The Best beach resorts and hotels in Tanzania

Tanzania, an East African treasure trove, is renowned for its abundant wildlife and natural attractions. While the Serengeti National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro often steal the limelight, the country’s coastline and islands shouldn’t be overlooked. With an array of mesmerizing beaches fringed by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, Tanzania offers beach lovers a perfect escape.

Tanzania’s beaches are characterized by their stunning beauty, tranquility, and rich cultural and historical significance. Whether you’re seeking isolation, adventure, or the chance to immerse yourself in local culture, you’ll find a beach in Tanzania that feels like it was made just for you. As always, respecting the local environment and culture is crucial in maintaining these paradises for future generations to enjoy.

Tanzania’s coastline and islands offer a plethora of luxury beach resorts and hotels, each with its unique charm and allure. Here’s our pick of the best beach resorts and hotels that Tanzania has to offer.

The Residence Zanzibar

The Residence Zanzibar is a luxury beachfront resort located on the southwest coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania. It is tucked away amidst 32 hectares of lush, tropical gardens and fringed by a pristine, mile-long sandy beach. It is situated outside the village of Kizimkazi, an area famous for its dolphin safaris.

The resort offers 66 luxury villas in a variety of sizes, from one-bedroom villas perfect for couples to two-bedroom villas for families. Each villa boasts a private swimming pool, deck area, and personal butler service, promising an exclusive and indulgent stay. The villas are designed with a contemporary style combined with local Swahili and Omani touches.

The Residence Zanzibar offers a blend of international and local flavors in its two main restaurants. The Dining Room serves a variety of dishes with a focus on traditional African and Omani cuisine, while The Pavilion Restaurant offers Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors.

The resort offers a wide range of activities and facilities. The spa and wellness center, set in beautiful gardens, offers a range of treatments and a relaxation area. Water activities include snorkeling, kayaking, and dolphin safaris. For those wishing to explore the local area, the resort offers a variety of excursions, including visits to Jozani Forest, Stone Town, and local spice plantations.

The resort is renowned for its high level of service, with personal butlers assigned to each villa and a dedicated team to ensure guests have a memorable stay.

The Residence Zanzibar strives to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. It aims to conserve water and energy, minimize waste, and protect local ecosystems. It also works to support the local community through employment and sourcing local products.

Mnemba Island Lodge

Mnemba Island Lodge is a private island resort located off the northeast coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania. Known for its stunning beauty and luxurious accommodation, the island promises an intimate and exclusive experience. As of the last update in September 2021, here’s more information:

Mnemba Island is a private island spanning around 1.5 km in circumference, surrounded by an atoll of breathtaking coral reefs. The lodge is nestled in a tropical forest that fringes onto a stunning white sandy beach.

The lodge offers ten beachside bandas (huts) or villas, crafted from local materials and topped with traditional palm frond roofs (makuti thatching). The design effortlessly blends rustic elements with luxury, offering direct beach access, a private veranda, and an en-suite bathroom. Despite the rustic design, comfort isn’t compromised, as each banda is equipped with fans, mosquito nets, and other essentials.

Mnemba Island Lodge provides all-inclusive dining experiences that focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood, complemented by Pan-African dishes. Special dietary needs can be catered to with advance notice.

Due to its location within a marine reserve, Mnemba Island Lodge offers excellent snorkeling and diving experiences, showcasing the rich and diverse marine life of the area. Other water activities include kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. On land, guests can enjoy beach walks, bird watching, or simply relax on the beach. All of these activities are included in the stay, except for deep-sea fishing and scuba certifications.

The lodge is renowned for its personalized service. With a maximum of 20 guests on the island at any given time and a staff-to-guest ratio of 4:1, each guest is assured of attentive, personalized service.

The lodge has committed to various conservation efforts to protect and maintain the island’s natural environment, including turtle conservation and rehabilitation of the surrounding coral reefs.

Thanda Island

Thanda Island is a private, luxury island resort situated in the Shungi Mbili Island Marine Reserve in Tanzania.

Thanda Island is situated within the southern circuit of Tanzania, nestled between the mainland and the island of Mafia. The island is a marine reserve, teeming with diverse marine life, including the whale shark, the largest fish in the world.

Thanda Island provides exclusive use of the island with a single, private villa. The luxurious villa offers five bedrooms, each with its private en-suite bathroom, promising an intimate and indulgent stay. The decor exudes a beach-house charm, with a combination of local Tanzanian and Swedish influences reflecting the owners’ heritage. The villa opens out onto a white sandy beach and turquoise waters and is equipped with a glass rim-flow swimming pool, indoor aquarium, Steinway grand piano, wine collection, and cigar humidor.

The private chef at Thanda Island prepares meals based on guests’ preferences, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The dining experience can range from beach picnics to formal dinners.

The island offers a range of activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and sailing. There are also facilities for playing beach volleyball, tennis, and yoga. Moreover, the island’s location offers unique opportunities for marine conservation experiences, such as swimming with whale sharks and sea turtles.

The service at Thanda Island is tailored to the needs of its guests. A dedicated team, including a host and hostess, executive chef, housekeeper, and boatmen, ensure guests have a memorable and personalized experience.

Thanda Island has a strong commitment to sustainability and marine conservation. It is actively involved in regional marine conservation projects and eco-education in local communities.

Zuri Zanzibar

Zuri Zanzibar is situated on the northwestern shores of Zanzibar, near Kendwa village, a location that allows it to have one of the few non-tidal beaches on the island. The resort is nestled amidst 32 hectares of tropical gardens and faces the azure waters of the Indian Ocean.

The resort offers a range of accommodation options, including bungalows, suites, and villas, totaling 55 units. Each accommodation is designed with a chic, modern aesthetic that incorporates local elements and materials. Many units come with an ocean view and a private outdoor area, such as a terrace or garden.

Zuri Zanzibar offers several dining options, with menus that blend local flavors and international cuisine. Dining venues include the Upendo Restaurant, which overlooks the entire resort, the beachfront Maisha Restaurant, and the intimate Dhow Bar.

The resort boasts a stunning infinity pool that overlooks the beach, a spa and wellness center, a fitness room, and a library. A variety of water sports are available, including snorkeling, diving, and kite surfing. The resort can also arrange cultural and environmental excursions for guests, such as visits to Stone Town or Jozani Forest.

Zuri Zanzibar is recognized for its high level of service. The staff is committed to creating a personalized and immersive experience for guests, catering to their comfort and satisfaction.

Sustainability is a key element of Zuri Zanzibar’s mission. The resort incorporates eco-friendly practices in its operations and aims to positively impact the local community. It uses solar power for part of its energy supply, has an on-site desalination plant, and operates its own spice garden.

Fundu Lagoon

Fundu Lagoon is a remote and peaceful luxury beach resort located on Pemba Island, which is part of Tanzania’s Zanzibar Archipelago.

Fundu Lagoon is set on a remote and beautiful beach on the southwestern side of Pemba Island. The location is a paradise of natural beauty, characterized by clear azure waters, white sandy beaches, and lush tropical greenery.

The resort comprises 18 tented safari-style bungalows, or “bandas”, set along the beach or up on the hillside with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. The bandas are designed in a rustic yet comfortable style, blending into the natural surroundings. Each one has a private deck, and some of them feature plunge pools.

Fundu Lagoon has three restaurants and four bars. The cuisine is a fusion of Swahili and International, with an emphasis on seafood. The settings for meals vary and can include beach barbecues, poolside dining, or private romantic dinners.

Fundu Lagoon offers a range of activities, mainly focused on exploring the marine environment. It boasts an on-site PADI dive center, offering dive courses and excursions to the surrounding coral reefs. Other activities include snorkeling, fishing, sunset cruises, and guided nature walks. For relaxation, guests can enjoy the resort’s infinity pool and spa.

The resort is known for its friendly and attentive service. Staff members strive to create a laid-back and personal atmosphere, ensuring a memorable and comfortable stay for guests.

Fundu Lagoon has implemented several sustainable practices, such as using solar power, managing waste responsibly, and actively participating in local community projects.

Meliá Zanzibar

The resort is situated on a 40-acre estate with a beautiful beach overlooking the Indian Ocean. It’s positioned on a cliff, offering panoramic views of the ocean, and surrounded by a lush tropical garden.

Meliá Zanzibar offers a range of accommodation options, including garden rooms, beach villas, and private pavilions. All rooms and suites are decorated with an elegant contemporary design that includes local Zanzibari accents. Many rooms offer sea views and are equipped with luxurious amenities for a comfortable stay.

The resort offers a variety of dining options, from an international buffet at Spices Restaurant to a beach barbecue at the Jetty Lounge. Aqua Restaurant offers perched views of the Indian Ocean and specializes in Mediterranean cuisine with a Zanzibari twist. Gabi Beach Club serves snacks, cocktails, and hosts nightly entertainment.

The resort features a large outdoor pool, a fitness center, and the Anantara Spa for relaxation and wellness treatments. Activities available include water sports such as snorkeling and kayaking, cultural activities like cooking classes, and excursions to explore the island.

The service at Meliá Zanzibar is known to be attentive and personalized, with staff dedicated to ensuring that guests have an enjoyable and comfortable stay.

Meliá Zanzibar is committed to sustainability and is part of Meliá Hotels International’s commitment to responsible tourism. The resort has implemented practices to reduce its environmental impact and supports local communities.

Essque Zalu Zanzibar

Essque Zalu Zanzibar is a boutique hotel located in Nungwi, on the northeastern tip of Zanzibar, Tanzania. The hotel is nestled in a natural cove and overlooks the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean. It’s surrounded by lush tropical gardens and offers direct access to a pristine beach.

Essque Zalu Zanzibar offers 40 suites and 9 villas. Each suite features a spacious master bedroom, lounge area, and outside terrace or balcony. The villas offer three or four bedrooms, a private pool, and a kitchen. All rooms are decorated with traditional Zanzibari design elements and equipped with modern amenities.

The hotel offers several dining options. The Market Kitchen is the main restaurant, serving a range of cuisines using fresh local ingredients. The A La Carte restaurant offers fine dining, while the Baobab Bar provides a selection of cocktails and snacks. The hotel also offers private dining experiences.

The hotel boasts a large swimming pool, a fitness center, and a spa that offers a variety of treatments. Activities include water sports such as snorkeling and sailing, as well as cultural tours and art workshops. The hotel also has a kids club with various activities for younger guests.

Essque Zalu Zanzibar is known for its personalized service, with a team dedicated to ensuring guests have an enjoyable stay.

The hotel is committed to sustainable practices, which include using locally sourced ingredients in its restaurants, promoting local culture and arts, and employing local staff to support the community.

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