5 luxury places to stay for an unforgettable Zanzibar vacation

Sail the warm waters of the Indian Ocean on a dhow or swim in safe calm waters in Zanzibar. Picture: Unsplash

Sail the warm waters of the Indian Ocean on a dhow or swim in safe calm waters in Zanzibar. Picture: Unsplash

Published Mar 26, 2023


Zanzibar, the Spice Island on the east coast of Tanzania, is fast becoming a popular tourist destination for those seeking an alternative to other Indian Ocean destinations.

There are plenty of reasons to visit this island, and the Flight Centre predicts a significant increase in demand for travel to Zanzibar as FlySafair is set to reintroduce a direct route from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg and Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) in Zanzibar.

According to Flight Centre’s General Manager, Antoinette Turner, Zanzibar is generally more affordable as a destination compared to islands like Mauritius, Seychelles and the Maldives, although this can vary based on the type of accommodation you choose.

Since Zanzibar is now within reach for many more South Africans, here are 5 luxury places to stay for a memorable vacation on the island.

andBeyond Mnemba Island

Mnemba Island, a small exclusive hideaway with beautiful reefs to explore. Picture: Instagram

If exclusivity and privacy is what you’re looking for, then andBeyond on Mnemba Island is the perfect destination. Mnemba, a private island, is a romantic hideaway suitable for couples and honeymooners.

The hideaway features 12 rustically chic beach side bandas, and the tiny 1.5km island takes 24 guests.

The small size of the island makes it intimate and relaxed, and guests can enjoy sandy beaches and calm turquoise seas surrounding the island.

The island also offers the best snorkelling and swimming areas directly from the beach at all tides, and for the more adventurous, the best snorkelling spots island are accessible by a 10-minute motorboat journey.

Enjoy predinner drinks before the fires get lit and enjoy a beach BBQ. Picture: Instagram

&Beyond Mnemba Island offers the perfect opportunity to simply unwind and reconnect with yourself and your loved ones.

After a fun-filled day discovering this island paradise, you can pamper yourself with a soul-soothing wellness treatment in the comfort of your banda or enjoy yoga at the beach whilst barefoot.

You can also enjoy fresh seafood and locally produced fruit, and each culinary experience is prepared according to individual tastes, served at a time and location that suits each guest perfectly.

The cost for a banda at Mnemba island starts from 1,585 USD (29376.07 ZAR) to 2200 USD (40774.36 ZAR).

Emerald Zanzibar Resort & Spa

Emerald Zanzibar Resort and Spa, the newest contender in the luxury accommodation segment in Zanzibar. Picture: AfricaStay

Recently opened, Emerald Zanzibar Resort & Spa on Muyuni Beach is making a name for itself on the island. Emerald is a member of The Leading Hotels in the World, and it’s an all-inclusive package when it comes to food, making sure that guests never worry about where to eat when on the island.

The resort boasts 250 modern and chic rooms on 10 hectares of land that slopes down towards the coast with direct access to the sea and is surrounded by an oval reef, which has been declared a marine conservation area.

Emerald Zanzibar’s design aesthetic features Ottoman architecture fused with African culture and Western comforts. It’s where Africa, The East and West, meet to give guests unparalleled luxury and comfort.

Emerald Zanzibar’s private beach at Munyi Beach overlooking Mnemba Island. Picture: AfricaStay

The resort offers a variety of different cuisines with rich flavours from different cultures at its eight restaurants and bars.

As an ultimate family destination, the Emerald also has the Dolphin Kids Club, where little ones can escape to while mom and dad explore the richness of the island.

A stay at Emerald Zanzibar starts from R24 950.00 a person. (Check AfricaStay for more details).

Gold Zanzibar Beach House and Spa

Gold Zanzibar Beach House and Spa boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Zanzibar. Picture: AfricaStay

Gold Zanzibar Beach House & Spa on Kendwa beach, without a doubt, is the most beautiful beach of the islands.

With an exposure towards the northwest of the island, this is the only area not affected by the tides, allowing guests to swim at any time of day.

The hotel overlooking white powdery beach sands is an oasis of luxury and elegance where one can can recuperate mind, body and spirit.

Enjoy international cuisine with flavours from all over the world at the beach house. Picture: AfricaStay

The hotel features various room types, each meeting different needs but all providing wide spaces in an intimate and relaxing atmosphere. Its architecture is a mix of African and Arab influences translated according to contemporary design.

Guests can enjoy breathtaking sunsets from this location, and the hotel’s two bars and restaurants offer international cuisine and fresh local food.

Gold Zanzibar Beach House also has all-inclusive packages for dining offering breakfast, lunch and supper.

A stay starts from R45 456.00 a person (package deal on AfricaStay).

Diamonds Mapenzi Beach

Diamonds Mapenzi Beach Resort at Kiwengwa Beach. Picture: AfricaStay

A gem on Kiwengwa Beach is Diamonds Mapenzi. Guests can take a long walk on the beach to experience an evocative atmosphere and unforgettable landscapes.

The hotel offers a relaxing atmosphere and an all-inclusive high-quality culinary experience.

Set on the east coast of Zanzibar on the Kiwengwa shoreline, Diamonds Mapenzi Beach perfectly blends in with the natural environment of the surrounding landscape, covering an area of 4 hectares blessed with a long white beach and lush tropical gardens of palms and colourful bougainvillea.

Enjoy breakfast, lunch and supper overlooking a white sandy beach and turquoise blue waters. Picture: AfricaStay

The Resort is just 40 minutes from Zanzibar international airport and is a perfect choice for guests in search of a retreat that offers a nice mixture of relaxing fun and extensive all-inclusive services.

A stay at 7-night stay package at Diamonds Mapenzi Beach hotel starts from R19 495 a person.

Sea Cliff Resort and Spa

Sea Cliff Resort & Spa in Zanzibar. Picture: AfricaStay

The makuti roofs and glowing Arabic towers of the luxurious Sea Cliff Resort & Spa, situated on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, forms an exotic backdrop for travellers looking forward to escaping to the tropical beauty of East Africa.

Nestling on the northern-west coast of Zanzibar, just 25 minutes from the historical magic of Stone Town, visitors to the Sea Cliff are known to start relaxing as soon as they land in this lap of luxury. The natural colour scheme of cream and gold is complimented by antique furniture that reflects the ancient history of the island.

Enjoy unparalleled views of the beach and Indian Ocean at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa. Picture: AfricaStay

Sea Cliff Resort & Spa offers tranquillity, peace and beauty, with accommodations lush with tropical-scented gardens, sparkling infinity pools, a variety of cuisine and attentive and helpful staff.

The lounges, restaurant, bars and recreation area offers panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Think breakfast overlooking the ocean, dinner under the stars and sundowners on the jetty or on your own private balcony.

With a variety of activities and excursions, your days are guaranteed to be filled with sun, sea and an appreciation for the rich history of Zanzibar.

A 7-night package stay at the 5-star resort starts from R16 750 a person (AfricaStay).

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