Tanzania is famous for its islands, particularly the archipelagos of Zanzibar and Mafia. But its mainland coast has just as much to offer.
Rimmed with pristine lagoons, the sparsely populated Kigamboni district near Dar Es Salaam is noteworthy for its seclusion and excellent swimming. Snorkel among shipwrecks, wander the coastal forests, or watch baby sea turtles hatch from their nests and make their first journey to the ocean.
See the gentle whale shark while you snorkel when you visit Mafia Island.
Mafia Archipelago comprises six small islands off Tanzania’s coast. Far less populated than Zanzibar, it encompasses a string of superb beaches. All are rich in comfort, relaxation, and privacy.
Mafia Island is the largest of the archipelago’s several small isles. For centuries, vast coconut and cashew plantations have flourished on this trading stop between continental Africa and Persia. But it remains little explored by international travelers. If you are looking for a vacation spot that will get you far from the crowd, this is your answer.
Mafia Island and its little sister, Chole Island, are optimal locales for sunbathing and exploring nature. The diving here is incomparable, immersing you in a world of vibrant corals, tropical fishes, inquisitive dolphins, and gentle whale sharks—where humans are only visitors.
Explore historic Stone Town when you visit Zanzibar.
Zanzibar’s history as a center of trade has created a culture that melds African, Arabic, Indian, and European influences. While relaxing on its white-sand beaches is perhaps the island chain’s most popular pastime, diving and snorkeling come in a close second. The coral reefs here are spectacular.
Zanzibar is both the name of the archipelago and the nickname of its largest island, Unguja. The beaches on Zanzibar island are world renowned, but its culture and natural attractions are equally mesmerizing.
Spend some time roaming the streets of Stone Town in search of distinctive artworks and fabric. Tour a spice plantation to sample cinnamon bark straight off the tree. Or visit Jozani Forest, the only place in the world where Kirk’s red colobus monkeys can be found in the wild.
Check out our quick guide to Zanzibar.