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Nungwi & Kendwa

On Zanzibar Island’s northernmost tip, the once sleepy village of Nungwi is still the traditional centre of dhow building on Zanzibar. An old favourite among backpackers and hippies, the scene has transformed in recent years with hotels, bars, hostels and dive centres now lining the sandy shoreline in a near continuous strip southwest to Kendwa. The still relatively quiet village of Kendwa has also expanded, but its uniquely wide beach and understated resorts continue to offer a more laid back vibe.

Kendwa Beach plays host to iconic full moon parties  I  Credit: Yoni Lerner Creidt: Credit: Yoni Lerner

Highlights of the region

Full moon beach parties: Although relatively quiet for the rest of the month, Kendwa pumps up the volume each full moon with a lively beach party that draws visitors from around the island. Kendwa’s full moon parties are legendary, though overly extreme, and remain one of Zanzibar’s favourite attractions.

Kendwa Beach plays host to iconic full moon parties  I  Credit: Yoni Lerner

Dhow building and village tour: Nungwi beach remains a focal point for Zanzibari ship building where skilled shipwrights use age-old methods and tools to turn rough timber planks into ocean-going dhows. Village tours can also be arranged for those interested in discovering the cultural side of dhow building and how the tradition persists through the centuries.

Travel tips

Although luxury hotels are now available, Nungwi and especially Kendwa remain two of the best destinations on Zanzibar Island for quality, affordable accommodation – head here if you’re looking for a party. Kendwa has the better beach, and the deeper water on the north-western strip means swimming is possible throughout the day; the island’s eastern beaches are almost all tide dependent.


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