone goes there. The fact is, Jambiani Beach is miles of startling white sand. It would take a lot of tourists to crowd out this piece of paradise.
What to expect? There are no swimming pools, no casinos, no discos, bars… and mainly no electricity – except at some guesthomes. Your idea of paradise? Then welcome to Jambiani Beach, Zanzibar.
These beaches are actually home to small fishing villages. Fishing isn’t for commercial gain; it’s for the village. However, you will find that locals in Jambiani harvest seaweed. Because of the nature of the reef, about a mile out, the wave action litters the beach with seaweed at low tide. Seaweed is taken, dried, and sold to exporters – generally making its way as a nutritional product in Japan.
Transportation for the locals consists of riding bikes along the beach. You can rent bikes at various places along Jambiani Beach.
Jambiani Beach – Beach Index:
- Sand – white coral sand with medium grain, some debris from seaweed
- Facilities – none, except at your oceanside guesthouse
- Shade – rare, tall palms and few short trees
- Sports – snorkel, biking. You can arrange diving at the few hotels. For snorkeling, try to stay near rock outcroppings where marine life is greatest. Not much to see in the sandy bottom. If you’d like to bike, try early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday sun.
- Notes – some seaweed washes ashore, but hey, it’s natural! Enjoy the culture of the people and mingle when you can. You will come away changed.