best time to visit zanzibar

What is the Best Time to Visit Zanzibar? (Plan Your 2024 Getaway)

Sharing is caring!

Last Updated on: 12th April 2024, 03:56 pm

Zanzibar is a tropical paradise that boasts stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a fascinating history. As you plan your getaway to this exotic destination, it’s crucial to choose the best time to visit Zanzibar in order to make the most of your experience.

Zanzibar is one of my favorite places on earth and an island I return to often. It’s only a quick 4-hour flight from South Africa, so, I’ve visited during every season.

Although the weather is temperate year-round, you want to make sure you visit at a time that’s conducive to what you want to do on the island.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect weather, exploring top attractions, or seeking a budget-friendly trip, this article has got you covered.

By understanding Zanzibar’s unique climate and seasons, you can plan your trip accordingly and enjoy a truly unforgettable vacation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the best time to visit Zanzibar is crucial for a perfect tropical island getaway.
  • This article provides insights on Zanzibar’s weather and climate, top attractions, the best time to visit for different activities, choosing the right accommodation, understanding Zanzibar’s seasons, off-peak seasons, and budget considerations.
  • By following the recommendations in this article, you can plan a memorable and enjoyable trip to Zanzibar.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of them I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, which allows me to keep this blog up and running!

The view of Zanzibar’s Turquoise waters from our suite at Seasons Lodge Zanzibar

What is the Best Time to Visit Zanzibar?

The best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season from June to October, when the weather is pleasant, and there is less rainfall, making it ideal for beach and outdoor activities.

Zanzibar’s Weather and Climate

The fastest way to decide the best time to visit Zanzibar is to understand the weather and climate.

Before booking your tropical island getaway, you must understand Zanzibar’s weather patterns.

The island experiences two distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.

Even on moody days, it’s warm enough to grab a kayak and glide through the crystal-clear water in front of Seasons Lodge Zanzibar.

Zanzibar’s Dry Season

Zanzibar’s dry season runs from late June to October. During this period, the island experiences warm and sunny weather, making it an ideal time for beach activities and water sports.

Temperatures average between 77°F-82°F or 25ºC – 28ºC, and humidity levels are relatively low. You can also expect fewer mosquitoes and other insects during this time.

This is the best time to visit Zanzibar if you want to lounge by the pool with a book and cocktail in hand or if you want to explore the underwater seascape on snorkeling or Scuba trips. Essentially, you’ll be able to enjoy all the outdoor and water activities that the island has to offer.

The first time, I visited was in July and the weather was perfect. There was rain on only one day during the week I was there and it lasted less than 5 minutes. So, I can agree it is the best time to visit Zanzibar!

A perfect clear day and stunning view from the rooftop bar at Nungwi Dreams by Mantis.

Zanzibar’s Rainy Season

The short rainy season in Zanzibar runs from November to December, while the long rainy season lasts from March to May. During this time, the humidity levels are high, and the island experiences heavy downpours, especially in April and May.

If you’re looking to explore Zanzibar’s lush vegetation, this is the ideal time to visit as the greenery is at its peak.

Despite the rain, there are still plenty of activities you can enjoy during the rainy season. You can visit Stone Town for a walking tour or one of the island’s spice farms, where the rainforest-like environment adds to the experience.

Another time I visited Zanzibar it was for 3 weeks in March and although it was rather windy, it didn’t rain as much as expected. When it does rain in Zanzibar it’s usually short showers or downpours that disappear in a matter of minutes after starting. I found that it didn’t affect my holiday much at all.

So, this can also be the best time to visit Zanzibar if cost is a factor.

The prices of accommodation and tours are usually lower during this time, making it a budget-friendly option.

Note that some lodges and hotels may close down during the rainy season due to the low season, so it’s best to check ahead of time before planning your trip.

Trying to take photos at sunset during a particularly windy evening at Nungwi Dreams by Mantis.

Exploring Zanzibar’s Top Attractions

Once you’ve decided on when it’s the best time to visit Zanzibar for you, it’s time to plan your island getaway – YAY!

When you visit Zanzibar, you’ll discover a tropical paradise that’s full of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the stunning Indian Ocean to historic Stone Town, this island has no shortage of attractions to explore.

Here are just a few of the top sights to see when you plan your trip.

Zanzibar Archipelago

The Zanzibar Archipelago consists of several small islands that offer pristine beaches, marine life, and coral reefs to explore. The archipelago is the perfect destination for snorkeling, diving, and other water-based activities.

Zanzibar IslandPristine beaches, Jozani forest, Stone Town
Pemba IslandUntouched coral reefs, Wambaa caves, mangrove swamps
Mnemba IslandMarine park, whale shark watching, bird watching
Our stay in the historic Zanzibar Serena Hotel offered the perfect base to explore Stone Town further.

Stone Town

Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the historic center of Zanzibar’s capital. Here, you will find narrow alleys, bustling markets, and stunning architecture that reflect Zanzibar’s diverse cultural influences over the centuries.

  • Visit the House of Wonders, a former Sultan’s palace turned museum.
  • Explore the Forodhani Gardens and night market.
  • Take a spice tour and learn about Zanzibar’s spice trade.

To learn everything you need to know about visiting Stone Town and which Stone Town walking tours are the best, read this post!

Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is the main attraction of Zanzibar. With crystal clear waters and warm temperatures year-round, it’s the perfect spot to relax and take in the scenery.

To fully enjoy the gorgeous warm waters opt for one of these activities:

Swim in the warm Indian Ocean and mingle with locals at the beach in front of the Zanzibar Serena Hotel.

The Best Time to Visit Zanzibar for Different Activities

When planning a trip to Zanzibar, it’s important to consider what activities you want to experience during your stay. The island has something to offer for every kind of traveler, whether you’re seeking a romantic honeymoon or an adventure-packed getaway.

Here’s a breakdown of the best time to visit Zanzibar for different activities:

ActivityBest Time to Visit
HoneymoonJune to October
Snorkeling and DivingJuly to August and February to March
Kitesurfing and WindsurfingJune to September and December to March
FishingOctober to March
Beach RelaxationJune to October and December to February

If you’re planning a honeymoon trip to Zanzibar, the best time to go is from June to October. During these months, the weather is dry and sunny with ideal temperatures for romantic strolls on the beach and candlelit dinners under the stars.

If you want to explore the underwater world of Zanzibar, plan your trip between July to August and February to March when the water is clear and perfect for snorkeling and diving. Kitesurfing and windsurfing enthusiasts should visit between June to September and December to March when the winds are strong and consistent.

October to March is the peak season for fishing in Zanzibar, with opportunities to catch tuna, marlin, and more. For those seeking a relaxing beach vacation, the best time to visit is from June to October and December to February, when the weather is pleasant and the beaches are at their finest.

A private dinner under the stars during our stay at Zanzibar Serena Hotel.

Choosing the Right Accommodation in Zanzibar

Choosing the perfect place to stay in Zanzibar can make or break your tropical island getaway. With an abundance of accommodation options available, it can be overwhelming to decide where to stay.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right accommodation in Zanzibar.

Consider the Location

When choosing where to stay in Zanzibar, consider the location and proximity to the activities you plan to do. If you want to explore Stone Town and its historic sites, stay in or near the city. If you want to relax on the beach, consider a resort on the northern or eastern shores of the island.

Some of the best-known beach areas include Kendwa, Nungwi, and Paje, which offer crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and a variety of water activities.

Be sure to check the reviews and ratings of your chosen accommodation to get the best experience.

Choose the Right Accommodation Type

There are a variety of accommodation options in Zanzibar to suit different preferences, including hotels, resorts, and guesthouses.

If you’re looking for a luxury experience, consider one of the many resorts on the island, which offer amenities like private beaches, spas, and upscale dining options.

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of guesthouses and budget-friendly hotels available that still offer comfortable accommodations and convenient amenities.

Book Early

It’s important to book your accommodation early, especially during peak season when hotels and resorts can fill up quickly. This will also give you the opportunity to research and compare different options before making a decision.

Additionally, booking early can save you money, as many hotels and resorts offer early bird discounts and promotions to those who book in advance.

Our Top 6 Accommodation Recommendations

Here are some of our top accommodation recommendations:

Best Budget Hotel: Seasons Lodge Zanzibar – A 3-star hotel but one of the highest-rated hotels on the island and offers affordable luxury.

⭐Best Boutique Hotel: Kizikula – This 5-star boutique hotel has a unique design and is well-suited for digital nomads.

Best Luxury Hotel: Nungwi Dreams by MANTIS – A 5-star resort located on the north coast and well worth the splurge!

⭐Best Stone Town Hotel: Zanzibar Serena Hotel – This 4-star hotel is in a historic building and offers direct beach access.

Best Honeymoon Hotel: TUI Blue Bahari Zanzibar – A recently renovated 5-star resort where we had our honeymoon.

Best Quirky Hotel: Sharazad Boutique Hotel – This family-owned 4-star hotel has some unique elements I love.

Our minimalistic island suite at Kizikula.

Map of Our Favorite Zanzibar Hotels

Understanding Zanzibar’s Seasons: Rainy and Dry

When deciding on the best time to visit Zanzibar, it’s important to understand the two main seasons – the rainy season and the dry season.

The rainy season typically runs from March to May and November to early December, while the dry season runs from June to October and late December to February.

Dry SeasonLowHigh
Rainy SeasonHighHigh

During the dry season, Zanzibar experiences little to no rainfall, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and exploration. The combination of high temperatures and low rainfall creates perfect beach weather, allowing visitors to enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean and relax on the sandy beaches.

However, during the rainy season, Zanzibar experiences heavy rainfall, which can make it more challenging to participate in certain outdoor activities. Some roads and paths can become muddy and difficult to navigate, and some beach activities may be canceled. Despite this, the rainy season can still be a great time to visit for those who enjoy lush greenery and fewer crowds.

Wondering whether you need to rent a car in Zanzibar to explore the island properly? Read our guide here!

Overall, the best time to visit Zanzibar depends on your preferences and what you hope to experience during your trip.

If you’re looking for ideal beach weather and plenty of outdoor activities, the dry season is the best time to visit. If you prefer to avoid the crowds and don’t mind the occasional rain shower, the rainy season could be a great option.

Getting some work done in paradise during our stay at Kizikula – perfect for digital nomads!

Off-Peak Seasons and Budget Considerations

If you’re looking to save some money on your trip to Zanzibar, then the off-peak seasons may be the perfect time to visit. During these periods, you can enjoy lower prices on flights and accommodation, making it a great choice for budget-conscious travelers.

The cheapest time to visit Zanzibar is typically during the short rainy season, which runs from November to early December. Although there may be some rainfall, you can still enjoy sunny days and plenty of activities at a fraction of the cost. It does get more pricey from mid-December as the festive season as Zanzibar is a popular destination over the festive season.

However, it’s important to note that the worst time to visit Zanzibar is during the long rainy season, which lasts from March to May. During this time, heavy rainfall can disrupt travel plans and limit outdoor activities, making it a less desirable time to visit.

Overall, Zanzibar is considered to be an affordable destination, with a range of options for different budgets. Whether you’re looking for a luxury resort or a budget-friendly guesthouse, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Best Time to Visit Zanzibar FAQs

What is the best time to visit Zanzibar?

The best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season, which runs from June to October. This is when you can enjoy sunny days, lower humidity, and less chance of rainfall.

What is the weather like in Zanzibar?

Zanzibar has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures throughout the year. The average temperature ranges from 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F). The best time to visit Zanzibar depended on the weather.

What are the top attractions in Zanzibar?

Zanzibar offers a range of top attractions, including the stunning Zanzibar Archipelago with its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. The historic Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a must-visit. And of course, the beautiful Indian Ocean provides ample opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and water sports.

What is the best time to visit Zanzibar for a honeymoon?

The best time to visit Zanzibar for a honeymoon is during the dry season from June to October. This is when you can enjoy sunny weather and beautiful beaches, creating the perfect romantic setting for your special trip.

Where is the best place to stay in Zanzibar?

Zanzibar offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from luxurious resorts to boutique hotels. The best place to stay depends on your preferences, but popular areas include Nungwi, Kendwa, and Matemwe, known for their stunning beaches and beautiful resorts.

What are the main seasons in Zanzibar?

Zanzibar experiences two main seasons – the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season, also known as the short rainy season, occurs from November to December and is characterized by occasional showers. The dry season runs from June to October and has less rainfall and lower humidity.

When is the cheapest time to visit Zanzibar?

The cheapest time to visit Zanzibar is during the rainy season in November. During this month, there are often discounted rates for accommodations and lower demand for tourist activities. However, this is not the best time to visit Zanzibar.

An absolutely gorgeous Zanzibari day at Sharazad Boutique Hotel.

The Best Time to Visit Zanzibar is… ASAP!

Now that you have a better understanding of the best time to visit Zanzibar, you can plan your tropical island getaway with confidence. Remember to factor in the weather and climate during your preferred travel period and consider the activities you want to enjoy during your trip.

So start planning your trip today and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime on this enchanting tropical island.

Zanzibar Travel Planning Guide

Do I need travel insurance for Zanzibar?
YES — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from SafetyWing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

Is it safe to rent a car in Zanzibar?
Yes — Renting a car in Zanzibar is one of the best ways to explore the island and the safest way to get around! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Tanzanian companies, so you get the best rates.

Will my phone work in Zanzibar?
Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Tanzanian service, buy an Airalo eSim for local coverage.

What’s the best way to book my Zanzibar accommodations?
For Zanzibar hotels, is usually the best site but you can also check TripAdvisor for a larger variety of local options.

What’s the best site to buy Zanzibar flights?

For finding cheap Zanzibar flights, I recommend using the WayAway App to search and find the best deals – plus you’ll get cashback on your purchases! (Read more)

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts