Zanzibar in March

swimming with dolphins on a zanzibar holiday Credit: Matemwe Lodge

Zanzibar’s main rainy season begins in March, but the first heavy downpours may only arrive mid-month. Until they do, the archipelago remains at its hottest and most humid as the summer winds subside and the beaches bake in the sun. Daily highs reach over 35°C (95°F) before the monsoon hits and brings some relief. Early March is prime beach time across the islands, but the towering thunderheads signal the low season and a number hotels and resorts close. Overall, however, March weather is difficult to predict. Some years the rains come early or late, and even once they begin there can be some very fine days in between.

March’s unpredictable weather extends across Zanzibar and throughout the islands it can be fine and hot, or pouring. As the rains arrive, the prevailing northeaster dies completely; March is the least windy month anywhere on the islands. Many visitors avoid Zanzibar in March, but on good days the glassy seas are wonderful for diving and snorkelling, with excellent visibility and few other visitors on the reefs. West-facing resorts are treated to simply incredible sunsets as vast banks of clouds glow pink and purple over the sea.

Travel tips

  • March is the start of pineapple season, with pineapples so sweet you may wonder if you’ve ever tasted one before. Although some hotels and resorts close, many others offer discounts and March to May are the best months for deals. Glassy seas and spectacular sunsets are the rewards for those who travel in low season. Afternoon storms can be heavy, but most mornings are clear and you’re more likely to find a piece of paradise all to yourself.

  • Some hotels and lodges close from March to May so your preferred accommodation may not be available. The rains themselves put many people off, which is ideal if you’re after solitude, but a definite draw back if you’re not. March is undoubtedly the worst month for wind sports. If that’s what you’re after, then avoid this time of year.

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